The Official Nova USA Wood Products Blog

Welcome to the Nova Blog. We have written many articles over the years about our hardwood products and we hope that we can help educate the hardwood flooring, decking and siding community about our beautiful, natural wood products. Our ultimate goal is help the customer make the right choices when using and specifying hardwoods. We have been importing and selling some of the most beautiful hardwoods on the planet - and now we also offer our proprietary Tung oil finish and patented decking and siding hidden fastener clips.

Our products are often sold as part of a system designed to perform at the highest level possible. Utilizing resilient clips and finishing off your project with the best exterior wood stain available is our solution to typical problems encountered with hardwoods used in exterior conditions. We are the first company to offer comprehensive Real Wood Solutions.

Freshen Up Your Outdoor Furniture with an ExoShield Maintenance Coat

Is your outdoor wood furniture looking dull? If so, it may be time for a maintenance coating using ExoShield Wood Stain. ExoShield’s secret formula combines Tung Oil, UV Blockers, Fungicide, and trans-oxide pigments, making it the best option for outdoor wood furniture and wood decking. Damage from sun and debris can cause the shine from your original finish to fade. Keep your outdoor furniture looking new with these easy steps!

Nova Blog Photo

Preparation

In order to apply your coating, it is important that you are working with a clean surface. Over the last year, your outdoor surfaces have probably collected pollen, dirt, and other residue. Before you begin, clean the piece of furniture with a damp cloth to remove the residue. ExoShield contains solvent, so do not worry about scrubbing the table spotless, ExoShield will take care of whatever is left.

ExoShield comes in several colors, so make sure to choose one that best matches your furniture. For example, with a tigerwood table, the mahogany stain brings out the natural color and pigment, while also protecting the finish much better than a clear stain. Keep in mind when applying a maintenance coating to furniture, such as a table, you will not be using the entire gallon of ExoShield.

Applying ExoShield

Nova Blog Photo

After the table has been wiped down and you have taken out the can of ExoShield, you are ready to begin. First, you will want to put on your latex gloves and open the can of ExoShield. Next, dip your cotton or microfiber rag into the can of finish. Then, wipe t...

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By Steve Getsiv, 06/14/19

Film-Forming vs Penetrating Oil Wood Finishes

Are you looking for a new wood stain that won’t cause your exterior wood furniture to chip or peel? Which types of finishes work? Which don’t? The two most common wood finishes are film-forming and penetrating oil finishes. Although the finishes may look somewhat similar at first on wood, they differ vastly in breathability, longevity, and upkeep.

What is a Film-Forming Finish?

A film-forming finish creates a coating or “film” on top of the wood surface. This coating helps protect the wood by reducing the effects of weathering. These finishes can be painted or sprayed on and need to be stripped and re-applied at the first sign of bubbling or cracking. Film-forming finishes are commonly used on interior furniture and cabinetry, away from the elements.

Potential Drawbacks to film-forming Finishes

Nova Blog film-forming Finish Failure

There are drawbacks to using film-forming finishes, especially when not protected from the outside environment. Since the finish does not penetrate the wood, the natural occurrence of expansion and contraction in wood with changes in humidity will create cracks in the film, eventually chipping and peeling. The cracks and peeled finish expose the unprotected wood to moisture and sunlight, causing advanced deterioration and more peeling and chipping near the initial finish failure. To repair the finish, you need to strip the finish off by sanding, or by using toxic chemicals that need to be handled with care – both should be used with a mask/breathing apparatus.

Although a recently applied film finish can make a deck, log home, or wood furniture look exquisite, this feeling of bliss is short-lived. Water penetrating through cracks will become trapped between the un...

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By Steve Getsiv, 06/10/19

Thermal Bridging and Energy Efficiency in Rainscreen Siding

Why You Should Install Rainscreen Siding on Your Building

Rainscreen siding systems have huge benefits for your home or building. They make your building more aesthetically pleasing while also saving on overall energy costs. Initially, rainscreen systems are more expensive; and making the right choices in your rainscreen siding system requires a deeper understanding of these energy saving properties before making the initial investment.

What is Rainscreen Siding?

Rainscreen siding systems refer to the style of installation and fastening of the siding material to the structure of your building. Moving the siding away from the building creates a gap that is called the “rainscreen”. Rainscreens are designed to help keep the rain and other elements away from the building structure. Most importantly, a rainscreen creates an exterior siding system that acts as a passive insulation cavity which saves energy.

Nova Blog Photo

The air gap in a rainscreen siding system is between the outermost layer of siding and the building structure itself. This air gap, which generally measures around 3/4", greatly enhances the thermal insulation as well as creating a stable moisture environment for the outer layer of siding material. This is especially important when using hardwood or softwood as siding material since wood can be prone to cupping, warping, swelling and shrinkage with changes in humidity.

When looking at the finished structure, the air gaps are completely invisible. These air gaps matter because they protect the structure underneath the outer layer of siding and keeps this outer layer more stable. A properly installed rainscreen system will also allow for very small ventilation gaps between the siding boards themselves, generally in the ran...

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By Steve Getsiv, 05/03/19

Applying Your ExoShield Deck Stain

You have already bought the ExoShield wood decking stain and have prepared your deck properly for finishing, so what is the final step in the process? The fun part! Applying the stain to your wood and seeing the result. These final steps are critical to getting the optimal result out of ExoShield Wood Deck finish, so follow closely!

Applying ExoShield to Angelim Pedra with a Roller

Application Tips

Start by shaking the can, for at least a minute, prior to opening. Once the can is opened, stir the material thoroughly. It is important to apply the finish in temperatures that are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apply the first coat to the wood using a roller or brush. Applying by brush is effective but very slow. High quality rollers with a 3/8” nap work best for applying the stain, allowing the ExoShield Wood Deck finish to spread easily and quickly. Be sure to use a disposable roller tray and pour ExoShield into the tray to a depth of no more than an inch or so. Coat the roller and lightly wring out excess to avoid drips.

Make multiple passes over the same area with your roller and keep rolling until there is very little ExoShield left on the roller itself. Recoat the roller in your tray and again wring out enough material so you don’t get any drips. ExoShield is slightly thicker or more viscous than typical oil finishes due to its higher ratio of natural oil to solvent.

The type of wood, the age of the wood, and the wood grain will all determine the amount of stain you will need to apply. If your wood is low density like Cedar or Redwood, the stain will absorb straight into the wood, pretty much eliminating the need to wipe excess ExoShield off of the wood. We recommend letting the stain soak into the wood ...

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By Steve Getsiv, 02/18/19

How to Prepare Your Deck Correctly for Wood Stain

Now that you have decided to use ExoShield Wood Deck stain, let’s discuss the most effective methods to achieve optimal results. Follow the below steps for proper surface preparation before applying ExoShield Wood Deck stain to your deck.

Angelim Pedra 5/4x6 Decking Before Refinishing

Start the surface preparation by cleaning the deck boards. This will remove of all the grime, dust and mildew that exists. The goal is to apply ExoShield stain to clean, fresh and bright wood – as close to the original color as possible. Applying ExoShield over gray weathered wood will just seal in the undesirable color and weathered appearance.

Proper Steps for Deck Preparation

    There are three distinct steps that can optionally be utilized for proper deck preparation:
  • 1. The first optional step is using wood cleaners and brighteners – these can help but are rarely enough on their own unless you are starting with practically new wood.
  • 2. Pressure washing is the key step in properly preparing your deck for ExoShield wood stain. We almost always recommend pressure washing.
  • 3. The final optional step is sanding which is usually only necessary in extreme cases.

Wood Cleaners and Brighteners

Wood Cleaner and Brightener

Wood cleaners and wood brighteners are separate components but are applied in a similar manner. They come in a powder form and should be mixed with water in a 5 gallon pail or garden sprayer, according to the manufacturer's directions.

When using these wood...

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By Steve Getsiv, 01/14/19

Hardwood Flooring - Made in China
Tariff Issues

I lived in Brazil for nearly 18 years manufacturing and sourcing hardwood flooring. Brazil is my second home. It’s where my wife’s family lives, and where she and my son were born. I love Brazil, and the country’s Amazonian exotic wood flooring and decking were the starting point for NOVA and its ELEMENTAL brand flooring.

Prior to the 2008 Recession and consequent long economic slowdown, Nova had begun importing some flooring products milled and finished in China. Small-leaf Acacia is plantation grown there, Kempas from Indonesia was being milled there and I added these products to our Exotic and World collections. I also added a solid prefinished (PF) American Hickory product made from 100% American Hickory logs exported to China. With the economic downturn, price became more important than ever and the more expensive exotics fell out of favor, so we brought on more China-made price-point products and the SKU’s increased. Solid hand-scraped (HS) birch, HS oak, HS hickory and so on. Ten years ago these mills did a decent job and they never stopped improving, such that today it may be that the highest quality wood flooring manufacture in the world can be found in the best Chinese manufacturers. We live in a fast changing world.

Container Ship Inbound from Asia

South American Wood Flooring Meltdown

Over this same period, the South American wood flooring industry was in melt down. Many of the mills closed up shop permanently, others stopped producing flooring, including Nova Brazil. It just wasn’t profitable or very competitive for a confluence of reasons outside the scope of this discussion, but due to which, and despite my strong link to the Brazilian industry, I began moving my prefinished (PF) South American wood flooring production t...

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By John McGlocklin, 01/07/19

Wood Deck Tiles vs. Deck Boards

Why Choose Wood Deck Tiles Over Standard Random Length Deck Boards

Wood deck tiles or patio tiles have become a popular option in lieu of standard long length deck boards, especially in close-to-ground applications. Most manufacturers and suppliers of deck boards do not recommend installation without at least 16" of clearance for ventilation and air flow. Standard long length deck boards are generally provided in 8' through 20' lengths as compared to deck tiles which are typically 24" x 24" or smaller. This article discusses some of these critical installation factors that might encourage the use of interlocking wood deck tiles in place of regular deck boards.

Interlocking Deck TIles in Batu hardwood

The most common problem that we see as a manufacturer and supplier of both deck boards and deck tiles is that many applications require a hardwood deck built very close to the ground or built on a flat surface such as a roof top or deck with a dry space underneath. In this situation, wood decking material has little space to breathe since ventilation is severely limited. If the installer chose to use 1x6 or 5/4x6 nominal boards, the end result will usually be cupped and warped boards. The reason this occurs has nothing to do with the quality of the wood itself and everything to do with the moisture differential created by inadequate ventilation between the tops and bottoms of the deck boards.

Warped and Cupped Hardwood Decking Boards

Narrow vs. Wide Boards - The Most Critical Decision

Whether to use narrow or wide boards is the most criti...

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By Steve Getsiv, 01/02/19

Why Deck Stains Fail

How does your commercial wood exterior look? Is it grayed out, weathered, and blotchy? Are you getting frustrated that your outside deck was just stained and the stain is slowly deteriorating? The issue that you are seeing has to do with inexpensive stain finish that is being applied and used. Components in these finishes make a HUGE difference on whether the deck stain will last.

Batu Decking Dartmouth College 5/4x4 Nova USA Wood
Exterior wood moves way too much. Wood moves due to the change of moisture, specifically in states such as California where there are long dry seasons. The humid weather in the California winter causes the wood to pick up moisture. This moisture allows the cells to expand, creating swelling in the wood. This movement can create a quarter inch of water on a 6-inch wood piece, ending with 20% moisture content. Most stains cannot withstand this and end up failing.

If you purchased a low-cost wood finish to be applied to your exterior deck and the stain is already weathering, it is because the stain uses dyes. Dyes fade and dry out leading the powder residue to wash off in the weather. Dyes are not color stable and lead to wood decay.

Most exterior wood stains are based on a few products. The two common products are water-based stains and oil-based finishes.

Water-based finishes have no protection to exterior wood deck fibers. The finish adds a beautiful color but does not provide any protection because the stain does not harden on the wood. This creates a beautiful finish but it doesn’t last longer than a year.

Vegetable oil and Linseed Oil have similar effects on exterior wood, too. The oil is not able to harden...

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By Steve Getsiv, 11/30/18

Nova wood grain pattern

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