Lowest maintenance outdoor finish?

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Forum topic by LiveEdge posted 61 days ago 457 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LiveEdge's profile


210 posts in 247 days

61 days ago

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


1286 posts in 884 days

#1 posted 60 days ago

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


571 posts in 521 days

#2 posted 60 days ago

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

1654 posts in 1549 days

#3 posted 60 days ago

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.

-- In God We Trust

View Manitario's profile


2300 posts in 1510 days

#4 posted 60 days ago

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

1716 posts in 1120 days

#5 posted 60 days ago

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, we sent 'em to Washington.

View b2rtch's profile


4310 posts in 1675 days

#6 posted 59 days ago

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


15684 posts in 2845 days

#7 posted 59 days ago

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


1173 posts in 923 days

#8 posted 59 days ago

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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