I’m going crazy going down the rabbit hole of clear wood finishes for outdoor use.
The stain in my barn aisle, on the wall and the stall fronts, was poorly applied to begin with and wearing badly, so I sanded. All of it.
I’m to the point where I’m ready to seal it. I was just going to use something like waterseal. I have a coat on some boards and I’m not sure I like it.
Googling around, I see that there are the coatings, like spar or poly, that sit on top of the wood. These apparently need lightly sanded and recoated with some regularity (every few years) or they will crack and peal and require sanding down to the wood. That doesn’t sound awesome, but I like how smooth and shiny they look.
There are also penetrating oils, that soak in, and these need refreshing maybe yearly but are overall easier on the maintenance front. That maintenance looks far more reasonable.
I’m not interested in staining anything or painting, I like the brightness of the natural wood, but I do want to protect it, waterproof it, and hopefully prevent UV wear. I think I need a oil based product, because the water in the waterseal is raising the grain of the wood, and I worked really damned hard to get that smooth. I guess it also needs to dry pretty quickly–I’m taking apart stalls to treat the wood, and horses have to go back into them by evening. Oh, if it’s not eleventy gazillion dollars, that would also be nice. Some of the finishes I’m reading about are eye wateringly costly, wow.
For those that have treated or finished wood in your barn aisle, what have you used? How do you like it, and what sort of maintenance has it required?