How to Stop Sap Coming Out of Deck Boards?

some ways to stop sap coming out of the deck boards

A problem that many DIY home renovators do not anticipate is the fact that sap sometimes seeps out of the wood of a new deck.

Many first-time woodworkers will quickly learn that when you are working with fresh wood if you do not take care of the sap problem before it starts, it can be challenging to get rid of it.

There are a few ways to stop this from happening.

The most common way is to heat the wood to be sure it has been properly sealed, especially with fir and pine wood.

If you can kiln dry the wood at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, the sap will become crystalized and, therefore, will not seep out.

If you can’t purchase kiln-dried wood, then you can heat it yourself using a heat gun for the same effect.

What Kind of Wood Produces Sap?

All types of wood have sap in them to some degree or another – pine and fir are the biggest offenders.

The sap is the way the tree moves nutrients through itself, so there is no escaping wood with sap.

That’s why it is important to be sure the wood is correctly dried before you work with it.

There are other types of wood that are commonly worked with that do not have any sap left in them.

This is due to the wood having undergone the right treatments before it was sold.

If you have purchased wood, it is a good idea to check to make sure it has been prepared as advertised, so you can take the proper steps to do it yourself if you need to.

  • Fresh wood. You will notice that fresh wood will start to seep sap within only a few days of use.
  • Untreated wood. When preparing wood, there are many chemicals used in the process. If any step in the treatment process has not been correctly done, you will notice there is sap in the wood.
  • Incorrectly dried wood. Drying is done either in a kiln or in the sun. If the wood has not been dried properly, the sap will begin to ooze.
  • Not dried long enough. Some types of wood have to be left longer to dry than others, and this is something that is determined by the kind of wood. If whoever prepared your wood isn’t aware of this and did not allow the wood to sit as long as it needs to, you will notice that the wood will ooze sap.

Why Does Sap Ooze from Wood?

Because all trees have sap, you can expect that any piece of wood you use will also possess sap. There are many reasons why sap might come from finished wood.

Unfinished wood is, of course, also susceptible. If you use green wood that has not been properly dried, the sap can get stuck in the little crevices and eventually seep through the exterior.

It may seem okay while you are actively working with it, even as you sand and finish it, but once the sun starts to heat it or any other source of heat warms it up, the sap begins to melt and then becomes solid.

The sap then gathers slowly on the wood you have put so much effort into.

For this reason, the standard practice when it comes to woodworking is to allow the wood to completely dry either in the sun or in a kiln before moving on.

few kinds of woods that produces sap

Why is There Sap Coming from the Deck?

A do-it-yourself lover will often see sap coming from a deck. They could be walking on a deck on a hot summer day and have their shoes stick to the deck.

Most likely, using inexpensive wood to build the deck that was not given enough time to sit for the sap to dry before construction could be the cause.

This is because the sun is constantly beating down on a deck and heating it. This causes the sap to come out and congeal all over the wood.

The best way to handle this is to treat the wood with different methods, such as scraping away the sap as it shows up and reapplying any oiling or drying agents you think could help.

How Can You Clean the Sap from the Deck Boards?

After removing the excess sap, you can use a solvent such as turpentine or mineral oil to clean off the remaining sap.

Then, use 240 grit sandpaper and sand the surface down. Finally, apply some sort of sealant. Shellac is usually preferred as it can be applied in a layer over bare wood better than other types.

It can take time approx one year and 20 years of waiting for the sap to completely ooze out of it, so you might never stop seeing the sap coming out of a deck.

This sounds can be like a nightmare to you, then the best thing to do is to be sure you are buying wood that has been properly treated to prevent this problem.

Can Deck Boards with Sap Be Painted or Stained Over?

You can paint right over the sap, but it may make the paint look bumpy. As time moves forward, the paint may begin to bubble and peel due to the sap.

The sap that has seeped from the wood remains under much pressure and will eventually overcome what binds the paint together.

Paint is thought to be one of the treatments that receive the worst effects due to sap.

This is because the sap moves in from the inside of the wood and won’t usually bleed through the paint with any stains or oils.

This can push the paint and damage it to the point that it can’t ever be perfectly fixed again.

If your finished wood already has sap on it and you are ready to apply the finishes, you can do so with extra thick layers of products like stains.

You can stain the wood if you notice that sap is seeping out, but the parts of the wood where the sap has already begun to congeal won’t look the same as the smooth wood areas.

When there is an extreme case of sap, it could even cause large areas of the wood to remain unstained, creating an unattractive blotchy look.

To avoid this, you will first need to sand the wood down to remove any congealed sap and then apply the stain to the wood straight away.

This will stain the wood the way you want, but it won’t prevent more sap from showing up later down the line.

Final Thoughts

The best any to deal with sap coming from wood is to not have any sap there at all, but if you find yourself with a sap problem, revisit this article to see a few ways how to manage it.

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