Most any exterior surface subjected to the elements is prone to natural occurrences like mold growth. Oil based stains are no different. Although they can provide years of protection to exterior wood surfaces, they can be prone to mold in some circumstances. There are however some reasons that can increase mold attraction to oil based stain.
Over applying oil based deck stains can increase the chance of mold attraction. When over applied, oil based stains will not cure right away. The stain can remain sticky and tacky for several days allowing dirt and tree pollen to become embedded. With the intrusion of natural contaminants prior to fully curing, the stain is more prone to mold growth.
Mold can also be attracted to oil based stains that are cheap or inexpensive. Inferior deck stains have cheaper ingredients in them that may lack the mildewcides that help deter mold growth. In the case of mold being attracted to oil based stains, you get what you pay for.
In some instances mold is more attracted to oil based stains like in areas of humid climates or when close to a body of water. The extra humidity and moisture can cause mold to grow on the surface of oil based stains ruining the appearance of the wood. Even with high quality oil based stains, mold can still be a problem in humid climates. To avoid a mold attraction problem, use an oil based stain that protects against mold and mildew. Also increase the amount of regular wood maintenance.
To combat the attraction of mold to oil based stains; use a quality stain that has added mildewcides and algaecides. Be extra careful not to over apply oil based stains. Apply only enough stain that can be absorbed into the wood. Wipe away any excess stain that does not penetrate. Increase wood maintenance in high humid climates.
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