Durable Exterior Finish

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Greetings!
It has been years since I've been on rec.woodworking! I wonder if some of the old names are still here?
Question out of desperation -- a blend of 'woodworking' and large-scale finishing:
I have a high-value client who did an extensive renovation on their house a few years ago. (I did their walnut floors with a fine shellac and wax finish... killer.) But, on the exterior of this house/mansion, there are extensive amounts of wood beam, decorative features, and panels. The client is no longer happy with the look of the finish done during restoration (I didn't do it); parts are sun-faded, and she wants to take everything down to the original wood for a more natural-looking finish. Lots of mahogany, I think, hard to tell, because...
... All this wood was finished with some crappy looking, dark walnut, oil-based stain, perhaps MinWax. I have no clue how to remove that stuff, or if it has penetrated so deeply that it'll never come out. I'll be going there on Saturday to excavate a few areas to see how deep it runs. Sanding? Sandblasting?
I can likely secure a crew to do sanding and scraping. In my usual one-off woodworking, I favor a natural look such as we get from shellac. We'd want to avoid any finish that a) fades too much in the sun, or b) obscures the look of the original wood, and c) will last a good, long time.
What finish might be recommended for this exterior application? Are we relegated to only standard commercial products, like Behr, etc? Is there any shellac that is suitable for exterior application?
The client says, "This WILL be done," and I'm sure she means it. I just need to know which direction to go in.
Thanks for any insight or pointers!
Rob
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On 10/23/2012 9:37 AM, Rob Hanson wrote:

few years ago. (I did their walnut floors with a fine shellac and wax finish... killer.) But, on the exterior of this house/mansion, there are extensive amounts of wood beam, decorative features, and panels. The client is no longer happy with the look of the finish done during restoration (I didn't do it); parts are sun-faded, and she wants to take everything down to the original wood for a more natural-looking finish. Lots of mahogany, I think, hard to tell, because...

oil-based stain, perhaps MinWax. I have no clue how to remove that stuff, or if it has penetrated so deeply that it'll never come out. I'll be going there on Saturday to excavate a few areas to see how deep it runs. Sanding? Sandblasting?

woodworking, I favor a natural look such as we get from shellac. We'd want to avoid any finish that a) fades too much in the sun, or b) obscures the look of the original wood, and c) will last a good, long time.

relegated to only standard commercial products, like Behr, etc? Is there any shellac that is suitable for exterior application?

Pick what ever finish that you think looks good "now". All clear and stain finishes that are translucent will fade in a few years if exposed to sunlight.
Paint is going to be your most durable and longest lasting finish.
A word of caution. Just because the client insists on and or has limitless money to throw at a project does not mean that the results, long term, will be satisfactory. The client will always find some one that will promise them the world and not stand behind the work.
Basically don't promise what you cannot stand behind.
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"Rob Hanson" wrote in message
Greetings!
It has been years since I've been on rec.woodworking! I wonder if some of the old names are still here?
Question out of desperation -- a blend of 'woodworking' and large-scale finishing:
I have a high-value client who did an extensive renovation on their house a few years ago. (I did their walnut floors with a fine shellac and wax finish... killer.) But, on the exterior of this house/mansion, there are extensive amounts of wood beam, decorative features, and panels. The client is no longer happy with the look of the finish done during restoration (I didn't do it); parts are sun-faded, and she wants to take everything down to the original wood for a more natural-looking finish. Lots of mahogany, I think, hard to tell, because...
... All this wood was finished with some crappy looking, dark walnut, oil-based stain, perhaps MinWax. I have no clue how to remove that stuff, or if it has penetrated so deeply that it'll never come out. I'll be going there on Saturday to excavate a few areas to see how deep it runs. Sanding? Sandblasting?
I can likely secure a crew to do sanding and scraping. In my usual one-off woodworking, I favor a natural look such as we get from shellac. We'd want to avoid any finish that a) fades too much in the sun, or b) obscures the look of the original wood, and c) will last a good, long time.
What finish might be recommended for this exterior application? Are we relegated to only standard commercial products, like Behr, etc? Is there any shellac that is suitable for exterior application?
The client says, "This WILL be done," and I'm sure she means it. I just need to know which direction to go in.
Thanks for any insight or pointers!
Rob
Rob... Check this out. www.messmers.com Look at their UV PLUS specifications. I have just bought to do the framing on my elevated deck support framing. Not have had time yet to try it. WW
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Rob Hanson wrote:

If its stain, that means it has penetrated the wood, albrit, not all that deeply. To remove it, you have to remove the layer of colored wood. Sanding would work; sandblasting could create a disaster...you would probably need to use a material - maybe ground walnut shells? - that is gentler than sand. __________________

If she wants a "natural" finish that means a clear finish. Any clear finish - even those that include an UV inhibitor - will need relatively frequent maintenance. How frequent depends primarily upon how much sun it gets, could be as short as six months, as long as 3-4 years. Maybe longer if totally shaded and not exposed to open sky.
Oil will also yield a natural finish. Linseed oil will darken over time; how much depends upon how much was absorbed by the wood or trapped in interstices on the surface. The rougher the wood the more oil stays on/in it. Tung oil doesn't darken like linseed but with either - and any clear finish - the color of the wood will change with time; generally, light woods get darker, dark woods get lighter.
Linseed oil will also support mildew; IIRC, tung does so to a lesser extent; if either were to be used, I'd want to add an anti-fungal agent. One really good thing about oil that it is easy to reapply when needed.
Your client needs to understand that what she wants will require redoing at relatively frequent intervals.
--

dadiOH
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Good thought. It is certainly something the OP should try first thing.
--

dadiOH
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Rob Hanson wrote:

of
stuff,
off
want
If you are going with a stain, I would pressure wash, but with a lower pressure to avoid removing more than just the dirt, and let the chemicals to the major portion of the work.
It all depends on where you are located as to what finish to would apply. Here in the soggy South, I would go with BLP Mobile paint or stains, because of their excellent mildew resistance.
But my favorite exterior finish is General Finishes Exterior Oil. Good protection and minimal color change.
Deb
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"Rob Hanson" wrote:
I have a high-value client who did an extensive renovation on their house a few years ago. (I did their walnut floors with a fine shellac and wax finish... killer.) But, on the exterior of this house/mansion, there are extensive amounts of wood beam, decorative features, and panels. The client is no longer happy with the look of the finish done during restoration (I didn't do it); parts are sun-faded, and she wants to take everything down to the original wood for a more natural-looking finish. Lots of mahogany, I think, hard to tell, because...
... All this wood was finished with some crappy looking, dark walnut, oil-based stain, perhaps MinWax. I have no clue how to remove that stuff, or if it has penetrated so deeply that it'll never come out. I'll be going there on Saturday to excavate a few areas to see how deep it runs. Sanding? Sandblasting?
I can likely secure a crew to do sanding and scraping. In my usual one-off woodworking, I favor a natural look such as we get from shellac. We'd want to avoid any finish that a) fades too much in the sun, or b) obscures the look of the original wood, and c) will last a good, long time.
What finish might be recommended for this exterior application? Are we relegated to only standard commercial products, like Behr, etc? Is there any shellac that is suitable for exterior application?
The client says, "This WILL be done," and I'm sure she means it. I just need to know which direction to go in. -------------------------------------------------------------- What ever you do will be a high maintenance solution.
The closer to the equator, the more frequent the refinishing.
A 2 part, clear, marine LP will give you the best shot; however, requires a great deal of prep and is probably the highest cost approach.
You will require a high quality respirator (catalyzed resin in your lungs is not a pleasant way to die).
A mask with an oxygen bottle on your back like firemen use, is the best approach.
You will need a gun with a paint pot and a compressor than provides at least 15 scfm.
Expect to pay at least $200/gal for the 2 part LP.
A pressure washer is probably the easiest way to prep the surfaces.
Good luck.
Lew
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I wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------- "Mike Marlow" wrote:

----------------------------------------------------------- How many LP jobs have you shot?
Lew
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Fine Woodworking had a comparison test in issue 205. They had sample boards made up with various finishes and had them sent to Salem Oregon (town is was born in), Albuquerque, N.M., Bridgeport, Conn., and New Orleans, La., where they were outdoors for 1 year.
The preferred finish was a combination of Smith & CO. Penetrating Expoy Sealer (3 coats) under Epifanes Marine Varnish (5 coats), or just the Epiphanes Varnish alone (7 thinned coats). Note that in 2009 the Epifanes was $45/qt, and the Smith Epoxy was $42/qt. Or vice-versa.
The other testees, Oil (Watco Exterior), and other exterior varnishes (Zar Exterior Poly and McClosky Man O War spar varnish), didn't come close to this combination.
Note that one conclusion of the test was that water damage was more a problem than UV damage.

On Tue, 23 Oct 2012 07:37:13 -0700 (PDT), Rob Hanson

years ago. (I did their walnut floors with a fine shellac and wax finish... killer.) But, on the exterior of this house/mansion, there are extensive amounts of wood beam, decorative features, and panels. The client is no longer happy with the look of the finish done during restoration (I didn't do it); parts are sun-faded, and she wants to take everything down to the original wood for a more natural-looking finish. Lots of mahogany, I think, hard to tell, because...

stain, perhaps MinWax. I have no clue how to remove that stuff, or if it has penetrated so deeply that it'll never come out. I'll be going there on Saturday to excavate a few areas to see how deep it runs. Sanding? Sandblasting?

woodworking, I favor a natural look such as we get from shellac. We'd want to avoid any finish that a) fades too much in the sun, or b) obscures the look of the original wood, and c) will last a good, long time.

relegated to only standard commercial products, like Behr, etc? Is there any shellac that is suitable for exterior application?

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"Jim Weisgram" wrote:

------------------------------------------------------ Epifanes is the finish of choice in most boat yards.
Smith's epoxy is one of many.
Check Jamestown Distributors for current pricing.
Lew
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Thanks for all the great input! That said, I'm still not sure where we're gonna go with this (haven't looked at the location, yet.) I doubt I'm going to do the work, but I wouldn't mind trying to engineer a good solution for the client.
Interestingly, paint is what my wife and I do, but decorative (faux) painting, using high quality materials that can withstand the elements (mostly.) Someone here mentioned paint being the best, low maintenance solution, so we'll look into that possibility. Client probably won't go for that, though.
The wood in question will probably be highly problematic in terms of stripping off what has been done to it. Probably a deep penetrating stain, and the hammerheads who did the place 'distressed' the wood with hammers and other tools for a more rustic look. Can't imagine trying to get all the nooks and crannies clean!
Then, I'm hearing multiple coats and hundreds of gallons of new product (it's a damned big place.) Only to have to re-coat within months or a couple of years.
Sadly, I don't think there's a really good solution. The client's husband had the place remodeled into a large Tuscan-style villa, then had the audacity to pass away, leaving her with something that she just doesn't like. I'd hate to tell her what's involved, but someone has to deliver the news...
Thanks again for all the help. I remain open to any other suggestions... as long as they don't involve oxygen tanks.
Rob
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~
PS: Forgot to mention: I'm in coastal North Carolina. The summer sun is brutal around here, along with high humidity.
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UPDATE: -------
I've just returned from the client's place, having had a look at the project. Thanks to all for your suggestions, and I have a couple more questions.
We're looking at starting on the garage doors, five of 'em. (Car collector.) The existing finish is dull and faded. The client wants it to look "beautiful" and "perfect," and understands that it will need to be treated every year or so.
The doors (and beams, etc.) are made of solid mahogany. Existing stain/sealer is some generic, semi-transparent crud, poorly applied. Client agrees that we should take it down to the wood and build the finish back up into something lustrous.
In woodworking terms, my favorite finish keeps the natural beauty of the wood. I usually apply a few coats of high-quality shellac from flake -- usually dewaxed pale -- and then I apply a few coats of Maloof's Poly/Oil finish. Clearly, though, that's for interior applications, and would not likely stand up well outside.
So... I'm now thinking about trying to map that kind of finish to exterior products:
-- I'd plan to get a crew in to power wash and/or sand the doors back to bare wood.
-- Would sealer coats of high-quality shellac be useful or indicated? (Bysaki might be a durable enough shellac, and impart a nice, darker tone to the wood.) I usually like how shellac makes mahogany glow.
-- Can we think of products that might be good for exterior application, but give the same result as something like the Maloof poly/oil finish? No problem if it has to be built up over many coats... Or, would it be best to head in another direction?
-- I'd prefer an oil type finish rather than a film finish such as varnish. Oil would tend to crack and peel far less, even though it might have to be refreshed more often.
At this point, it looks as though I'm committed in to the project, even if only in a supervisory role. ANY input would be greatly appreciated, and might result in me buyin' a few beers.
Thanks! Rob New Bern, NC
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would tend to crack and peel far less, even though it might have to be refreshed more often.
I've had good luck with Minwax exterior poly mixed in equal parts with pure Tung Oil and BLO. It has lasted over five years, but it is a pretty sheltered location. -- Doug
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"Rob Hanson" wrote:
UPDATE: -------
I've just returned from the client's place, having had a look at the project. Thanks to all for your suggestions, and I have a couple more questions.
We're looking at starting on the garage doors, five of 'em. (Car collector.) The existing finish is dull and faded. The client wants it to look "beautiful" and "perfect," and understands that it will need to be treated every year or so.
The doors (and beams, etc.) are made of solid mahogany. Existing stain/sealer is some generic, semi-transparent crud, poorly applied. Client agrees that we should take it down to the wood and build the finish back up into something lustrous.
In woodworking terms, my favorite finish keeps the natural beauty of the wood. I usually apply a few coats of high-quality shellac from flake -- usually dewaxed pale -- and then I apply a few coats of Maloof's Poly/Oil finish. Clearly, though, that's for interior applications, and would not likely stand up well outside.
So... I'm now thinking about trying to map that kind of finish to exterior products:
-- I'd plan to get a crew in to power wash and/or sand the doors back to bare wood.
-- Would sealer coats of high-quality shellac be useful or indicated? (Bysaki might be a durable enough shellac, and impart a nice, darker tone to the wood.) I usually like how shellac makes mahogany glow.
-- Can we think of products that might be good for exterior application, but give the same result as something like the Maloof poly/oil finish? No problem if it has to be built up over many coats... Or, would it be best to head in another direction?
-- I'd prefer an oil type finish rather than a film finish such as varnish. Oil would tend to crack and peel far less, even though it might have to be refreshed more often.
At this point, it looks as though I'm committed in to the project, even if only in a supervisory role. ANY input would be greatly appreciated, and might result in me buyin' a few beers.
Thanks! Rob New Bern, NC ----------------------------------------------------------- This is an outdoor project and must be treated as one.
Epifanes will or should be the weapon of choice.
Since you are in New Bern, you are fortunate to have several boats yards handy.
I'd talk to some of them.
Finding manpower with experience using Epifanes will not be a problem.
Talk to the Epifanes tech group as well as their sales group.
Buying product by the 4 gallon box price will certainly reflect a major price difference over the quart (Liter) price.
Who knows, this could turn into a year around project, well at least 9 months out of the year.
Have fun.
Lew
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Thanks, Doug and Lew --
Lew, I'll certainly be looking into the Epifanes, particularly with respect to how to apply it. Your note suggests that I might want to look for "manpower with experience..." Is there something particular about Epifanes that makes it difficult to work with?
I've worked with a large number of finishes. Just wondering if Epifanes poses any issues on application.
Thanks! Rob
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"Rob Hanson" wrote:
Lew, I'll certainly be looking into the Epifanes, particularly with respect to how to apply it. Your note suggests that I might want to look for "manpower with experience..." Is there something particular about Epifanes that makes it difficult to work with?
I've worked with a large number of finishes. Just wondering if Epifanes poses any issues on application. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since you are in New Bern, you are in the middle of boat yard country which means you have a manpower pool with marine maintenance experience.
You are dealing with a marine application sans a boat.
The edge you have is that marine experience,
Epifanes is just the weapon of choice in many marinas.
Personally, I'd talk to some of those boat yards and get their input.
They have local knowledge which is always useful.
Lew
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Thanks, Lew. I'll check it out.
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You might ask the boat guys about Armada. Used it successfully on my sailboat's hatchboards and rails (teak). Two coats each spring were good for most of a Chesapeake summer.
Larry
On Monday, October 29, 2012 10:20:19 AM UTC-5, Lew Hodgett wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Okay, the saga continues, but this is where the opportunity gets to be fun.
I've posted a few pictures of the house in question, link below. They show not only the doors and beams that I've been referring to, but also the scale of the place. The client has put the beams on hold for now, waiting to see what I can do to the garage doors.
The underlying wood is mahogany. The wood was stained with a BenMoore oil-based penetrating stain which had walnut along with red and black. This stain has failed due to lack of maintenance. So far, all attempts to remove the stain with chemicals have failed. Not only that, but removing the stain via chemical is bound to cause issues... the house drains to a waterway. I was only able to get down to the wood by planing and sanding. (I have sample pieces in my shop.) The stuff underneath is beautiful... sheesh.
Considering how much manpower and noxious chemicals would be taken up in trying to remove the stain, sand, and start anew, I'm thinking of proposing that the client replace the garage doors, with me doing the finish on them. (Currently my favorite choice is the CPES and Epifanes mentioned earlier in the thread.) Overall, this would be a lot less time and effort.
Question is: If you could replace the garage doors with any readily available wood, what would you choose? Take a look at the pictures and see what you think would look best relative to the stonework on the house, as well as the beams staying dark as they are. I've got one species in mind, but would love to hear your opinions...
The link to the pictures:
http://www.robhansonphotography.com/Architecture/Tuscan/26428476_jjFgKN
Thanks! Rob
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