FAQ - Finish Options
Are your planter boxes sealed?
Yes. Our premium sealant is Sikkens Cetol SRD 250. We use 2 coats inside and outside. You can also choose from a number of different finish options, including ordering your planter without interior treatment—just write us a note as you’re checking out, and we will not use our oil-based sealant inside the box. We will seal the box on the outside only. The planter box will not decay because it is high quality wood.
Can the furniture be painted?
Yes, redwood takes paint and stain well. But, it is not necessary to paint or stain the redwood to increase its durability. Redwood is extremely weather resistant. In other words, paint or stain only if you want your furniture to be a certain color.
If you prefer to stain your furniture, just order your set unfinished. If you would like to paint your furniture, you could choose from our primer options to make painting a quicker process, or order unfinished to apply your own primer coats. Read more about our finish options.
Can the wood be sealed with a polyurethane coat?
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 help me match the color of my furniture to the other furniture and decor in my home?
We can make just about any design and it can be stained to match other wood tones. If you have a teak table, for example, we can make a Redwood or Douglas-fir bench to match. However, the staining is best done at your end to make sure you get the finish you like.
Please do send the photos. I can then let you know if we can build what you need. Most hardware stores can match a stain color for you. Just take a sample of what you are trying to match up and they can mix it in a few minutes.
For more about Forever Redwood finish options, see our Finish Options & Furniture Care page.
How do I keep my furniture looking new?
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.
Is the Mature Redwood resistant to heavy salt air?
It will outlast you or I [Raul speaking, founder and CEO] or we’ll replace any part at no cost. The salt air will eat away at the finish after a few years. If you don’t refinish it every 3 or 4 years it will look beat up on the surface, but it will not decay— not for at least 20 years. If you refinish it a couple times per decade it will last almost indefinitely. You can learn more about how to easily refinish your furniture by going to our Finish Options & Furniture Care page.
Is there still an advantage to purchasing higher grade wood if I intend to paint?
If you’re looking for a painted furniture item, it’s less costly to order in the Redwood grade. Most of the additional beauty of the Mature Redwood and Old-Growth Redwood grades is not noticed by the naked eye once a piece is painted.
Choosing one of the primer options seals the wood completely which adds additional protection from the elements. If you live in a moist climate (East Coast or Pacific Northwest), the primer option and painting allows the Redwood grade to last longer in the year round weather and probably extend its life well beyond the 15-year decay warranty period.
The Mature and Old-Growth Redwood grades will always hold up longer either primered or not in moist year-round weather conditions because of the greater decay resistance inherent in the wood grades. But, if you take the time to paint again completely your furniture every 5 to 7 years (especially all parts close to or in contact with the soil), this will reseal any parts where the paint may have worn off and help your Redwood grade furniture last a couple decades or more in harsh and/or moist year-round conditions.
Is your sealant toxic? I want to grow veggies.
It is an oil-based sealant, so what we normally do for food growers is to seal the planter box on the outside and leave the inside untreated. It will not decay because it is high quality Redwood. If you plan on growing food, just let us know when you place your order.
Should I order unfinished or with a sealant?
If you like the grayish "old" surface color to develop as quickly as possible, order the set "unfinished". But, if you go with the standard sealant, it will still eventually go grey also—it will just take longer.
The sealant will have the added advantage of keeping the wood sealed from the elements. Redwood is naturally very decay resistant and will easily last in any climate without the sealant as you are contemplating. But, without sealant, the wood will dry out in a few months during the dry season and possibly develop a few more surface cracks than if you ordered it with the sealant.
Faster graying and faster drying without the sealant is the only real difference. There is no extra charge for ordering any of our furniture with the standard sealant.