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Forum topic by ChicagoHiker posted 12-02-2015 05:46 PM 628 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 2039 days

12-02-2015 05:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: white oak finishing refurbishing question

In July I completed three pieces for my cousin’s balcony. These were my first outdoor pieces. I used white oak because I read it was especially weather resistant. I finished using Minwax Natural (clear) stain and Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. In less than two months the wood was discolored – or in some spots black (with mold, perhaps?) The stain never flaked or pealed. It just looks like the wood was completely unstained.

As far as I can tell, I followed the instructions correctly.

My two questions are:

1) What did I do wrong?

2) How do I correct this?

The good news is she doesn’t need the furniture back until spring, so I have plenty of time to work on this!

My thanks to the community for your help!


-- Paul Segedin, Chicago, IL

1 reply so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5229 posts in 2727 days

#1 posted 12-02-2015 05:59 PM

White oak is great for outdoor use, but it will turn to a silver gray is not protected from UV. What you did wrong (IMHO) was use Helmsman. Anything with urethane resins is a poor choice for outdoor use. That said, any clear finish you use will need maintenance, but some are longer lasting than others. A true marine grade spar varnish like Epifanes would work well. It is expensive, and you need to apply a lot of coats but it’s very good stuff. I think you aren’t able to get most oil based finishes, but if you could untinted paint is a good choice, cheaper than most stuff and holds up well. The article linked details more about this. I can also tell you that untinted paint in the water borne formulas work very well. I know that Olympic Premium exterior dries clear (really clear, no amber tint) and I’ve read that SW A-100 exterior also dries clear. Other brands (the deep base) would probably also be good. Both have the UV inhibitors and would make good choices. I would caution that if you put them over an oil based stain, it would need to be dry, and I would still test it first. If by chance you can get the oil based version, you’ll find the look much like varnish once applied.

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

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