Cabot SPF deck sealer

lakemayorMay 31, 2007

I used Cabot SPF 36 (which stands for how many months it will look great) last summer. By early spring it was peeling off. I am just sick. So much work. I followed the directions on the can completely. Prepared my deck by powerwashing and cleaning with bleach/soap and water and rinsed thoroughly. Has anyone had experience with the product?

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I had a similar experience with my new Ipe deck which was stained with Cabot's SPF 48 in August 2005. The instrutions were followed completely and the deck looked great until the first snowfall that December. After the snow melted the deck started to peel. I had to have the entire deck sanded the next spring. Very expensive. I left the vertical surfaces of the railings in SPF as they didn't peel and used Australian Timber Oil on the decking. I have been told by a senior person at Cabot that for the SPF to last the deck should really be sanded before cleaning and application of the product. I reapplied the SPF just to the horizontal toprail of the railing and it seems to be holding up although there are a few small spots where it peeled. I doubt that Cabot will officially admit that SPF requires sanding before application as that makes it much more labor intensive for a homeowner to apply. I considered taking them to small claims court but was advsed by an attorney that they were protected by their limited liability disclaimer. I like the ATO, as peeling is not an issue but it needs to be reapplied yearly.

I also had a small T&G Ipe covered porch done in the SPF and that has held up well as it is well protected from the elements.

What kind of wood did you apply the SPF to? I think what happens is that the SPF, which is a film forming finish peels during the freeze/thaw cycles unless there is perfect adhesion. That is asking a lot. I wll never again use it, or any other film forming finish on horizontal decking.

Sorry I can't give you a more optimistic report.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 7:29PM
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Thanks Marty for sharing your not so pleasant experience with this product. I'm dealing with Cabot right now. I had to send in tape pull samples and fill out a questionaire regarding how I prepared the deck. I'm sure they aren't going to do anything for me but I would like to know how I'm suppose to fix it. Did you sand your deck before applying ATO? What is ATO?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 7:24AM
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I did the tape pulls and sent them to Cabot. They told me the pulls showed wood fibers meaning inadequate prep, even though like you I followed the instructions. I had a contractor who specializes in sanding and finishing interior floors sand my deck with a floor sander. It cost about $800 for 400 sq. ft. of decking. Then he put on a single coat of ATO (Australian Timber Oil) which Cabot had sent me to replace the SPF which I no longer wanted.

ATO on Ipe only lasts about 6 months so a couple of weeks ago I cleaned the deck and had another coat put on.

Ken at has a new stain that is supposed to last longer than ATO. It is for exotic hardwoods like Ipe. He is a good source for info on stripping, cleaning and staining decks. I have stuck with ATO for now as I prefer the Mahogany Flame color to Ken's new product.

You didn't indicate what type of wood your deck is.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 5:44PM
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It is pressure treated. Did Cabot supply you with something to strip the SPF off or did they just tell you that you would have sand it? Is that all Cabot did was to send you the ATO. Did they compensate you for the labor of sanding? Ha

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 6:52PM
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Cabot is not responsable for labor only replacement cost of the stain. Says so on the can, the liability disclaimer.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 12:05AM
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Thanks Al, It goes to show we should read the fine print. I really never expected them to do anything about the labor but it would be nice. I can't believe they haven't taken this product off the market. I'm not sure what kind of deck would be prepared exactly right. I guess like Marty said you would have to have a new deck and then sand it first. I would really like to hear from someone that has had good experience with this product. Is there anyone out there????

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 8:54AM
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Had a disastrous experience with Cabot. Essentially stripped a large deck twice and had the same failed experience. The only reason I used Cabot's the 2nd time was that they assured me we needed to follow a slightly different process than what was on the label including the use of their cleaning product. They provided all the product for the 2nd time and in fact it's peeling worse. I have cedar deck in NY area close to salt water. I thought possibly it was the nearness to the salt water but have been hearing of the problem inland as well. I've spent a small fortune on completely sanding and staining this deck-twice. Cabot product peels! Would appreciate if anyone has good recommendation for cedar decking stains or oils. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 2:29PM
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I would suggest using TWP cedartone or rustic. With any outdoor wood you should you an oil based stain.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 2:24AM
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The main issue with these type of sealers/stains is they are organic and are surface coats. Organic materials naturally breakdown and have to be reapplied annually to protect the wood. This results in mucho $$$!. Sealing once and having to never do it again is a bit more costly, but pays for itself in a few years. Plus, you will see the boards repelling water and will know the deck is protected.

I encourage you to research Sealwize products. By being inorganic, they never breakdown. A dealer has to be contacted as they are the only ones who can apply the permanent sealer. It is inorganic, doesn't contain sodium silicate - which migrates to the surface -and causes the wood to turn white after about two years. The unique sealer penetrates the wood's pores, becomes a solid mass, and keeps water from entering the wood - this results in long life of your deck! Stains and paints can be applied over the sealant and will last much longer than without the sealant.

The technlogy is not new. It has been used in commericial concrete for over 100 years. In the last ten years or so, companies have taken the same chemistry and applied it to wood, but the soduim presented a problem and warranty issues surfaced. Sealwize has developed a group of minerals that penetrate and do not cause efflorescence. The technology is also "Green" and completey safe. Check it out! Sealwize or Zerovoc

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:25AM
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I know peeling is a problem with Cabot, but in my case, it's very little peeling on the railing after 4 years, because the deck surface where we walk is trex. So is there something wrong with just sanding down the limited peeling I have with Cabot (after 4 years) and re-applying? I used the dark brown Cabbot 48 SPF on our Gazebo roof and after 4 years, I have to admit, it has held up without peeling. I'm just reapplying to keep it protected for 4 more years. I'm new to this, so if I'm completely missing a point, I would like to hear.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:19PM
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