FAQ - Caring for and Maintaining Your Furniture
- Any suggestions on the wood type, sealant, etc. given the close proximity to the ocean?
- Build with our Mature Redwood at least. It has a 20 year decay warranty.
- Ask for an extra coat of hand rubbed sealant. Just add a note at checkout in the comment box that you live by the ocean and need an extra coat of sealant.
- You will want to hose down and wipe clean with a rag the table’s most exposed surfaces every few months. Will take 10 minutes to do. No power washing, no chemicals, no soaps - just water and a rag and a bucket of water. Remove the salt build up regularly.
- Every year or two, after cleaning, see if the surface is looking dry. If it is, take 20 minutes or so and add another coat of sealant with a rag and rub it in to the areas most in need. Under the table and benches for example will need resealing much less than the table and bench tops.
Hi There - so i'm starting to look around for a round picnic table with attached benches (which i see you have on your website) for our patio that I've been wanting for awhile. Clearly this is an outdoor table but we live at the beach in Del Mar, CA and I wasn't sure how well it would hold up even with sealant. Any suggestions on the wood type, sealant, etc. given the close proximity to the ocean?
Thank you for your email.
For oceanside installations we recommend 4 steps to make sure it lasts 20 years or more:
The key is to remove the salt build up regularly and to reseal the wood as needed so it stays supple. If you do this it will last decades. If not, the salts will dry out even the fantastic quality Redwood and make the table brittle and unfriendly to the touch in less than a decade.
Please let me know if I can do anything else.
Here is more detail on Care and Finish:
- Can the wood be sealed with a polyurethane coat?
Can the wood be sealed with a polyurethane coat? Not anything too shiny so the furniture does not lose its natural beauty, but rather protect it from wet glasses, towels, etc.?
Yes. The way to do it is to use a marine spar varnish. Use 2 coats and leave a little bit of the wood unsealed (at the bottom) so that it can breathe. You'll have to sand the table and then apply the varnish at the rate of one coat per day. After it sits for 24 hours, you lightly scratch the previously applied surface and clean the dust off. Then apply the second coat. The next day you do it again and you're done. It doesn't take but a few minutes to apply the varnish. Don't put it on thick—thin is best. When you buy the varnish you can ask the hardware/paint store person for last-minute instructions. Then once every 2 years, you'll have to scratch the surface a bit and add one more coat. It will stay perfect forever if you do that.
- Can You Make Furniture Covers
I would love a nice fitted cover with my outdoor table and chairs, can you do this?
Yes we can. Please go to Sunbrella Central and look over the outdoor fabric section. Let me know which fabric you'd like to use for the covers. Usually the outdoor furniture fabrics are best for chairs; the awning fabrics are too coarse to sit on. I'll then ask our in-house seamstress to calculate time and materials and get back to you via email with an estimate. Alex, our seamstress, has made some beautiful covers with elastic so they fit snugly over the furniture.
- Can Your Furniture Be Left Outside Year Round?
Typical patio furniture that you find in "big box" stores is usually made of pine, fir or other wood species that do not hold up well unprotected in outdoor weather. By contrast, our redwood tables can sit in the weather year round and last for decades without maintenance. Our "Forever Redwood" furniture is guaranteed for eight to thirty years (depending on the grade of wood used) against wood decay from weather exposure. Read more about the grades of wood that we offer.
- Does The Furniture Have Or Develop Splinters?
Every board in every item we build is thoroughly planed, routered, sanded, and sealed. The furniture is smooth to the touch and splinter-free. It is rare that a splinter will develop, but if one ever does, it is easily remedied by breaking it off and taking a few seconds to lightly sand any rough edge by hand (use 80 or 100 grit paper—redwood sands easily).
- How Do I Keep My Furniture Looking New?
I bought a 5 foot 8 person seat picnic table from you in 2008. I have washed the table and seat tops with diluted deck cleaner and sanded down the rough grain with 220 grit sand paper. What kind of treatment can I apply to the surfaces to darken the light tan wood a little bit and restore seeing the nice grain better?
If you have it sanded, at this juncture you just need to add the sealant.
If you go to the footer menu on any page on our website, www.foreverredwood.com, just click the link that says Care and Finish. This link gives you more info than you probably want, but it includes a how to video and a link to where to get the sealant.
I have a question about finishing. I have a client that used redwood for his decking. It looked beautiful. He had put some kind of sealer on it. It didn't take long before it turned a gray color. When it rains it looks beautiful again. Also where the sun does not hit, it stays the natural color. He wants to purchase redwood furniture but is afraid that it will turn gray. What can he put on the deck so it does not turn gray? Also does your furniture turn the gray look after awhile?
All wood left outdoors will eventually gray. It's a factor of UV exposure, pollution and oxidation. Being outside year round is rough on the wood's finish. The wood's surface slowly oxidizes and absorbs UV rays, pollution and moisture resulting in the surface color changing towards a silver patina over time. The silver patina is surface deep only (less than 1/100") and is not indicative of decay. Your furniture will last for decades and is not compromised in any way by the natural surface color change. We keep some of our display items year after year without refinishing them to show off the finish's natural aging. (We like the silvering effect!)
?To help keep your furniture looking new, after the winter season's snow or wet season, take a few minutes to spruce up your set. We clean our display items in spring by hosing them down and taking a minute to brush them off (no soap or chemicals are needed).
Depending on the sealant chosen, you can slow the process of the surface color fading. The premium sealant we use will last four years. Once it has faded, you can refinish it without much effort by power washing carefully and then resealing. This will remove all the built-up oxidation, pollution and UV burning on the surface. It will also strip away the old sealant layers on the set and allow you to start fresh. Stripping the sealant lets the wood absorb the new coat deeper into the wood. Otherwise, the old sealant "seals" the surface making new coats superficial.
Power washing will take 15-20 minutes for a set of table and chairs. It is a surface-only job. You'll be amazed at the results. A power washer at the tool rental shop is inexpensive. Rent it for the minimum time. While taking it back to the store, the furniture will air dry.
After the power washing, take one sheet of 100 or 120 grit sandpaper and lightly sand any areas the power washer may have roughed up a bit or lifted the grain. The sanding will take 5 minutes by hand. Then add a new coat of sealant. Do it on a dry sunny day and your set will look like new again. You can repeat this process every few years until you're too old to bother...
You can choose from just about any stain or sealant you like because redwood takes well to most. The ol' linseed oil and turpentine mix is never a bad way to go—the wood loves it; the weakness is the finish fades in months. There are many products on the market to choose from. It is best to use stain colors that are as dark or darker than the color of your wood. For further information about the sealants and specific colors we use, please read our Finish Options & Furniture Care page.
We would like to re-stain our RORY'S GIANT PLAYGROUND. Do you sell the finishing stain that made it looks so good when we purchased it? ie: The photo first in line of the little photos of the three girls, standing on the swings looking back at the camera-:) Our three girls. Any discount for using that pic for these many years--:)? Just asking, ha. LOVE the pic by they way if I do say so myself!
GREAT swing set too---just a great part of the growing up years.
Good to hear from you. Yes, your picture adds a lot to the Rory's page. It is my favorite photo in all of our swing section.
To get the swing looking new, you will need an orbital sander. They are less than $50. A couple packs of sandpaper - one 80 grit and one either 150 or 220 grit.
Sand the swing at 80 grit. Will take a few hours to get a lot of the grime and old sealant off. No need to do it 100% everywhere. Just do the most visible spots a bit more thoroughly and the less visible spots lightly. Then go over all the sanding again with the 150 or 220 fine sandpaper. This part goes a lot faster. Should be able to smooth out any sanding lines left by the rougher sanding in an hour or so.
For all our wood grades, we use what we believe to be the best wood outdoor sealant on the market. It is a penetrating oil finish that applied correctly should give you at least a 3 year finish in almost any year round weather. After thorough fine sanding, we apply one coat of the Sikkens Proluxe Cetol 1 RE Exterior Stain, 077 Cedar and allow up to 24 hours for drying and curing. Then we handrub with a rag Sikkens Proluxe Cetol 23 Plus RE Exterior Topcoat, 077 Cedar as the second coat and allow it to also dry and cure for 24 hours for optimum results. Another coat of the Proluxe Cetol 23 is then handrubbed for the third and final coat. The rag used to apply the finish is an extreme fire hazard and should always be burned and never stored. You can purchase the finishes online at:
The first coat will take the longest. Rub it in with a rag. Wear gloves. Let it sit 4 hours to cure. Second coat will take less than half the time of the first coat. It is adding depth and filling in areas that drank up all the sealant on coat 1. Allow 4 hours to cure again. Then do a third coat. Will take even less time than the second coat but will bring out the depth of the satin finish and will seal up any areas that still drank up the sealant after 2 coats to give you an even finish.
Make sure to do the sealing on a dry warm day for the best clearest finish. Rub in the finish and do not leave any streaks or drops. I like to do it by adding a bit to the can lid and using that supply until it dries up and repeating. If you dip the end of the rag into the gallon it will drip everywhere.
Sikkens is the best product on the market. Do not use anything other than this if you want it to look just like it did in year 1.
Have fun. I love refinishing my stuff. Will look brand new and you should only use about 1/3rd of the gallon. Keep the lid on it tight and it will be fine to use again in 2 to 3 years.
- My New Redwood Furniture Has Stained The Concrete Patio. Help!
- You can remove the staining with fresh lime juice,
- or with a diluted bleach solution,
- or with a mild solution of trisodium phosphate or other detergent and water.
Every once in a while -it doesn't happen often, maybe once or twice a year- we have a customer report that their planter box, shower bench, or other redwood furniture has stained their concrete or tile. The reason this happens has to do with the natural tannins in the redwood, via a process called "extractive bleeding." It can happen with just about any wood, but is especially noticeable with cedar and redwood.
Redwood derives its durability and weather-resisting qualities from these naturally occurring chemicals, so in a sense, it's a good sign! But unfortunately, the tannins can easily dissolve in water and cause the staining issue—and we have no way of predicting when it will happen.
The good news is, there is a solution (actually, a few):
If the stains are not removed and are permitted to oxidize, they can become darker in color. If that happens, you might need to remove them by scrubbing them with a soft (non-wire) brush in a 50% solution of alcohol and water. (If you are dealing with staining on grout, a slightly stronger bleach solution may be required.) It will take a few applications to fully take care of the problem. A couple weeks after the first application, the staining will likely return. You'll have to remove it again and it will return a second time, but less so. Remove again and it may return a third time, but much less so… then it will be over, as the extractive bleeding has run its course.
- What Do I Do About Cracking?
There are several options in how to handle this rare occurrence. Please see the bottom of our Finish Options & Furniture Care page for more information.
- Sap Is Oozing From My Newly Made Redwood Furniture. Help!
Sap oozing is how air dried wood adjusts to its new home's humidity levels. It would take someone with a blade less than 5 minutes to go over the areas with sap and cut them away. Then go over it with turpentine to remove the gumminess. It may return in some or most spots since you have only had your furniture out for a few weeks. May continue but in lesser and lesser amounts until it is actually gone away and it will never return again. The only way we can be certain it will not happen is to kiln dry the wood at 160 degrees. We don't like to do this because it actually slightly damages the integrity and overall quality of the wood. So we air dry instead and use our kiln only at lower temperatures. It has to dry at 160 degrees to set the sap so it will not move and we just think the long term decay resistance of the wood and its structural strength are more important. This is the honest tradeoff for the occasional sap issue you are facing.