The inspiration for the development of AltiSeal originated in the dissatisfaction with existing commercial products. It all started when a founding member of AltiSora (a product development and innovation company) invested in a rural property as a weekend retreat. The new timber frame cabin was constructed with red cedar overlapping live edge as siding, elevated for a tree-house effect. A covered deck facing north (overlooking a pond) and an open deck to the south (for star gazing) were constructed with pressure treated pine, like most other wood decks.
All exposed wood were coated with a recommended brand of clear wood treatment for waterproofing and UV protection. However, the beautiful red and yellow contrasts in the siding soon started showing signs of fading and the pine decking losing its original fresh look. More of the wood treatment product was applied, but it did not stop the downward trend. Waterproofing was very effective for the first few weeks after an application, but soon failed to repel any water.
Several other brands and products were used over the following period of time. Wood oils and waxes had a very temporary effect. Spar varnish for marine applications lasted longer, but later started flaking of and had to be sanded to remove. Some of the railing beams also started showing signs of warping. By now the decks were starting to gray and staining became a last resort to improve the appearance. A reddish tint was selected to regain some of the cedar tones and a dark brown was chosen to cover the gray of the decks. However, these new colors also faded much faster that expected or hoped for.
Winter of 2021 brought the Texas Big Freeze with a mixture of low temperatures and precipitation that resulted in cracked deck boards. This was a significant disappointment – “the final straw that broke the camels back” and the team jumped to action. The objective was to develop an environmentally friendly oil based, long lasting, deep penetrating sealant that will keep water off and out of wood. It was also important to create a mechanism for the structural reinforcement of the wood core. See our product design page for more details about the design criteria.
It turned out that this wooded area is a very good testbed for product performance evaluations – nature seems to be geared towards the fast degradation of dead wood; treated and untreated. Abundant sunshine, in combination with high temperature variation with frequent oscillation around the freezing point during winter creates a harsh environment for wood (and wood coatings). Daily, large variations in relative humidity were also noted, suggesting significant moisture movements through the wood surface and in the wood core.