We are often asked what is ‘the best’ timber finishing product, usually meaning which option will maintain its finish for the longest period.
Any commitment to a natural product like clear finished timber (especially externally), is a commitment to a maintenance regime. As far as we are aware there are no ‘warranties’ with clear finished products like you might get for a regular paint finish. You see a lot of product descriptions like ‘long lasting’, ‘UV inhibitors included’, ‘maintains lustre for longer’, but never do you see ’10 year warranty’.
Why? I can’t be certain, but as an educated guess I would suggest it is because these types of finishes are particularly affected by how well they are protected, what orientation the surface faces, and what timber they are being applied to.
There are also many different types of clear finishing products. Some coat the surface, some soak into the surface, come are oil based, some water based, some even wax based. Many things to consider, and the advice of a suitably qualified designer, and informed supplier are imperative.
Perhaps it is personal preference but we have found externally, products that soak into the surface of the timber are more durable and result in a better finish than a ‘coating’ and are more likely to maintain the personality of the timber itself. Internally there is a little more leeway, but we still tend toward soaking finishes rather than applied coatings which are more prone to cracking and changing the appearance of the timber in our experience.
Plenty of things to consider that really do require professional advice. So if you are a DIY renovator be sure to advise who you are speaking to about all of the following: orientation, timber species, location (internal/ external/ protected/unprotected?) along with what aesthetic you are aiming for. All necessary and important elements to be resolved prior to selection.
Image to the left of our western red cedar folding garage door, yet to be finished with a cutek soaking oil product that will both protect the timber and create a beautiful deep lustre. As it is north facing a regular regime of maintenance will be required if the owners want to maintain the colour, otherwise the natural grey patina will result over time, also a nice look in our opinion :)