Care and Finish
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 after a few years. 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 quickly.
Recommended way to keep your furniture looking great and lasting longer: Although Forever Redwood can be left to do its thing in the year round weather, we don't recommend it. There are simple steps you can take to keep your set looking its best for decades. Occasional cleaning will always spruce things up. Hose down and wipe it down with a rag and bucket of water. If you are cleaning a large pergola, use a soft brush first and then a wipe down with a rag to clean deeper.
Note: Do not power wash your furniture or shade structure and do not use soap or chemicals. A rag and a bucket of water is all you need. You will be surprised at how much grime accumulates on your furniture and shade structure outdoors. Once you have wiped it as clean as you can, let it air out and then take a good look at the finish. We recommend you reseal your exposed surfaces after the first winter. For example, the tabletop and bench tops of your picnic table. Or the posts and perimeter timbers of your pavilion.
If the finish and wood are not as supple and consistent as it once was, add another coat of sealant by hand by rubbing it in with a rag (see below for how best to do it). The secret to longevity outdoors for wood is to keep the wood supple and not let it get too dry and brittle over the years (or too wet if in contact with the ground).
Best practice to keep your Forever Redwood stuff looking fabulous: Regardless of where you live, if you want to keep her looking her Sunday best, front load the re-sealing of your piece. Best practice is to add another coat of sealant within a year. In dry climates, do so after half a year or so. For covered pavilions and gazebos, reseal only the exterior or the posts that are near the roof’s edge. The rest is out of the weather and needs little resealing. For tables and benches just seal the exposed surfaces. No power washing, no sanding - just take a glance at your wood’s finish: If it shows signs of drying out, add a coat of sealant. If you follow this best practice, you will add 2 coats in the first 2 years and your piece will look new with a supple surface. After the first 2 years, the wood will be sealed up tight and will require much less resealing in future years. Be kind to your pieces – hose down and wipe clean occasionally to get the grime off to show off the wood’s natural beauty.
Your order comes with a 4 oz bottle of sealant as part of your touch up kit. If you still have it, this should be enough for most furniture items. If you wish to buy more sealant, scroll down to Finish Options for where to buy online. Here are some other pointers to consider...
Here are some other pointers to consider...
After many years, if you want to refresh the finish completely, you can start over. If you let your finish fade for many years, you can refinish it back to brand new again anytime. To keep the work simple, we recommend you wash it per the instructions above and reseal it. If it looks dull, give it a day and add a second coat of sealant and this should result in a darker finish but with a lovely deep satin look.
If you prefer to make the finish look like when it was first purchased, you can sand down the item and start afresh. All Forever Redwood furniture is substantially over sized. You can sand it without losing hardly any of the massive girth of the timbers if you want to make the finish just like when you first purchased it.
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. 2 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 2 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 2 coat finish should keep the surface color looking great for 2 years (depending on local conditions). When finished, burn the rag carefully (you do not want to store it - may self combust!).
We use only the Sikkens brand of sealants for best results. For the exact sealants we use for each wood grade, please see Finish Options below.
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 is not compromised by surface color changes. We are often asked how the surface color will change if the wood is not refinished and allowed to gray.
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:
How to get rid of Carpenter Bees:
FINISH CHANGES OVER TIME - PHOTO GALLERY:
Below are a couple photos sent by customers of their items after being out years without maintenance:
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:
FINISH AND WHERE TO GET SEALANT ONLINE:
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.
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 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 a 2 to 3 year finish in most year round weather.
After thorough fine sanding, we apply a total of 2 coats of the Sikkens Proluxe Cetol Log and Siding Stain.
We the 072 Butternut semi-transparent finish for all wood grades.
We hand-rub the 3 coats and allow at least 6 hours to dry and cure between coats for optimum results.
The rag used to apply the finish is an extreme fire hazard and should always be burned and never stored.
You can purchase the finish online at:
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".
We also offer the Transparent Premium Sealant with the following stains. There is a small charge for adding these stains because it increases the total amount of coats to 4 with the sealant as the final coats:
|Transparent||Cherry Stain||Coffee Stain||Black Premium Stain||White Wash|
TIGER STRIPE EFFECT:
Douglas-Fir when stained dark creates a "tiger stripe" effect as shown in this photo. It is beautiful and most customers love it. If you are looking for a dark consistent stain and do not want to see a “tiger stripe effect”, please go with any of the Redwood grades for a more consistent stain finish.
PRIMERS AND PAINTS:
Off-White Oil-Based Primer: If you are painting a light color. We apply two coats so that it is ready for one final coat.
Gray Oil-Based Primer: If you are painting a darker color. We apply two coats so that it is ready for the final coat.
Custom Paint Finish (go to BenjaminMoore.com): Have Forever Redwood paint your order any color you like. We prefer to use Benjamin Moore paints because they make excellent quality products and offer a huge selection of paints and colors to choose from.
First select the type of paint you want: Benjaminmoore.com
Then click the colors tab and choose from the almost endless amount of colors offered.
Just select the Custom Paint finish option and in the Comment box enter the type of paint and the name and number of the color you would like. We will confirm your custom paint request within 24 hours of receiving your order and we will order the paint for you and apply per the specified directions. You only need to let us know the type of paint and the color name and number and we will do the rest.
Sometimes customers mention that the sealant seems to be staining their hardscape or dripping on the furniture or shade structure a little. This can be caused by the tannins in the wood.
The tannins can push out some of the sealant and create staining issues.
If this is happening for you, it has a simple low cost solution.
The stains can be cleaned off the hardscape with a diluted bleach solution, but to make sure it never happens again, it is best to also buy a 4 oz packet of Oxalic Acid and mix it in a gallon of water. You can pick it up online for less then $20. Where protective gear. You don't want to get this on your skin or face.
Spray it over all the surfaces with a handheld pump sprayer and leave it on for 20 minutes. Then hose it off completely. Do not leave it on or it will bleach the finish.
It is a one time treatment for the occasional installation that it happens to. The tannins are the same chemical that makes the wood decay and bug resistant. Sometimes, it also creates stains and this is the solution.
DOES YOUR FURNITURE OR SHADE STRUCTURE HAVE MOISTURE CHECKS?:
The big 8x8 and 10x10 timbers are hard to fully dry to 12% moisture because of their girth. They dry on the surface but the inside moisture takes years. Once they start to fully dry, sometimes you get some checking like in the photo because the moisture has to get out. It is nothing to worry about. It is not a structural issue. Normally takes up to a year after installation to fully dry the larger timbers. If your structure develops a couple of checks like this just send us a couple photos so we can see what is going on and offer some solutions. For structures that have been out a long time and have been neglected (never resealed...), a good washing and resealing goes a long way.
In the section below, you can see easy to follow instructions to make the surface checks disappear in most cases completely. If you don't want to tackle it and prefer our team to do the work, we can give you a quote to refinish your order anytime.
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 carpenter'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 TiteBond3 - 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.
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 smooths 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.