Best clear finish for outdoor wood?


I have a door from my kitchen to the deck. It had been an ordinary wood with a clear finish. It opened outwards. When it rained I would leave the door open. For years the finish was fine. Then I upgraded to a mahogany door. Whatever finish the fellow put on blistered on the outside in a year. And I haven't left this door open in the rain at all.
So what is the most lasting finish? Thinking like a boater I would think that spar varnish would be good. But that was years ago. So what should I use?
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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I would not recommend spar varnish. Everywhere I've used it or seen it used, it turned yellow and peeled off within months.
I don't even really know what a 'spar' is, but I guess when you're floating around in the ocean you pass the time by stripping and revarnishing it.
-rev

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On 24 Apr 2007 09:52:28 -0700, The Reverend Natural Light
: :I would not recommend spar varnish. Everywhere I've used it or seen :it used, it turned yellow and peeled off within months. : :I don't even really know what a 'spar' is, but I guess when you're :floating around in the ocean you pass the time by stripping and :revarnishing it. : : :-rev
I used to work quite a bit on boats, new and used. It was the late 1970's, so I don't know if things have changed, but spar varnish was superceded as the longest lasting clear wood finishing by polyurethane varnish. Remove the old finish, sand well, sand fine, remove dust, apply a minimum of 2 coats (absolute minimum is 2, 3 or more preferred) of the finish following the instructions.
Dan
:> I have a door from my kitchen to the deck. It had been an ordinary wood :> with a clear finish. It opened outwards. When it rained I would leave the :> door open. For years the finish was fine. Then I upgraded to a mahogany :> door. Whatever finish the fellow put on blistered on the outside in a year. :> And I haven't left this door open in the rain at all.:> :> So what is the most lasting finish? Thinking like a boater I would think :> that spar varnish would be good. But that was years ago. So what should I :> use?:> :> Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).:
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

I didn't see the original post, but if you want to coat exterior lumber, my recommendation is "Sikkens". It's a two part affair, and subsequent coats use only part 2 which is essentially a UV protector. It is not cheap, but for most homes, labor costs exceed product costs and you benefit by going longer between re-coats. I used it here over clear California cedar.
--

Larry
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wrote:

DO NOT USE SIKKINS!!! It is pure shit. Unless it's recoated every couple of years it peels.
Expensive as hell. Expensive top quality paint is half the price and lasts many years.
The reason it's a 2 coat process is because it is shit. When it first came out there was no UV coat. Seeing as it peeled they came up with a UV coat. Imagine that. Make a product that costs 2x and because it's shit they sell you another product fo fix their fuck up. Sikkins is a joke.
I personally stripped a large house that had that crap on it. Began peeling in a few years. Recoated it. In a few yrs peeling again. Rep came out and says UV is doing that and we have a UV topcoat now. Actually tried to convince me to buy it. Told him to pack it.
Stripped my house, primed and painted with top quality paint. What a chore. But I wasn't doing it every 3 years afterwards.
Another neighbor took his siding off and reversed it rough side out his was peeling so bad.
Builder who originally put it on my house (and other houses of the era) now refuses to put it on any house he builds. Does not want houses that look like shit from the curb attached to his name.
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Al Bundy wrote:

Sorry you have had such a bad experience with Sikkens. I've been using it here on an 8000 sq. ft. home and my results have been excellent. I find I have to recoat the south side every 3 years, the east and west sides every 6 years and I've never had to recoat the north side (over 8 years now). I started about 15 years ago. My latest recoat of the south side was 2 years ago. No evidence at all of peeling.

Yes, it is. It cost me over $40/gallon 2 years ago, but the labor is considerably more. It is not paint - it should not be compared to paint; it should be compared to transparent stains or varnish. It has proven (to me by actual testing going back 20 years) superior to Olympic which was the best brand I tried prior to testing.

It has always been a 2 step process. The original stuff that I bought consisted of something they called Cetol which was designed to penetrate the wood and yet breathe. The second and third coats were called Cetol 23 which were designed primarily as UV protection.

No question that paint requires less maintenance. That's less maintenance than ANY stain or varnish. It all depends upon what you want to see.

Well, mine is vertical t & g siding. The good side is smooth; the reverse side is rough. It is blind nailed with stainless steel hog nails through the groove and it would be almost impossible to remove it without destroying it. For what I paid for it, there is no way I'm going to paint it.

The original coating I had was less than satisfactory. The company, however, gave me the new stuff for free. Since then, I've had extremely good luck with it.
--

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wrote:

Maybe that's it. My house was too small. Just what was the purpose of mentioning outrageous sf of your home anyway?

Like you said, it all depends upon what you want to see and what you are willing to pay for it. Just me personally. Anything that costs that much I don't want to do maintenance every 3 yrs and I rarely hire anybody to do anything.

Never used Olympic so you're the personal expert on this one.

Cetol rings a bell. It still peeled. The marketing at the time was recoating was only necessary like every 5 yrs or so if I recall some 2 decades ago. The marketing was also hyping up it was used in Sweeden/Norway or something. What the hell was so special about Sweeden/Norway I have no idea. I mean we get nasty winters of up to 30 below.

Glad it worked out for you. People around here at the time, in various areas with various builders, took the pooper poking.
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Al Bundy wrote:
...snip

Simply to indicate that the product was used over large areas. My home is hardly a McMansion and, since I built most of it myself, doesn't represent a large amount of money. What was the purpose of your using the obscenity quoted above (and used with others sprinkled liberally throughout your post)?

I think the reason they mention Sweden and Norway is because the climates in both of those countries tends to be extreme. They get winters in excess of -30 Fahrenheit. For that matter, so do we here in Colebrook, NH. I've seen -46 degrees F.
My experience differs from yours, that's all.
...snip
--

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Kudos to ya on that one, seriously!

Guess it's just the way I yak in certain arenas on certain subjects. Still mild compared to much of the crap on TV these days and that damn hip-hop. Used to be the word "sucks" in media meant fines/jailtime.
Not directed at you personally. Sorry you took it that way.

Yep. Your experience is more current so maybe more representative of the current product. OP will probably give it more weight in the final decision.

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Go to a real paint store with this question. I use Sherwin Williams but you should use whoever seems knowledgable in your area. Look for experience behind the counter. Avoid the Big Box when buying paint. You need a very high quality exterior rated varnish or polyeruathane for something in the sun all the time. It won't be cheap but you won't need much.
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Hi,
I have the same problem that you have in that I have garage doors, east facing, and a main door, south facing. Each year I have to renew the varnish. I use the Minwax ClearShield stuff you get at home depot. It is about $US 10 for a small can.
It works O.K. but I would love to know of a clear varnish that will last longer than 1 year. The ClearShield I use shows cracks in the wood after a year ....
The only way I have found to do this is to use a storm door. On the back of the house (north facing) I have a glass storm door over the wood door. This wood door never needs any fixing. Looks the same as ever. I guess that glass just cuts down all the UV.
Warmest regards, Mike.
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hobbes wrote:

exposure to ultra-violet. My experience years ago with boats leads me to conclude that there is no varnish which will last more than a year. That's why I use Sikkens, but Mr. Bundy thinks differently.
--

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I think you shouldn't consider varnish at all. A good coating of varnish requires the wood be properly constituted, and if it is oily (your replacement mahogany door may very well have been oily) or wet, you will not get a lasting surface. Further, every varnish I have seen in many years requires multiple coats (at least two, often as many as eight), and it sounds like most of the posters here are trying to get by with a single coat. Incidentally, spar varnish is designed for use on the spars of a sailboat (such as the mast), where there is not a lot of traffic. It is softer, and will not last in places where there is a lot of traffic. I used spar varnish on my exterior doors with very good results, but that was with multiple coats. I used it because I had some already that I had used on a boat. UV is no longer a problem, as modern varnishes include UV protection, but one should check the label to be sure.
I think you would do better with a stain that includes UV protection. They are easy to apply and I have never seen one peel, however, they do require re coating periodically.
Any clear exterior finish should be viewed as temporary, and renewed periodically. Paint is longer lasting, but even the best paint will eventually require replacement.
Don Wiss wrote:

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I used at least eight thick coats of spar varnish. After the first few, I'd just pour it on the work it around with a brush. Still yellowed and peeled within months.
-rev
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

I won't deny that some of the older varnishes did yellow, but modern ones do not, unless they are designed to.
Your technique appears to be somewhat lacking. You clearly forgot to sand between coats, and pouring thick coats of varnish is a recipe for failure. One can easily understand why so many applications succeed, while your's fails. But I still think varnish is not an appropriate external finish for a home, other than those few locations, such as a door, where it can be properly applied and maintained.

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