Poor results from staining have me steaming, how can I fix it?

I have an outdoor oak bench and cedar chairs that I assembled and finished last year with a clear water repellent, but they don’t look great now. They stayed out in the weather last summer and are dull and discoloured. Should I coat them again with the same stuff?

tung_n_teak_finish_outdoor_wood_furnitureClear water repellents of the sort you’ve used do retain the like-new colour of wood, but only for a short time. Since they don’t offer much protection against the UV rays of the sun, repellents can’t prevent the development of a dull, grey, weathered look. I have yet to find any outdoor wood furniture finishing product that preserves the bright colour of new wood for more than a season without attention.

At this stage, you have a couple of options:

  1. You could give your furniture another coat of repellent, then put it outside in a shady spot and enjoy them while they slowly turn grey.
  2. Another approach involves coating the furniture with exterior-grade oil every spring. Circa 1850 Tung ‘N Teak Oil is one product that I know works well. It imparts a brown colour to the wood, but repeated application every year does hold off the grey better than most products.

Whatever you do, don’t use any finish that forms a surface film. These inevitably peel, and that makes a real mess in all the nooks and crannies of a bench, chairs, and other furniture. Latest results from an ongoing Consumer Reports deck treatment survey places Olympic Water Guard 57560C at the top of the list for clear outdoor wood treatments.

Posted on February 19th, 2013

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