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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Exterior stain seal

    My normal gig is 8 hours north of where I am at now so I am at my wits end with a problem here. I am working so close to the border of Mexico I can throw a rock and hit it almost. It is very dry and arid here which is so much different than my home town.

    I am working on a hunting lodge and I took over phase three. In the first two phases the stain that was spec'd was Sikkens. It lasted a year before it started peelling. These walls get 6-7 hours of direct sunlight. The ones that dont get as much the Sikkens is fine.

    This phase they suggested using Man O War marine spar varnish. On phase three I have a wall that get sun all day long. 8 months later it is starting to peel. I would like to have a solution before phase 4 starts. The painter and painter vendor have said that the marine spar varnish is about as durable as I can get for down here.

    Just wanted to see what you guys think or maybe get some ideas from arid climate pros.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Portland, OR
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    2,453

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Sunlight doesn't usually cause peeling, especially if what you are using is indeed a stain . . . for the reason that there is no surface film to peel in a penetrating stain. What are the surfaces that are being coated? I suspect the materials were not arid-country dry before they were coated and that the coating was not sufficiently vapor permeable to let out the moisture being baked out from within.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Which Sikkens product was used? They have various products for different applications. Is it actually peeling (so you can pull a layer off with your fingers), or is it just getting splotchy and worn looking from wear?

    Have you spoken with someone from Sikkens?

    My only experience with Man O War is on a railing - it's lasted 10+ years in the shade with a new coat every year.

    If you go with a marine spar, there are better (and more expensive) ones on the market than Man O War (not to say it isn't good). You'd need to contact a marine supply. These finishes are designed for boat building.

    Also, in my experience, any sort of varnish or penetrating oil will need constant maintenance in the conditions you describe. There may be a product out there I don't know about, but I'd expect to refinish something like that every few years at the max.
    Last edited by S.Joisey; 01-05-2012 at 01:44 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    It is stain I am using but it is coated with marine spar varnish to seal it. The varnish is what is peeling and not the stain.

    The Sikkens iirc (been a while since I have seen it used) is a mix of stain and sealer applied 2 or maybe three part.

    The wood we are using is quarter sawn yellow pine and it was acclimated for 3 solid months before it was installed. Mainly becasue it was a special order item and I didnt want to have to wait for it.

    Also,the reason I believe it is the sunlight is because it is only happening on the walls that get sun. The wood is stable and not warping and there are no knots at all in this house except in the framing. The wood being quarter sawn makes it much more stable and less likely to absorb moisture. IE, quarter sawn white oak will will hold whiskey "water tight" in a wooden barrel. I know pine isnt as good as white oak, but the rules still apply.

    A picture would help but I have never posted one on JLC and dont know how. If you or someone else can help me there it may help with the problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Quote Originally Posted by S.Joisey View Post
    Which Sikkens product was used? They have various products for different applications.

    Have you spoken with someone from Sikkens?

    My only experience with Man O War is on a railing - it's lasted 10+ years in the shade with a new coat every year.

    If you go with a marine spar, there are better (and more expensive) ones on the market than Man O War (not to say it isn't good). You'd need to contact a marine supply. These finishes are designed for boat building.
    Agreed, When I got the spec I checked on the Man O War and found out it was for boats building too. In fact it even says on the label that you can use it on boats.The vendor says he has one that MAY be better but it was just preference to his painters.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Just went through my old emails and the Sikkens they used before was the Sikkens Cetol. It is two part according to that email. Never have used it myself but have seen it once or twice way back and I wasnt here when they did the other.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    2,453

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    OK, you have three things at work there - the wood, the stain, and the varnish, and the combination is affected by the sun. I suspect a bonding or chemical problem between the stain and the varnish. If the stain was oil or alkyd based it stays oily and/or water repellant generally until all the carrier is fully absorbed then evaporated. If varnish was put over relatively fresh stain the varnish probably never bonded well. Better varnish may not make any difference. One would be better off sticking with a single product line and finding a stain and a top coating that are recommended for use together. You may not find such a thing, because stains are not intended to be top coated.

    IMHO, the real problem is the concept of putting a varnish over a stain in an exterior application

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Peabody, MA
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    142

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    I don't know if it is feasible but my experience has been that stain/stain varnish is a very poor protectorant of exterior surfaces. All the stained red cedar shingled houses I see suffer from curling and cracking whereas painted shingles hold up beautifully. Try to talk them into some sort of paint they can live with.
    Ron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Quote Originally Posted by R James S View Post
    I don't know if it is feasible but my experience has been that stain/stain varnish is a very poor protectorant of exterior surfaces. All the stained red cedar shingled houses I see suffer from curling and cracking whereas painted shingles hold up beautifully. Try to talk them into some sort of paint they can live with.
    Ron
    Yes, that is the 24 dollar question. I posed this to the archys as well as my paint sub way back when. On this job my painter had to do exactly 84 different samples and send them the 4 hours to Austin where his office is. It was a nightmare. The paint isnt the only thing I had trouble with them on picking either.

    On 2800 sqaure foot hungting lodge I have had over 134 ASIs. For instance I have had a 121.3 ASI and others too.

    On a 900 sqaure foot gun house there were 37 ASIs.

    Total RFIs were only 46 for both so it wasnt my fault for that many.

    So I really want to just tell them what they need instead of going through that again if possible.

    My painter told them there would be an issue but they didnt listen. But it is my resposiblity to make it work even if they cant. I am at wits end on this.

    Do you have any ideas or brands? I know Paint is not an option with the quarter sawn wood. It would null all the money the owner spent on it and it was a lot.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Architect View Post

    IMHO, the real problem is the concept of putting a varnish over a stain in an exterior application
    Sounds right to me.

    The spar will peel if not bonded properly.

    Sikkens specs not to use any other product over it. I tend to think whatever spar you put over it will not hold.

    I'd remove the old finish and start over.

    Once you get the spar off, it might be easier to stay with Sikkens. I've not used Cetol, but you might be able to re-coat without stripping all the way to bare wood. If you switch products, you'll likely have to start with bare wood.

    Just my experience, but I'd prefer a penetrating oil to a spar varnish for something like this. When the oil ages, it just looks a bit worn until you re-coat. A varnish can really look shabby - peel, let water underneath through pin holes, etc. Then when you put another coat on, you see the shabbiness under the top coat.

    Since you are in a challenging situation, I'd contact the manufacturer and find out from them if their product is appropriate.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    To post pics:

    Click "post reply" to start your post.
    At the bottom of the page below "Additional Attachments" is a "manage attachments" button. Click it.
    It takes you to a page where you can choose the files you want to download. Two pics per post.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    3,599

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    It's the sun acting on the varnish and causing it to peel. I've seen it before in full sun applications here in Chicago: I can't imagine the additional intensity that far South.

    You need product with the maximum UV additives you can find. Water is not the problem, the sun is. In fact nothing may work under those conditions. It would be advisable to talk to the manufacturer of any product you are considering and get their advice beforehand. You may need to recoat every year or two regardless.

    What you may need is a different concept. Something that wears off without the possibility of peeling. It sounds cheesy and low-tech, but maybe the waxy spray-on clear deck sealers, like Thompsons, might work, and plan on respraying every year.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Sikkens isn't what is used to be. The low VOC regulations have really hurt the product as far as I am concerned. Back when is was the Cetol 123, stain, and two top coat system, it was pretty good. Now they have a hybrid product, Log and Siding or something like that. It is a low VOC product, the dealer told me to use Jap Dry in it to get it to dry.

    I have a house with 5000 sf of exposed Doug fir decking (inverted) all done with Sikkens. because of the low VOC laws, I recommend you suggest paint to the architect.
    "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

    Sir Frances Drake

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nacogdoches Texas
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    89

    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Quote Originally Posted by S.Joisey View Post
    Sounds right to me.

    The spar will peel if not bonded properly.

    Sikkens specs not to use any other product over it. I tend to think whatever spar you put over it will not hold.

    I'd remove the old finish and start over.

    Once you get the spar off, it might be easier to stay with Sikkens. I've not used Cetol, but you might be able to re-coat without stripping all the way to bare wood. If you switch products, you'll likely have to start with bare wood.

    Just my experience, but I'd prefer a penetrating oil to a spar varnish for something like this. When the oil ages, it just looks a bit worn until you re-coat. A varnish can really look shabby - peel, let water underneath through pin holes, etc. Then when you put another coat on, you see the shabbiness under the top coat.

    Since you are in a challenging situation, I'd contact the manufacturer and find out from them if their product is appropriate.
    I would agree with the Sikkens but that was used on the first phases with nothing on top and it still peeled. Thats why the re-spec to this and it is a worse application.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    Default Re: Exterior stain seal

    Quote Originally Posted by mreynolds View Post
    I would agree with the Sikkens but that was used on the first phases with nothing on top and it still peeled. Thats why the re-spec to this and it is a worse application.
    So the Sikkens peeled too? That's a real problem-sounds like a problem with the wood.

    Ted's right about the low VOC regs. Takes forever to dry, as with most oils. I've had a paint dealer tell me we'll be seeing less and less oil based finishes as a result of the regs.
    Last edited by S.Joisey; 01-06-2012 at 07:29 AM.

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