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Need advice on fixing a finish gone bad

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Forum topic by cajunworkshop posted 09-10-2015 01:59 AM 802 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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cajunworkshop

47 posts in 460 days


09-10-2015 01:59 AM

I am very new to woodworking. In Jan and Feb of this year I built 4 Adirondack chairs for my fire pit. I stained them with two coats of Minwax rated for out door. I put two coats of Minwax polyurethane rated for outdoor light sanding in between coats. When I was done the chairs looked awesome. I sat them out at my firepit over the last seven months they have faded terribly. The wood is cedar.

What went wrong? Should I have used a better polyurethane? More coats? I need suggestions on this so next time I won’t have double work!

How do I fix this problem with the chairs as they sit now? Clean and sand them, then restrain? Then polyurethane them again using a better product?

Or tell me no matter what product the stain won’t last and I should do “X”- what ever x might be

Thanks in advance for any suggestions

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC


15 replies so far

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cajunworkshop

47 posts in 460 days


#1 posted 09-10-2015 02:02 AM

I will take a after picture tomorrow to show how they look now.

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

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cajunworkshop

47 posts in 460 days


#2 posted 09-10-2015 02:27 AM

One last item. I put two coats of stain on with a rag not a brush. I put two coats of polyurethane on with a brush sanding between coats.

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

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nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2608 days


#3 posted 09-10-2015 02:31 AM

First off, your whole fire pit area looks great. Next, it’s probably just me, but I’ve never seen a polyurethane made for exterior use. It’s usually a spar urethane or some similar varnish. Double check that the product you used specified exterior use. Finally, even if it is an exterior varnish, you generally have to apply at least one coat per year, depending on exposure, and it looks like those chairs get a lot of that.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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BurlyBob

3688 posts in 1730 days


#4 posted 09-10-2015 02:46 AM

A good UV spar is the way to go, like Nailbanger say, it won’t last for ever. Sun and water will reek havoc on an out door finish given enough time.

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pjones46

986 posts in 2108 days


#5 posted 09-10-2015 02:53 AM

There is no easy out at this point.

First, IMHO, Minwax is the worst product on the market. UV is very powerful and will attack most anything you would use. Just ask anyone who owns a boat. No matter what you use will need constant attention when used outside; especially film forming products, they will all turn cloudy and peal over time.

Initially I would have recommended a good oil base transparent deck stain for the project. It does not peal and protects the wood, but over time fades and wares and recoating is needed on a periodically anywhere from a year to two years depending on the environment. However, it is easier to maintain than film forming products.

Now, you will have to paint stripper on the chairs to removiethe poly, then use deck stripper to remove the stain as well as sand to insure you are back to raw wood. You should also bleach the wood to make sure you have as good a base as you can get (full strength household bleach works well). You can use a power washer and brushes to aid you in the process.

Once the wood has dried, you then can re-stain using a good oil base transparent deck stain and do not over coat with anything. As stated above you will have to recoat periodically.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#6 posted 09-10-2015 11:06 AM

lightly sand the chairs and give them 3 coats of ZAR poly (Ace has them for $47/gallon). Follow the instructions on the can.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Fred Hargis

3942 posts in 1958 days


#7 posted 09-10-2015 11:54 AM

Fixing this will be a rough row to hoe. Polyurethane finishes just don’t hold up outside, especially in a high UV environment. That said, any clear finish is going to need maintenance over time but the proper finish will make that interval much longer. The proper repair would be to strip (not sand) the old finish off, then touch up by sanding and start over. I’ve never heard of a stain “rated for outdoor” but if you want to use that, go ahead. Then top coat with a proper finish…such a finish will not have urethanes in it. A true marine grade spar varnish (Epifanes is a highly regarded brand) will work. Some of the newer waterbornes ( like GF HP, ignore they refer to it as a “polyurethane” to take marketing advantage of that @#$% magical word…it’s primarily an acrylic finish) or even untinted paint. The untinted paint is a very good choice, especially if you can get the oil based paints in your area. If not, some of the acrylic formulas (labeled “acrylic latex”) like SW A100, and Olympic Icon will also dry clear.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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dhazelton

2325 posts in 1761 days


#8 posted 09-10-2015 01:42 PM

Even marine varnish deteriorates quickly. It’s why people used to scrape, sand and varnish their wooden boats every year.

I’ve done the untinted paint on exterior doors and woodwork for someone who insisted on that look after spar varnish failed and it looked like hell the next year. He finally gave up and said ‘paint it.’

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ChefHDAN

808 posts in 2314 days


#9 posted 09-10-2015 03:47 PM

I think the best route may be to let it go and go for “Character Patina” There’s pretty much no way to beat Mother Nature that will not involve maintenance every year. The good news is that it’s cedar and like cypress, teak and ipe it will last for years in the weather without more than some oiling to extend the life. I had a red cedar swing and table on the patio for 12+ years before I sold in on CL.

Embrace the gray!, it works for my hair too

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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FellingStudio

93 posts in 1147 days


#10 posted 09-10-2015 11:50 PM

Embrace the gray.

If you must put something on it, the best quality deck stain that you can find is probably the best option. If you are lucky, you can get a couple of years out of that kind of product, and it isn’t a huge pain in the ass to recoat.

Given that you have poly on it already, I might let it sit out for another year or two before trying to strip … it will come off easier then.

-- Jesse Felling - http://www.fellingstudio.com

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cajunworkshop

47 posts in 460 days


#11 posted 09-11-2015 12:18 AM

Some great advice from all. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am currently building a 5 foot swing made out of treated wood. I have had the wood drying for 4 weeks. Started cutting my patterns today.

This two will be hanging on a arbor in the middle of my yard no protection from sun. Because it is treated it won’t weather like the cedar would have if I left my Adirondack chairs bare. So based on the advice provided, would it be best to use a good deck stain on this swing and the arbor it will be swinging from?

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

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pjones46

986 posts in 2108 days


#12 posted 09-11-2015 12:36 AM

Yes on the good quality oil base transparent deck stain for both the swing and arbor.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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cajunworkshop

47 posts in 460 days


#13 posted 09-11-2015 02:21 AM

Thanks!

-- Cajun Workshop Greenville, SC

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dhazelton

2325 posts in 1761 days


#14 posted 09-11-2015 09:17 PM

You’re supposed to let treated wood weather a year or so before you finish it.

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pjones46

986 posts in 2108 days


#15 posted 09-11-2015 09:29 PM

Can pressure-treated wood be painted or stained? Definitely!
Stains first…

Many manufacturers carry full lines of both oil and latex products that can be used on pressure-treated wood. According to the folks at Cuprinol, you should wait at least one to two months before staining. You may apply a clear preservative immediately, but it must be a product manufactured for use on fresh pressure-treated lumber. One such product is Wolman Oil-Base RainCoat Clear Water Repellant.

What about painting? Don’t even think about painting fresh pressure-treated wood!

The moisture in it “stacks the deck” against good paint adhesion. Seal your project with a pressure-treated wood preservative immediately. Follow the preservative’s instructions regarding future painting, making special note of the amount of time the preservative should weather before painting.

Applying a sealer can protect against CCA exposure…

According to the EPA, studies show that the application of a penetrating oil finish can reduce or eliminate exposure to CCA in older decks and to the chemicals used in newer decks. So it is recommended that all pressure-treated surfaces that have human contact be coated with an oil finish as needed. It has been noted in some studies that paints and opaque exterior stains do not offer the protection of stains that are absorbed more deeply into the wood.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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