Lowest maintenance outdoor finish?

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Forum topic by LiveEdge posted 06-23-2014 02:48 AM 1104 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LiveEdge's profile


567 posts in 1489 days

06-23-2014 02:48 AM

I’m going to build a couple sitting benches for our local Mission and I was thinking about the best way to finish them that requires the least maintenance. I actually think I may just not finish them and let them go to a gray patina, but other than that what are my options? I assume everything else will require bleaching and restaining on at least a yearly basis.

8 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2945 posts in 2126 days

#1 posted 06-24-2014 12:30 AM

I agree that no finish will require the least maintenance. However, I refinished this door in June 2012 with Sikkens Cetol Door and Window and it looks just as good today. It is located in Ft Worth, Tx and gets afternoon sun.

-- Art

View ColonelTravis's profile


1716 posts in 1763 days

#2 posted 06-24-2014 01:43 AM

Live on the other side of DFW, Art, and we need a new door. Going to keep that stuff in mind, thanks.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2591 posts in 2791 days

#3 posted 06-24-2014 02:10 AM

Lowest maintenance outdoors is what is used on the outside of wooden houses…Paint. You can use paint with no color added to it. It goes on white and dries clear. Has UV protection like tinted paint does.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

View Manitario's profile


2581 posts in 2752 days

#4 posted 06-24-2014 02:53 AM

I’ll second Sikkens; I re-did a bench last year and it still looks new this year; the most I ever got out of Helmsman urethane was a few months before it started to peel.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4819 posts in 2362 days

#5 posted 06-24-2014 11:31 AM

Paint is undoubtedly the lowest maintenance coating you could use. If you want a clear finish, I’d still go with paint….but it would be untinted, oil based, exterior paint. Using the highest number paint base in a brand (#4 for most, or maybe #5) will give you a varnish like finish that will last for several years before it needs recoated, and it’s a lot less expensive than true marine spar varnishes. Should you choose this, test the brand you choose first: open the can and swill a paint paddle in it, wipe it off….if it’s clear you’re good to go. Most of them look a little cloudy in the can, but look very much like varnish once dry.

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

View b2rtch's profile


4847 posts in 2917 days

#6 posted 06-24-2014 12:36 PM

I use a product made for fences and decks on my patio furniture, it has been working great for me.
I buy it at Lowes. It is made by Cabot.
I was going to put a link but I no longer can find it.
I found it on Cabot’;s website:

-- Bert

View CharlieM1958's profile


16272 posts in 4087 days

#7 posted 06-24-2014 12:41 PM

I guess you really can learn something new every day. I never heard of using untinted paint as an outdoor clear finish, but it makes sense!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dhazelton's profile


2643 posts in 2165 days

#8 posted 06-24-2014 12:42 PM

I asked about the untinted oil-based paint option here and gave it a whirl on a client’s door that gets a lot of sun. It failed as badly as marine varnish did. He finally asked me to paint the door green this year as he was tired of looking at peeling and blistering. It will still need repainting every couple of years but much easier to feather things in.

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