Durable Finish For Doors In The Tropics

I originally posted this in alt.home.repair. Someone suggested I also post here.
Hi,
Can someone suggest a durable finish for wooden doors in a tropical environment?
The doors of our house in Costa Rica cannot keep a finish for more than few months. The original owner said they "mahogany" and originally "varnished" (I quote because I am not 100% sure she was correct). When the varnish refused to stay they sanded it off an put on an oil based stain. They were newly oiled last October and by June much of the oil was gone. I might or might not find out what they are using.
There are a total of 29 custom made exterior doors (really. The house was built to be completed opened up - possible in a climate where many of the restaurants don't have walls.) Replacing that many doors would be impractical.
Thanks, Gary
Here is a link to the house
http://www.propertiesincostarica.com/properties/mountaintop_residence_in_atenas_just_below_the_clouds.html
The bifold doors around the living and dining areas on the east and west sides of the house get the worst of it, as you would expect. The overhangs provide some protection.
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On 9/30/2012 10:17 AM, Abby wrote:

http://www.propertiesincostarica.com/properties/mountaintop_residence_in_atenas_just_below_the_clouds.html
Well the good news is,,, your problem is not unique to the Tropics. If the wood is getting direct exposure to sunlight you are going to have an on going maintenance program. With luck you will only have to reapply the finish every 2~3 years depending on the quality of materials available to you.
Basically you want to look for a UV blocking finish. Buy the absolute best quality you can find as refinishing 29 doors will cost you a lot of time and or money.
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On Sunday, September 30, 2012 10:27:39 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:
As Leon has said, UV protection is important.
I would add, though: You mentioned the old finishes haven't lasted for more then a few months, before they fail. A good marine finish should last longer than that, even when exposed to lots of sunlight. I highly suspect the high humidity has elevated the moisture content, within the wood, and this is having the effect on the doors' finish, much sooner than should be, even in that environment.
After you strip a door (or a few at a time), place it/them in an air conditioned environment, to dry out more so, then apply whatever marine finish onto it. There will be less moisture in the wood to contribute to the finish's failure, if mositure is, indeed, an excellerating enfluence.
Many folks, even in other climates, forget to seal the bottoms of doors, to prevent moisture from entering the wood. Do any of your doors have problems with the swelling of wood, at the bottoms of the doors, causing periodic jamming or dragging of the bottoms of the doors on the thresholds, especially on or immediately after rainy days? Have you ever noticed if any doors jam, when opening/closing, on the sides or top, on or after rainy days, ie., on/after extra high humidity days? If so, then this may indicate there is a moisture issue that may be contributing to the finish issues, you have described.
From what you have described, I highly suspect the doors may be "damp", to the point of having the applied finish fail, earlier than would normally be so. Dry out the doors, as much as possible, in an air conditioned environment, if possible, before applying the finish coats.
Sonny
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On 9/30/2012 12:48 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

then a few months, before they fail. A good marine finish should last longer than that, even when exposed to lots of sunlight. I highly suspect the high humidity has elevated the moisture content, within the wood, and this is having the effect on the doors' finish, much sooner than should be, even in that environment.

conditioned environment, to dry out more so, then apply whatever marine finish onto it. There will be less moisture in the wood to contribute to the finish's failure, if mositure is, indeed, an excellerating enfluence.

prevent moisture from entering the wood. Do any of your doors have problems with the swelling of wood, at the bottoms of the doors, causing periodic jamming or dragging of the bottoms of the doors on the thresholds, especially on or immediately after rainy days? Have you ever noticed if any doors jam, when opening/closing, on the sides or top, on or after rainy days, ie., on/after extra high humidity days? If so, then this may indicate there is a moisture issue that may be contributing to the finish issues, you have described.

the point of having the applied finish fail, earlier than would normally be so. Dry out the doors, as much as possible, in an air conditioned environment, if possible, before applying the finish coats.

I would like to add some info. It does not come from first hand knowledge, so it is supposition. I have known a few people who have done decks in mahoganny. They all complain that stain will not stick to it. They say it's an oily wood.
Yet mahoganny was used for furniture for years without a problem.
I think mahoganny is a great wood w/o finish outdoors. I think the problem is how mahogany and the oil in it react to both sun and heat. Spar varnish itself is not perfect. I saw an article years ago about using epoxy and spar varnish together. Epoxy to totaly seal the wood from moisture and the constant expansion/shrinkage. The spar varnish to protect the epoxy. While I don't know what mag I saw this in, it sounded reasonable.
Will it work? I don't know, I suspect the direct sun and oils might still represent a problem, I would try one door of West Marine Epoxy applied to all the wood, followed by spar varnish. For one door. Give it a year, if it works, do them all. If not, you haven't lost too much effort or money.
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"tiredofspam" wrote:

---------------------------------------------------------------------- There is Honduras Mahogany and all the "wantabe" woods that want to be called Mahogany.
Honduras Mahogany must be protected with a suitable finish such as Epifanes marine poly which includes UV protection.
Totally sealing the wood with laminating epoxy, then sealing the epoxy with Epifanes to protect the epoxy is a workableapproach.
Works in marine applications, BUT is a high maintenance system.
May work in this application.
Drying the existing wood will be key to solving this application.
Lew
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On 9/30/2012 9:36 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

For the tropics, I would start with three coats of West 105 resin. THEN varnish of your choice...
When all dry, periodically coat the exposed surfaces with a UV spray. The exterior wood on Temptress still looks fine after three years.
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Abby wrote:

http://www.propertiesincostarica.com/properties/mountaintop_residence_in_atenas_just_below_the_clouds.html
Plant trees or other vegetation to keep out - or cut down - the UV.
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You know, I often think how I'd like to live in a tropical locale or perhaps in a seaside house. And then, I think about all my tools rusting in the humidity or the salt of a beach side workshop destroying everything metal in it. Makes you second guess yourself.
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Dave wrote:

There's a one word solution: Vacuum Pak.
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I'm not sure what that is. Perhaps a climate controlled environment?
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Dave wrote:

My bad. It's a plastic bag - they come in varying sizes - into which you put stuff: sweaters, the cat, etc., and, in your case, tools. You then attach the bag to a vacuum cleaner - again, in your case, to the shop vac - and suck all the air out.
It cuts the size of, say, a pillow, down to the dimensions of a marshmallow. I doubt it will do the same to a set of lathe knives...
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