Best Finish For Cypress Outdoor Furniture

By | April 27, 2023
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Cypress wood is commonly used to make decks, siding and many types of outdoor furniture and garden structures. Like Cedar and Redwood, it is naturally rot-resistant, containing a compound called cypressine that repels insects and decaying organisms, shows Adam’s All-Natural Cedar. Unlike cedar and redwood, cypress does not have a reddish tint, but has amber-brown colors, similar to the colors of various types of honey. If left untreated, however, cypress wood fades to a silvery gray within a few years. Regular application of exterior varnish, also known as urethane, or other clear sealant will maintain the beautiful natural color of cypress wood in exterior applications.

Best Finish For Cypress Outdoor Furniture

Best Finish For Cypress Outdoor Furniture

How to grow your own vegetable garden in any indoor or outdoor space. Dark Oak How To Paint Over Polyurethane Finished Wood How To Remove Stains From Oak With Bleach How To Stain Cypress Wood How To Clean Rustic Natural Wood Painting Pine To Hide Grain Unfortunately, this attempt at finishing “the bala” did not go through. After two years, the finish is cracking and peeling. While it may be tempting to place 100% of the blame on the finish itself, there are other factors involved. First, this table received full sun exposure in Denver. At our high elevation, the UV rays are particularly strong and not many film finishes can survive that kind of torture. Second, the wood itself is incredibly soft. This means that the table is carved and easily scratched. Wherever a scratch occurs, there is an infiltration point for the elements and the finish is simply removed from there. And third, the breadboard edge design is problematic for a film finish. As the table expands and contracts, the finish splits and creates another infiltration point.

Durable Outdoor Finish?

As a point of reference, I have the same finish on two Adirondack Chairs (mahogany) and a garden gate (white oak), all mostly sun-tanned but still exposed to the weather, and those have held up very well. . . To see for yourself how this table was finished and what I ended up doing with it, watch this video.

Looking for a durable exterior finish? You’ve come to the right place! Looking for an inexpensive solution that doesn’t require any maintenance? This is not the end for you. A good quality marine finish does not come cheap. In fact, I’m sure that finishing materials are as valuable as wood! And while they create one of the strongest and most durable finishes available to woodworkers, they will eventually require maintenance thanks to the relentless power of Mother Nature. My goal is to eliminate that maintenance as much as possible. By the way, looking for a quick review of common types of exterior finishes? Look at this!

A few years ago I built the Rustic Outdoor table (download the free plans here) and just gave it a coat or two of Watco Teak Oil. Then proceeded to let the table sit in the blazing Arizona sun, a true torture test for any wood or finish. The end result? A table and benches that were past their years and full of checks and cracks. Somewhere along the line I actually fixed the counters, but it was a rush job and I didn’t apply enough coats of varnish. However, the benches were in better shape than the table by the time I decided to do a full scale refinish here in Colorado.

The finish is a 1-2 punch consisting of epoxy sealer and marine varnish. Since the wood was in such bad shape and I didn’t want a high gloss finish, two additional products were added to the lineup. In other words, the goal is to use epoxy to seal the wood fibers and essentially make them resistant to liquids. This provides a good base on which to build multiple coats of varnish. The varnish has a lot of solids and is made with very flexible resins that should have no problem stretching when the wood expands and contracts. The varnish also contains UV inhibitors that reduce deterioration of the finish itself while also protecting the underlying wood fibers.

What To Know About Cypress Wood

My product of choice for this step is West System Epoxy. I usually buy the gallon size Resin, the 205 Fast Hardener, and the pump set for convenient mixing. Epoxy is spread over the entire surface and inserted into the cracks with a putty knife. Then you can use something like an irrigation syringe to push more epoxy into the deeper holes. Quick tip: use masking tape underneath if the cracks go all the way through. This will prevent the epoxy from spilling onto the floor.

In the past, I used a product called Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). It worked incredibly well, penetrating deep into the wood fibers and sealing them completely and providing a good base for the varnish. But the stuff has an incredibly toxic smell. For this project, I did some more research and came across a zero VOC product called Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy. It is mixed and applied adequately and the smell is not unpleasant at all. But I found that it doesn’t seem to absorb as deeply as CPES although I can get better absorption with further acetone dilution. The product also took 5-6 days to cure. But once cured, the surface can be sanded smooth in preparation for varnishing.

I have been using Epifanes Marine Varnish for years on my outdoor projects. I even experimented with mixing it with oil for easy renewal of the exterior finish. I used it again with CPES on the Outdoor Bench. The stuff isn’t cheap, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a varnish better suited to outdoor life. I apply a total of 4-5 coats, the first few diluted 50% with mineral spirits. The last coat or two is diluted a little to 25%. Application is done with either a foam brush or a good quality natural bristle brush.

Best Finish For Cypress Outdoor Furniture

The regular Epifanes product is high gloss. And after 4-5 coats, we’re talking serious film! To give the piece a little more of a “relaxed” look, I like to apply two additional coats of Epifanes Wood Finish Matte. This thing is flat as flat and I love the look. I guess if you want a little more gloss, you can always mix this stuff with a high gloss product to get a sort of happy medium. I only have to leave it at about 10% to get the flow right.

Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living Cypress Point Ocean Terrace Outdoor Adjustable Height Bistro Table With Weatherstone Top

I will let you know about it. Now I live in a different climate with a full range of four seasons. I have a table that sits under an umbrella which should help reduce the exposure but won’t stop it completely. My goal and hope is that I won’t have to face this table more than every other year. But I will monitor the finish from time to time and keep you updated on its condition. But for now, I have an easy-to-clean table and counter set that we don’t mind eating off of. And with Spring in full force, that’s a wonderful thing!

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