Your Forever Redwood Furniture will last for decades in year-round weather without maintenance. Depending on the wood grade you choose, under harsh year-round outdoor conditions, you can expect your furniture to last from ten to forty years without maintenance.
Being outside year round is rough on any wood’s finish. The surface absorbs UV rays, pollution, constant variations in moisture and temperature and it also oxidizes. This is why most wood just doesn’t hold up and the surface color slowly changes towards a silver patina as the finish fades. But, with Forever Redwood, you don’t have to worry about replacing your set. Redwood is the most decay resistant wood that grows in North America and we use the best sealant on the market to keep the gorgeous natural wood tones from fading for several years.
If you do allow your set's finish to eventually fade, the silver patina is only surface deep (less than 1/64") and your wood will not decay. Your set will last decades and is not compromised in any way by surface color changes. We are often asked how the surface color will change if the wood is not refinished and allowed to gray. Here is a photo sent by one of our customers of a Heritage Bench that had been out 4 years without maintenance:
The finish has not been retouched in 10 years (built in 2005 and photographed in 2015)
Although Forever Redwood is maintenance-free, there are steps you can take to keep your set looking its best for decades. Occasional cleaning will always spruce things up a bit. Hose down and/or brush away accumulated debris. No soap or chemicals are needed. You can also...
Touch up Kit included with each order: In the unlikely event your set arrives with a scratch or you add a scratch or two at some point, we include a touch up kit with each shipment so you can eliminate most marks in less than 5 minutes. Lightly sand - 10 to 15 strokes by hand over the affected area will usually take care of most minor scratches or finish issues in a couple minutes. Sanding smoothes out scratches or removes any stain or mark. Use the rougher 100 grit paper first, then dust off and go over the area a second time with finer 220 grit paper to remove the sanding lines and leave the surface finely sanded. Then dust off again and add a coat of the sealant with a rag over the sanded areas. Rub in for a few seconds and make sure to not let any streaks or drops form. Wait a couple hours and go over it again with a second coat of sealant. The newly sanded area may be lighter in tone. Once out in the weather for a few weeks, the color will even out.
How to keep your set looking perfect for decades: If you let your finish fade, you can refinish it back to brand new again anytime. For example, a typical bench takes 30 minutes to sand the most visible areas by hand. If you are a perfectionist and want to do every area thoroughly, figure 90 minutes. Sanding removes the accumulated pollution, UV surface burning and old sealant . You don't have to sand every nook and cranny to get great results. Just do the most visible surfaces. Use an 100 grit paper to roughly go over the areas quickly then a second time with 220 grit paper to remove the sanding lines and leave the surface finely sanded. You can sand by hand or with an orbital or vibrating sander. Redwood sands easily. Once finished, dust off and add sealant. 3 coats is what we apply. We do it on warm dry days only and allow 6 hours minimum between coats. Sealing adds oils back into the wood and leaves your set looking spectacular again. If you don't have time to do 3 coats, one coat followed by some touch up a few hours later yields a good result. We prefer to add the sealant with a rag for best results. A 3 coat finish should keep the surface color looking great for 2 to 4 years (depending on local conditions). A 1 1/2 coat finish will last about half that time. When finished, burn the rag carefully (you do not want to store it - may self combust!).
We prepped this 4 minute video to show how a couple hours of your time can turn any piece of Forever Redwood furniture that has been out in the weather for years back into a brand new piece again:
5 Wood Grades to Choose from:
Our 5 wood grades offers you a range of natural wood tones to choose from. If the natural tones don’t have the color you’d like, we have stain and color finishes to create the perfect match for your project:
|Click on the thumbnails below to see larger image:|
#1 Structural Select Grade (or better)
Mostly Open Grain
All Reclaimed Wood
Combination of the Other 4 Grades of Wood
All Reclaimed Wood
Unfinished - Order your furniture unfinished if you prefer the surface color to change to a silvered finish in a few months or if you need an exact stain match. It will ship with the natural wood polished to a fine to the touch 220 grit finish. Images of our wood swatches shown above are close approximations of how they look with the Transparent Premium Sealant applied. But, they are not exact color representations. Unfinished, the wood tends to be a bit lighter in color. If you need an exact stain match, it is best done on your end to avoid miscues. Most hardware stores can create custom stains. Just take a sample of what you’d like and they can mix a custom stain for you quickly. When you order, just ask us to send a couple samples and we'll get them right out to you.
Transparent Premium Sealant - Our recommended finish for most outdoor applications. We use Sikkens brand finishes because we believe it is the best in terms of appearance, wood protection and longevity. We apply 3 coats at least 6 hours apart for the best seal possible. Sikkens finishes hold the surface colors for 2 to 4 years and never peel or cause staining. It dries fast and penetrates the wood. The finished wood looks natural with a deep satin finish. It is not a urethane or spar varnish type of finish. The wood is left exposed so you can touch the finely sanded wood. It is as natural a finish as possible while adding the surface protection needed to stay looking beautiful in outdoor weather as long as possible.
After years of experimentation, we found the following products give our Redwood, Douglas-Fir and Mosaic Eco-Wood the best finish available on the market:
For all our Redwood grades, we use the Sikkens Proluxe Cetol DEK Finish, (077 Cedar semi-transparent stain). For Douglas-Fir and Mosaic Eco-Wood, we apply a 50/50 mix of Sikkens Proluxe Cetol DEK Finish (077 Cedar Semi-Transparent Stain) and Proluxe Cetol DEK Finish (045 Mahogany semi-transparent stain). We recommend hand rubbing with a rag for best results. Burn the rag after you are finished because it is a fire hazard to keep rags with distillates in any form. May self combust.
If you'd like your finish to last as long as possible, we recommend you order sealant and add one more coat 2 months after your set has been out in the weather in its new home. This way, the wood has had a chance to acclimate to its new environment and be ready for the final coat to give you the best longest lasting finish possible. With the extra coat, you can expect your finish to last 3 to 5 years in most climates without a need for touch up. Results vary based on local conditions, but it is our experience that Sikkens does make the best finishes on the market.
For more about Sikkens finishes, visit their website.
To purchase Sikkens, a reliable online supplier is Twin Creeks Home Supply.
For Douglas-fir, go to: http://www.twincreeksloghomes.com/cetol-dek-finish.html
For all the Redwood grades and the Mosaic Eco-Wood, go to: http://www.twincreeksloghomes.com/cetol-dek-finish.html.
If you want to pick up Sikkens locally, try the Sikkens locator link for the store nearest you: http://www.sikkens.us/en/locator/Pages/default.aspx
Eventually, even the best finish will fade. To restore your finish, please see section above titled "How to keep your set looking perfect for decades".
Stained Premium Sealant - Stained versions of our Transparent Premium sealant are available if you prefer another wood tone but want to keep the natural wood grain showing by not painting. We have two options:
Primer Finish - We can prep your order for painting with a two-coat oil primer finish in either Off-White (for light colors) or Gray (for darker colors).
With the Primer finish, your set arrives with two coats of oil-base primer fully absorbed into the furniture. This makes painting a one-coat process. Customers report the best results with a mini roller and two thin coats applied one day apart.
Wax Finish - For Indoor Furniture, we recommend a wax finish in most cases. We prefer a carnauba/bees wax blend with orange oil called "Howard’s Feed ’N Wax." It has a fresh orange/lemon smell for a few days after applying. We add a generous coating to all surfaces with no other finish. It is easy to keep the finish looking perfect by dusting with the same rag as needed and renew by adding a bit of wax to the same rag once every month or two. One old customer showed us the result of using "Howard's Feed ’N Wax" indoors for 25 years on a side table. The piece looked flawless. We’ve experimented with the same wax finish for covered patios and outdoors—it doesn’t work well because it needs to be reapplied too often outdoors. For best results, don’t mix with other waxes or finishes. A pint of "Howard’s Feed ’N Wax" is available online or at the paint department of Home Depot for under $8.
Small checks and cracks: Ignore, fix, or replace?: Redwood is ideal for outdoor furniture and structures. It will sit out in the year round weather for decades and remain structurally sound. But, like the old picnic tables in parks, wood furniture in year-round unprotected weather may eventually develop a surface and/or end check from the expansion and contraction caused by constant changes of temperature and moisture. You can minimize this from happening by resealing and refinishing your furniture every few years to keep the surface of the wood looking beautiful, oiled and not letting dry out and get brittle.
Over the years, if your redwood furniture develops a check or crack, it does not compromise the integrity or longevity of the furniture.
If your set develops a check lightly sand the spot by hand for a few seconds to smooth out the rough edge. Use 80 or 100 grit sandpaper for a few strokes to remove any rough edges and then finish with a fine 150 or 220 grit sandpaper to match the smooth surface finish (Redwood sands easily).
After many years out in the weather, if your set develops several relatively minor checks on the surface (light cracks that do not go thru the entire width of the board), there is an old capenter's trick to hide most or all of it:
- Sand the rough edges of the checks so they are smooth and the surface is smooth and flat again. Use 80 or 100 grit paper to sand down quickly and then go over it with finer 150 to 220 grit paper to get rid of the sanding line. Do not dust off. Instead, collect the sawdust into a small container (paper cup will do).
- Once you have sanded each check edge smooth, mix a couple tablespoons of a good quality wood glue with the sawdust (we like WoodTite2 or WoodTite3 - less than $5 for the smallest amount containers). Saturate the paste with as much sawdust as it will hold. Yes, will get your fingers a bit sticky...
- With the edge of a putty knife, or any hard edge - push the paste into the checks as deeply as you can. Do it a few times to make sure it is filled. Run over the edge of the check to wipe the excess and push the paste back into the checks until you are pretty sure you have filled all the checks. Wipe off the excess and let it dry a couple hours.
- Sand the area with the 220 grit paper. Dust off.
- If any of the checks did not fill in completely, repeat step 3 and 4 for those areas.
- Once the checks are filled and sanded, rub in some sealant to the sanded area. Go over a second and third time in the course of a minute or two to make sure you get as much in as possible. Let it sit a couple hours and then add another coat. Will be lighter in color than the rest of the piece, but the checks will be mostly gone and the surface will be smooth and level again. The color difference will fade out in the weather in a couple months. Sealant left on a rag is a huge fire hazard. It is best to carefully burn the used rag (you only need a tiny piece of an old t-shirt do this work - 6" x 6" is way more than enough).
- If you want your entire piece to match in color immediately, then please see section above titled How to Keep Your Set Looking Perfect for Decades.
If your old set has developed a significant check (wood has split thru completely), you can do one of 4 things:
- In most cases, it requires no attention at all for longevity’s sake. For example, we have over 2 dozen display items that have been out in the weather since the 1990's. In that time, some pieces have had a board or two develop a crack - so, it’s a rare occurrence. We recommend ignoring it in most cases. Consider it a sign of "character"…
- But, if your crack has a rough edge, take a few minutes to sand it smooth as mentioned above. After sanding, if you want the sanded area to match the rest of the furniture, see section above titled "How to Keep Your Set Looking Perfect for Decades".
- If the crack is significant or unattractive, you can send us a photo so we can make a replacement piece for you at minimal cost. Or,
- If you’re a handy person and want to dabble in making the crack "disappear", you can either talk with your local hardware person for a product recommendation specific to your climate, or you can use a two-part epoxy (or five minute or high strength epoxy) available at most hardware stores. You’ll need some masking tape and acetone (or nail polish remover that contains acetone). Clean around the crack and mask off the wood out two inches around the crack. Make sure the masking tape is right up on the edges of the crack. Place masking tape underneath the crack to keep the epoxy from falling out the bottom or back side. Mix the epoxy and fill the crack, rubbing it in with your fingers diagonally. BEFORE it has completely cured, remove the masking tape. Remove excess with acetone before it cures. Clean the epoxy off your fingers before it cures. Epoxy dries transparent and will last for many years.