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Finishes

 

There are many types of finishes that can be applied to a completed outdoor project. This includes but is certainly not limited to paints, varnishes, oils and sealers to name a few. However, it is important to understand that all finishes essentially fall into one of two categories: surface and penetrating. The qualities and characteristics of each finish should be carefully considered before selecting a finish, if any, for your completed project. Some of these traits are detailed below:

 

Surface finish characteristics:

  • Lie on the surface of the wood.

  • Includes natural varnish, polyurethane, shellac, lacquer and oil or water base paints.

  • Overall thickness increases with each successive application.

  • Tend to take longer to apply; less forgiving

  • Will show signs of cracking, peeling and fading over time due to the damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

  • Offer high moisture resistance, durability and abrasion resistance.  

Penetrating finish characteristics:

  • Penetrate deep down into the pores of the wood and forms a finish that resides in the wood.

  • Includes tung oil, Danish oil, linseed oil, mineral oil and salad bowl oil.

  • Easily applied with a brush, roller, sprayer or wiped on with a clean cloth; more forgiving.

  • Durable and long-lasting yet are easy to repair with another application.

  • Most tend to darker the wood while highlighting the grain structure of the wood.

  •  Does not offer the abrasion resistance of a surface finish.

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