ASK THE EXPERT Exterior Wood Surfaces Need Upkeep With the current move to include the outdoors as an extension of the homes living space it is important to remember that your exterior wood surfaces need upkeep too. Because of woods porous texture, sun and rain are woods main enemies. Also important is to understand is that wood retains water so it is vulnerable to mildew. This combination of sun, water, and mildew causes the wood to loose its elasticity and color. The Fence Doctor recommends preventive medicine. Buying pre-stained and treated wood is the best option, Robert ONeil, The Fence Doctor remarks. Pre-stained and treated wood guarantees that your wooden outdoor structures are ready for both the unrelenting Texas heat and the rare Texas rain. If your fence or other outdoor structure was not pre-stained and treated there are other options. Applying an oil-based wood preservative that includes ingredients such as mildew retardant, water repellant, and UV protectant onto the wood will ensure that you enjoy your outdoors for years to come. However, consumers beware: some popular wood treatments are paraffin-based. These costly treatments only coat the surface of the wood and over a short time the sun and rain will destroy this coating, leaving your wooden outdoor structures peeling like bad sunburn. Also important to remember is to exercise caution when using a pressure washer to clean exterior wood surfaces. Dont forget: water is woods enemy! Never clean your wooden outdoor structures by spraying water directly onto its surface. Always spray the wood at a 45-degree angle and keep the nozzle at least a foot away from the wood at all times. By following these simple instructions you can easily prolong the life of your outdoor living space. Remember: fences and other outdoor structuresare a big investment; a little bit of upkeep will keep your garden picture perfect and built to last! Catherine McMillan is available to answer all types of questions relation to fences, decks, and other outdoor structures. You can visit our website at www.78fence.com or email The Fence Doctor directly at Catherine@78fence.com.