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 very decay resistant 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. For example, we do not refinish our display items to show off this natural aging (we like the patina!).
Although Forever Redwood is maintenance-free, there are a 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...
Keep your set looking perfect for decades: If you let your finish fade, you can refinish it back to brand new again anytime. The best way is to lightly sand to get your furniture ready for re-sealing. 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 80 grit paper to roughly go over the areas quickly. Then, go over the sanded areas a second time with 150 or 220 grit paper to remove the sanding lines and leave the surface finely sanded. 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. 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 some 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 5 years (depending on local conditions). A 1 1/2 coat finish will last about half that time.
For best results, sand in the direction of the grain (same direction of the growth lines in the wood). For example, on a picnic tabletop, sand in the lengthwise direction of the boards. After sanding, apply the Sikkens brand of sealants for best results. For the exact sealants we use for each wood grade, please see Finish Options below.
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:|
| Old-Growth Redwood
| Mature Redwood
| Mosaic Eco-Wood
Combination of the Other 4 Grades
#1 Structural Select Grade (or better)
Mostly Open Grain
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 very 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 use three semi-transparent stains depending on wood grade. We apply 3 coats one day apart for the best seal possible in a short application time frame. Sikkens finishes hold the surface colors for up to 3 years and never peel or causes 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.
We use Sikkens Cetol DEK Finish for Redwood, Mature Redwood and Old-Growth Redwood. For Redwood and Mature Redwood we use the 077 Cedar semi-transparent stain and for Old-Growth Redwood we use the 078 Natural. We use Sikkens SRD Translucent Stain (085 Teak) for Douglas-fir and Mosaic Eco-Wood items. These sealant combinations bring out the richest colors for the 5 wood grades.
If you'd like your finish to last as long as possible, we recommend you order sealant and add one more coat 3 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 up 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 and Mosaic Eco-wood, go to: http://www.twincreeksloghomes.com/detail.aspx?ID=7D. For Redwood, Mature Redwood and Old-Growth Redwood, go to: http://www.twincreeksloghomes.com/detail.aspx?ID=17
Eventually, even the best finish will fade. To restore your finish, please see section below titled "Keep the Colors Looking Vibrant 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 four options:
Primer Finish - We can ship your order prepped for painting with our two-coat oil primer finish in either an Off-White (for light colors) or a 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 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 changes of temperature and moisture.
Over the many 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 crack or dent that has a rough edge, lightly sand the spot by hand for a few seconds to smooth out the rough edge. Use 100 grit sandpaper for a few strokes to remove any rough edges and then finish with a fine 220 grit sandpaper to match the smooth surface finish (redwood sands easily). After many years out in the weather, if your set develops a significant check, 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, one item had one board that developed a 4" long crack— so, it’s a rare occurrence. It happens because every once in a long while a board is used to build an item that has built-in stress due to the way the tree grew (the tree could have had a bit of a lean for example). These relatively rare stresses are invisible when the set is built and occasionally appear many years later in the form of a crack. 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, you can refinish the set (see "You can restore the original tones of your furniture in 15 minutes" above).
- If the crack is significant or is just 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.