Outdoor Furniture Finish

All finishes are temporary in outdoor exposures. But here are some suggestions for the more durable alternatives. September 18, 2012

I've made some outdoor furniture from white oak and need a recommendation for a durable finish (not opaque). I have some Sikkens SRD, but that seems to get mixed reviews.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Just tried some spar varnish for indoors. Looks durable but outside is plenty brutal here. What' s toughest, I wonder?

From contributor R:
I make Adirondack chairs and do brightwork on boats. I hate Cetol! I use a tung oil/phenolic resin varnish. Cetol makes all wood look like plastic (or something worse). If you want some nice looking wood, try the to/pr varnish. This year I'm going to try a couple of the WB varnishes and see how they compare.

From contributor R:
ML Campbell's Euro X is the best that I have seen for outdoors. It's a 2 part polyurethane. Beware - it's expensive.

From contributor P:
Epifanes varnish is good stuff. #1 in Fine Woodworking's exterior finish test a few years ago. Not really production-friendly, though. Takes multiple coats (3-6), dries slowly and is prone to run.

From contributor Y:
There's not much you can do. Everything out there lasts only 1.5 years at max. Unfinished, let it grey properly. Otherwise in a year it will be half grey, half warm colored... and twice as ugly. Best outdoor furniture I've seen yet that imparts fine building practices and technique is the recycled plastics. They're making a ton of cash and look halfway decent.

From contributor O:
ICA has an excellent nano-technology exterior system. It's a two or three part system. An impregnating agent and topcoat or intermediate and then topcoat. There's also an additive for extra UV protection. While nothing will stand up to a harsh environment forever, we just did a test for a client in an accelerated environmental camber and the results were very good.