Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Varnish or Stain for Ipe, Mahogany, and other Hardwood

Tropical hardwood like Ipe, Mahogany, Tigerwood, Cumaru, and others are fast becoming a popular building material for a variety of wood products including doors, wood trim, lawn furniture, flooring, and various wooden structures.

Coating and Maintenance is quite different with these hardwoods. Due to their high natural oil content, and extremely dense wood fiber, tropical hardwoods are difficult to protect with coatings and stains because very little volume of most products are absorbed into the wood. Only a small layer of surface wood deteriorates and needs rejuvenated (re oiled) seasonally. Therefore any oil type wood sealer or stain will require more frequent maintenance. Unfortunately, many oil and acrylic products are not suitable for exotic hardwood. Most dry out very quickly leading to frequent maintenance. Most Spar Varnishes and exterior polyurethanes lead to disappointing results and repeated costly failures.

Hardwood Decks 

The deck in this photo is constructed of Garapa hardwood decking finished with One TIME Golden Honey. One TIME Wood Protector offers longer protection than traditional oil stains, and cures by sunlight. It gives the look of an oiled finish, but not a shine. There is no water or solvent to evaporate. Maintenance is simple detergent wash and recoat every couple of years depending on exposure. One TIME is not shiny, has very translucent pigments, and accentuates the natural beauty of exotic hardwood.

More on Hardwood Decks

Doors and Trim

For exterior hardwood doors and trim , Waterlox Marine is a great system to consider.

Film forming products like Sikkens Door & Window products can offer good protection, and are widely available.

There is no single best product, but there is a best product for each specific exterior project.


Tropical Hardwood Floors

Wood floors
, countertops, walls, trim, doors, and other hardwood surfaces can be naturally beautified and protected, eliminating the difficult application, maintenance issues, and other disadvantages of polyurethane finishes.

Oily hardwood requires a compatible sealer for positive adhesion. Thick polyurethanes lay on the top, where they are prone to lose adhesion. A Tung oil and resin blend like Waterlox can offer the ease of maintenance, and lack of peeling of an oil finish, but with the hardness of varnish. Waterlox soaks in and cures with oxygen, hardening the surface, with no film buildup. It does not give a "plastic" look to wood, but gives a hand polished, natural looking finish. On Waterlox, scratches are much less visible than on a polyurethane, which is prone to show "whitish" scratching. Polyurethane scratches on dark hardwoods are even more pronounced. The other big advantage of Waterlox is that no sanding is ever required for recoating. Just clean, and refresh every few years. This is an elegant finish for tropical hardwood flooring.

Waterlox Reviews

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