Anybody have experience using solar lux on exterior projects? I know someone
who had an ipe bench made and asked for a solar lux stain because they like
the color. They also asked that no sealer coat be applied as they believed
it would be easier to restain in the future if needed. Today while raining
they tried to install the bench and got stain all over their hands, even
though it was dry when inside. Any ideas on what will be the best course of
It sounds like it needed a sealer, but now when it dries if it's smudged
then what would be the easiest approach? Ipe would not be to easy to soak
stain into in the 1st place as it's so oily & dense.
Ipe is extremely dense and oily. Stains probably are not going to penetrate
like they will in a softer wood like OAK. Out doors you are looking at
refinishing every 2 or 3 years regardless of what finish you are going to
Out doors in sun light Ipe will eventually turn to a silvery grey like most
all woods. To keep that color you are going to have to work on it every
year or two.
Ipe will do fine for 50 years outdoors with no protection but the color will
change. Resanding or revarnishing with a tinted varnish will probably be
the only way to keep it looking new. The suns rays have a devastating
effect on most any finish.
My findings on dye stains are that they are not good when it comes to
fading from UV rays so I would think that would be a poor choice.
Pigmented stains will fair better in sunlight. Some like to let the
piece weather a bit and then apply a clear preservative like Thompsons.
Also there are the semi transparent stains for outdoor decks that
might be just what you need.
Being a dye, SL will not harden. In fact, if it is applied with as
little solvent as possible, it will leave a powdery residue before
finishing. You can get it to the point where it doesn't penetrate at
all, but will leave a fine dust of its particulates.
I have had a different experience than those here with SL. I have
used it extensively on exterior entry doors for new homes, replacement
doors and for restoration work. So far, no problems at all.
But SL is only as good as its topcoat. I have never used it but once
when I had anything but a UV resistant topcoat. I have used it under
exterior poly, and extensively under a post catalyzed exterior grade
conversion lacquer. Never a problem, knock on wood!
The point is that the dye is not a stand alone product. It MUST be
top coated, period. While I have found the SL brand to be very UV
resistant, it is essential that it be additionally protected with
another UV resistant finish as well.
I tested SL for my own use (before being sued for lousy workmanship by
irate clients!) by using the old tried and true "roof test" from the
old days. I took a piece of dried poplar and dyed it (I spray it) and
then finished it as I would a door with 4 coats of finish. I loosely
covered half of it with a piece of old tarp and left the other half
On the roof it went, later to be moved to a shadeless, full sun and
exposure spot in the yard. It got full, S. Texas sun, downpours, more
sun, and then really hight temps as well. I tossed it back on the
roof when it was in the way and forgot about it.
About 14 months or so later, I pulled it off and looked at it. I was
surprised; the stain side showed little evidence of fading. Strangely
(maybe finish discoloration or wood reaction to UV) it was a little
darker in a couple of spots.
I have not changed my spray formula, method or topcoat since.
I have to agree with all of Leon's remarks. I think they are spot on,
and the most I ever see anyone finish ipe with around here is a thin,
oil based product from Cabot's.
Most of the other deck seals and colored "stains" are no more than
overthinned varnishes with colorant. Multiple coats simply peel off
Don't confuse SL with Transtint or other products that
<<specifically>> warn against using them where UV exposure can be a
detriment to the coloration. There are many documented stories on the
refinishing/finishing groups of guys that ferreted out Transtint (or
its non-UV resistant top coat) as the culprit when there was an
outline of an object left on a table by a sunny window.
Remember too, that when you use that type if dye, it is only good for
inside use, and that you will probably be using an interior rated top
coat. These will be harder than the ones you will use outside since
elasticity isn't required, but with NO UV resistance from a top coat,
the color of your piece will have no protection at all.
As always, just my 0.02.
Robert, I am interested in your method of staining doors with SL. I am a
painter and have been given the job of staining Maple doors with light
brown mahogany SL with a spray gun(Capspray 8100 HVLP). It seems the
stain spray pattern is blotchy on a test board, sheet rock. I have done
a couple doors but it requires many passes to get an even looking coat
and if too much is applied in one area it turns black. I am sealing the
stain with Zinsser Seal coat and finish with Mohawk Hydro-Gold.
I had the same problems you had until I finally figured out what I was
doing wrong for MY style of finishing. Talking on the phone to the
Behlen's guys, this product represents a real hole in their
I have used this method on raw wood as well as when refinishing and it
has worked well in every case. Now if I could just get BARRY to try
it with the MLC products...
You need to get some anhydrous (99.99% alcohol) from the paint store.
If you have a teflon lined cup, or poly cup liners, they are needed
I mix my colors (I love their dark walnut with about 25% dark red
mahogany mixed in) in a small container. By volume, I thin with the
alcohol 50 to 75%. Yes, 75%. So you are shooting colored alcohol
when you get to 75%.
I determine the amount of thinning by how much color I want to
impart. A light color, go to 75%. More color, less thinning.
I spray the thinned dye on the wood, in alternating spray patterns so
that there will be no streaks. By experience (don't do this on your
cabinets the first time!) I know how much dye to apply. For medium
colors I usually apply about 4 coats of dye to the wood. It dries
fast, and you can recoat usually within 5 minutes or less to build up
the coating. I use my smallest tip on the HVLP which is 1 mm.
After spraying, get that stuff out of your gun and cup as soon as
possible. If you have a liner or teflon lined cup, it won't matter.
But if you have an aluminum cup, there is some kind of electrolytic
response and it will make little crumbles in your gun after a couple
Dye used in this manner will fool you. It looks like a powder on the
wood. But when you spray on the finish, it immediately disperses into
the topcoat and penetrates the wood. Sometimes the resulting finish
is (honestly) really no less than amazing. Unlike stain, the dye does
not cause a loss of definition of the grain, so any swirls or burly
areas come out particularly nice.
And here's the big payoff. Since you are not applying it with a rag,
pad or brush, the dye goes on evenly and cannot blotch. (OK, it can,
but if it does you know the surface is contaminated.) The applied dye
particulates simply sit ON the wood until you apply the finish.
Being thinned to this degree, they are not wet long enough to
penetrate, and since there is only so much on the surface (as opposed
to a reservoir like a pad or rag) the wood can only pull in so much
dye. Hence, no blotches.
I don't personally know anyone that uses dye this way. I called
Behlen's, and the recommended against it although they didn't know
why. No one I know will even try this method. But I posted it on
the Woodweb finishing forum, and the guys that tried it there loved
it. I even got a few personal emails from them, including a couple
from their long time moderators that are finisihers themselves.
I have never used this method with a water based top coat as I am
still back in the stone age spraying NC products and solvent based
poly. But the guys on the Woodweb used water based with this method
and seemed very pleased.
As always, your mileage may vary on this, and practice on those scraps
Let me know what you think if you try this.
Thanks so much for taking the time to offer your experience. I have a
bottle of their retarder which is water, acetone and polypropylene
glycol? They only recommend up to 10% reduction. I will try adding more
alcohol but all I have is the standard denatured stuff sold in the
hardware stores. Also the gun a #3 cap set which is probably too large
for dye stain. Thanks again for the help.
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