For outdoor redwood chair: polyurethane? oil? ???


My wife has an Adirondack chair that her son made for her two years ago. It is made of redwood and originally had a polyurethane (satin) finish (no stain).
Since then, it has been on the back deck in the weather. The sides that get the sun are completely faded to grey and the finish is almost gone. I know redwood holds up well to the weather, but I am afraid that it will slowly deteriorate and be ruined if we (I) don't do something.
The question is, what is the best way to go?
We recently had the house painted and I asked the painter. He said to use an oil and suggested (I think) "teak oil". Did he mean "tung" oil? He said it will have a nice natural look. It will need to be redone avery 1-2 years, but is easy to do with light sanding. Of course, we will need to sand the polyurethane finish off first (ugh).
I have tried to talk her into painting it white, but she wants the weathered look. (sigh)
What about a tougher polyurethane? Is there a marine version that is more weather resistant?
Thanks for the help.
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Just sand it and let it weather to gray color no coating is needed for natural look red wood has natural affinity to rot, much as cedar does a penetrating clear finish will also protect and weather to gray color marine varnish will have to be done nearly every year polyurethane, for the most part ,is not designed to be used in an exterior application any surface building finish will require the most maintenance
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On Thu, 04 May 2006 14:03:32 GMT, "roemax"
You mean sand off the polyurethane? It has already weathered to grey.

Yes, I know. But is it needed for protection?

But even redwood will last longer if protected, no?
I assume you meant "resistance", right? ;-)

Do you mean an oil finish? Any recommendations for outdoor use?

Meaning, poly, varnish, lacquer, etc., right?
Do oil finishes "build up"? With a good oill finish, would I just clean the chair, maybe lightly sand, and reoil? How often?
Thanks
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On Thu, 04 May 2006 14:03:32 GMT, "roemax"

You mean the cedar and redwood are naturally *resistant* to rot.
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"LurfysMa" wrote

See this: http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/search.exe
I *personally* like it better than any kind of poly. Are the chairs like this? http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net/detail?.dir94&.dnm530.jpg&.src=ph
Max
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On Thu, 04 May 2006 14:08:48 GMT, "Max"

Is that the right link? It's the main page for Woodworker's Supply.

Yep, it looks just like that -- plus a footrest. That was more or less hte color when it was new. It's grey now.
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"LurfysMa" wrote

I'm sorry. Enter "Teak Oil" in the search window at woodworker.com Watco makes a teak oil. They have it at Woodworkers.
Max
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I've read all the answers to date . . . and here's a response from the 'Marine' side.
First, I really like the concept of an 'Adirondack' chair, unfortunately my wife doesn't and our patio is unsuitably small. However, I am very familiar with woods that are exposed to the elements for long periods of time.
The Redwood that is often seen is typically finished with a 'stain' that is more akin to a paint. This is for protection from UV radiation. I am an inveterate 'scrounger' in my quest to save money, so often 're-use for another purpose' items that other people throw out. In one specific case it was a pair of 'Redwood Picnic Benches' - with folding aluminum legs. They were obviously several years old, and were given no maintenance at all. The finish was mostly intact but really 'sunburnt'. Where the finish had flaked off the wood was gray and either rotted out or 'punky' . . . as it was UNDER a lot of the finish !!
YES - your painter DID mean 'Teak Oil'. I use it all the time . . . and not just on Teak - I use a lot of Mahogany. Lets address that first. It is really the easiest 'finish'. If on 'new' wood no real sanding is *required* - just a light pass to remove any 'whiskers' or splinters. Then a number of 'flooding' coats until the wood stops absorbing the oil. After that maintenance is simple - 'clean & re-oil as necessary'. How often this will be needed depends on YOUR environment. Since the wood is already 'aged' you have to determine if the 'graying is weathering or dirt. Wet it - a brown look equals weather, black equals dirt. I would clean it either way. Get some 'Teak Cleaner' {typically a granular powder that is sprinkled on - oxalic acid being the principle ingredient} and a stiff brush. Wet, sprinkle, scrub - ACROSS the grain or in a circular motion. Wait, then hose off well - then hose off again while scrubbing. When it's thoroughly dry - apply the oil as with 'new' wood. This finish will not be smooth, with the grain & natural texture of the wood prominent.
'Smooth' finishes . . . do NOT even consider 'SPAR Varnish'. It will never cure to a hard surface and will glue your butt to the chair in warm weather. It is SUPPOSED to remain soft & flexible. The typical Poly has no UV additives. However, recently at least one has shown up on store shelves that claims to be for 'Exterior Use'. I like Poly, the Clear water-based kind for a lot of interior work. I think it gives one of the hardest, smoothest surfaces - in a very short time. I haven't tried the 'exterior' one, so I can't comment.
What I have used is a hard, or 'short-oil', varnish. There are several brands available. What I use, and the most commonly available is the West Marine 'house brand' - 'Skippers Varnish'. I have used it on thwarts & other 'boat' applications, as well as other exterior wood items around the house. You can 'fill' the grain of the wood, but it would probably take more then the usual 6 coats that I apply. The schedule of coats - thinned, thinned, then 4 un-thinned - will yield a textured, glossy finish. {you can make it 'satin' by rubbing with a 3-M pad}. It can be cleaned with mild soap & water. It WILL degrade over time. However, it can be periodically 'refreshed' with a slightly thinned coat 'as needed'. Again - that will depend on YOUR environment.
I never said it was easy or simple - but this should give you what you want. {Of course I could tell you about using a couple of epoxy 'undercoats' first . . } After that - THEN it's easy - the maintenance, that is.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

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wrote:

It sounds like the biggest danger is from the sun and UV rather than the rain or other weather factors. We live in Palo Alto, California. Neither the temperature nor the humidity vary a lot.
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There is no clear finish that will holdup outside in the weather... under a patio roof maybe, but not when exposed to direct rain/sunlight on a daily basis. If you want to protect the wood from damage, paint it. Paint is the only finish that will last in outdoor environments and provide all the necessary protection the wood needs.
Woody
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On 5 May 2006 09:56:10 -0700, "Tha Anonymous"

Even if it is reapplied regularly? I know nothing, not even paint, can be applied once and forgotten. My plan was to find something that I could reapply every year or two or as needed.
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Finished a redwood gate with General Finishes Outdoor oil. I left the partial can with the client and told him to refresh the finish if it started looking a bit dry. He didn't but 2 and a half years later he told me he was unhappy with the finish. When I asked why he replied it wasn't turning that nice silver-grey color like redwood is supposed to. I think it is an excellant product.
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Ron Magen wrote:

Have you checked the label for ingredients? Does it have anything in it other than linseed oil, color, and thinner?
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FF


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Spar varnish would be your best bet. Normal varnishes (poly, etc) are quite hard & brittle, and the temperature cycling that occurs between daytime sun and nightime darkness causes them to crack, which then lets moisture get behind and they rapidly degrade. Spar varnishes are softer and can flex with the temperature cycles.
Note that a good spar varnish, like Interlux or Epifanes, is by no means cheap.
But nothing lasts forever in an outdoor setting. You'll have to revarnish every so often whatever you use.
John
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I know you have a lot of responses to this but let me put in my 2 cents.
I recently completed a redwood english garden bench out of clear all heart redwood.
I would recommend an oil finish as it can be easily renewed on a periodic basis as it is absorbed rather than a film and thus does not need to be stripped off.
I would not recommend film finish (varnish, (poly)urithane,ete.) just because it is a lot of work to strip off the old when time to refinish.
With oil, just apply a new coat every 1-2 years depending on your environment.
My conclusion after doing my own research on the best way to finish redwood for outdoor furniture use.
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I am coming to the same conclusion.
Which oil did you use? I have recommendations for tung, teak, and something called "Outdoor Oil" from General Finishes, which has some UV protection.
How many years has it been? How often have you reapplied it?
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I've had some redwood (patio cover) out in the southwest sun and UV coated with Penofin. Still looks great after 3 years compared with some unfinished wood.
On Fri, 5 May 2006 13:27:08 -0600, Jerry wrote

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What color is it now? Has it faded to grey?
Have you re-applied the Penofin since the original application 3 years ago?
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I also used Penofin. I used the Marine Oil variety as it was suppose to have the highest UV protection and I love the look of the redwood and want to delay the greying effect as long as possible.
I was told that it will eventually grey -- not much you can do to stop that.
The only thing I found about oil is to not use things like BLO and stick with oil that has been treated with antifungal and UV inhibitors. Linseed oil will mildew in the moisture it is exposed to outdoors. Maybe true with other oils that are intended for indoor applications.
I only did this 4 months ago so can't report on the grey fading however I pretty much concluded there is little that will stop that eventually. I kind of like the grey anyway -- only don't like fungus / rot look.
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