Several years ago, my DH used marine spar varnish to coat the wooden
pillars and deck railing on our front porch. It's now peeling off the wood.
I'd like to refinish it (with something else!), but am unsure of how best
to remove the existing varnish.
Wouldn't the wire wheel scratch up the wood? I have a wire brush, but was
hesitant to try that for the same reason. I'm not sure what the
pillars/columns are made of, but they seem like a relatively soft wood -
they're not solid, they're "faux" Doric columns that are apparently just
"wrapped" around whatever is really supporting the roof.
The spar varnish still looks great from the inside of the porch - but
anywhere it's been exposed to the sun and water, it's in bad shape. I'm
guessing that he didn't do much (or any) prep work on it before putting
on the varnish, and I have no idea what sort of finishes may have been
put on the wood in previous years.
On Mon, 25 Apr 2005 22:20:56 -0500, "A. Brown"
:>> Several years ago, my DH used marine spar varnish to coat the wooden:>> pillars and deck railing on our front porch. It's now peeling off the:>> wood.
:>> I'd like to refinish it (with something else!), but am unsure of how:>> best to remove the existing varnish.
:>> Suggestions please?:> :> Wire wheel works well.:> :> Spar varnish is usually a good choice for outdoor wood. Last year I:> used Sikkens Cetol Marine on a couple of things but it is too soon to:> tell just how good it is. :> :>
:Wouldn't the wire wheel scratch up the wood? I have a wire brush, but was
:hesitant to try that for the same reason. I'm not sure what the
:pillars/columns are made of, but they seem like a relatively soft wood -
:they're not solid, they're "faux" Doric columns that are apparently just
:"wrapped" around whatever is really supporting the roof.
:The spar varnish still looks great from the inside of the porch - but
:anywhere it's been exposed to the sun and water, it's in bad shape. I'm
:guessing that he didn't do much (or any) prep work on it before putting
:on the varnish, and I have no idea what sort of finishes may have been
:put on the wood in previous years.
If that varnish is getting direct sun, it's just going to need
refinishing eventually, that's the nature of varnish, even spar varnish.
If you want to do a really good job you should really consider paint
remover, in my opinion. Then wash it well, let it dry, sand it well,
brush off the sanding dust and continue on a refinishing plan, be it
more varnish, polyurethane or whatever you want.
In using paint remover, wear protective gloves (rubber, or similar),
apply with a cheap brush, after the varnish is softened and blistered,
work it with an abrasive pad and wash with plenty of water, if you have
drainage, or make do if you don't. Good tough brushes and water will
help you remove the paint remover. A scraper may be helpful with the
tougher spots of varnish, but they'll be softened by the paint remover.
I might suggest that a good marine varnish is a very good long lasting
finish. If it is peeling, I would suggest that anything else you might have
used would also be peeling now unless it had already been pealed off.
Scrape, then sand smooth. With a good, sharp scraper it goes pretty
fast. Guess you could use a paint remover but that is messy, still have
to scrape off the softened gunk.
Spar varnish is soft, sands easily once dry. No reason to use it in
your application though, spar varnish is made for - surprise -
spars...masts, booms, like that. Being soft it is flexible so that the
it resists cracking from the bending of spars. Why people use it for
other than spars is beyond me.
Any top coat you use on the rail is will need to be renewed from time to
time. The trick is to not let it get to the point it is now...sand
lightly and recoat *before* it starts deteriorating. If you want to
avoid that chore, use an oil finish...you will still have to reappy
occasionally but no sanding is needed.
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If you still want to do the stripping route, I believe any product with a
concentration of methylene chloride should do the trick. Most strippers are
made from this (at least the consumer versions are). You might try the
Citristrip (I think) and see if that works. If not, you can move up to
Jasco or Sunnyside
Glue and Adhesive remover. This stuff has a higher concentration of the
way, be sure to wear strong gloves (PVC recommended for MC) and don't breath
Otherwise, go the sanding route.
Any mechanical device, sander, scraper, wire wheel, will risk damage to
the wood, and be difficult to fit into grooves and corners. I think the
best way to remove varnish is a chemical paint stripper. Get one that
cleans with water, and some scrub pads, a pile of rags, and a good pair
of rubber gloves. Put something on the floor to protect it from drops.
Follow the instructions closely.
An alternative might be to sand and put on a couple of coats of new
varnish; be sure to get UV protected varnish to minimize damage from the
sun, and just resolve yourself to refinishing every few years, which you
will have to do with almost any paint you use.
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