Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Best Finish for Outdoor Furniture

The Best Finish for Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture can turn your backyard from a garden into a functional, outdoor room, where you and your family can spend hours of quality time. The right furniture for your yard should be both attractive and comfortable. Because outdoor furniture is constantly exposed to the elements, it is important to coat it with a protective finish. The best finish for your outdoor furniture depends not only on the look you are after, but also the amount of periodic maintenance you are willing to perform.

Oil-Based Transparent Stains
For finishing a quality piece of wood furniture, many people prefer the look and feel of an oil-based, transparent wood stain. A transparent stain provides color to the wood, but the wood's natural grain will remain completely revealed. As opposed to a paint, which lays on the wood's surface, a transparent stain is intended to penetrate into the wood's surface.

Prior to finishing with a transparent stain, your wood furniture should be entirely free of any existing coatings. You may have to sand or use a chemical stripper in order to achieve the desired conditions prior to staining. In addition, wood must be completely dry prior to staining; any moisture contained within the wood may prevent the stain from penetrating the surface adequately. An oil-based wood stain that does not penetrate, and sits on the wood's surface, will remain tacky, will tend to attract dirt and pollen and could stain clothing. When applying oil-based stain, make sure the stain soaks into the wood. Back-brushing, or going back over the surface of the wood to remove any excess stain, after 15 minutes is an effective way to avoid overapplying oil-based wood stain.

Transparent oil-based stains provide water protection, as well as protection from the sun's harmful rays. Keep in mind that the UV protection in wood stain comes from the pigments, so the darker color you choose, the longer you can expect a stain to last. Generally, a transparent wood stain will last between one to three years before it needs to be refinished. The lifespan varies greatly depending on the exposure to sunlight.

Also, it is important to understand that, when using a transparent wood stain, the finish can vary greatly depending on the absorbency and color of the wood. Wood is a natural substrate, and transparent finishes will reveal the inconsistencies and natural deformations inherent within wood. This can create a beautiful, breath-taking finish, but if you are expecting a consistent finish, it can be quite a shock. Go with a solid-color product if consistency is your goal.

Semitransparent Oil-Based Wood Stain
A semitransparent wood stain is similar to the transparent stain in many ways. The primary difference between the two is that the pigment particles in the semitransparent stains are larger and obscure the wood grain pattern more than those in the transparent stain. Similar to the transparent stain, you will want to avoid overapplying the semitransparent wood stains. Also, the darker colors will tend to last longer than the lighter ones.

You can expect a semitransparent stain to last between two and four years before the furniture needs to be refinished.

Solid Color Stain or Paint
A solid color stain essentially performs similarly to a traditional, opaque paint. In fact, prior to applying a solid color wood stain, it is typically recommended that you first apply a primer in order to create a surface with which the solid color stain will bond. Then, after the priming, apply two coats of solid color stain in order to ensure maximum protection and a consistent finish.

A solid color product will completely obscure the wood's natural grain, but it provides a long-lasting and protective finish. Also, if you are finishing weather damaged furniture, furniture with a coating that could not be completely removed or furniture constructed of lower-grade lumber, a solid color product may be your best choice.

You can expect a solid color finish to last at least five years or longer. Again, harmful UV rays are the nemesis of all coatings, so the more you are able to keep your furniture out of the sunlight, the longer you can expect your furniture's finish to remain intact.


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