Outdoor Finish

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Dress your outdoor woodwork for success

When it rains, it pours. So you put on a raincoat—or go inside. And when the snows come, you bundle up. Sunny? A pair of sunglasses and maybe some SPF lotion. But your outdoor furniture and other woodwork don’t have such luxuries. Those pieces rely on you to store them inside or undercover, and when that’s not practical, to apply and maintain a protective finish.

While no product will completely protect your projects from the rain, snow, and sun, choosing the right finish and applying it the right way is a critical opening gambit in the uphill battle of keeping your woodwork lasting long and looking beautiful. After all, the finish has to balance protection from the elements with an element of simplicity in both application and renewal. As you’ll see in the following pages, those finishes that offer better protection at the beginning can also be more difficult to maintain and refinish.

And maintaining an outdoor finish may be necessary, but it doesn’t have to be evil. The trick is picking the right finish, then knowing how and—just as importantly—how often to maintain that finish to protect your projects and keep your wood looking good season after season.

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