Victorian Porch Renovation / Bad experience with Cabot Australian

VictoriaElizabethOctober 4, 2012

We've been renovating our 1890 Victorian, room by room. This summer we finally got to the wrap-around front porch. (Pictures here.)

We had ordered Cabot's Australian Timber Oil, in sample cans in almost every shade. After much deliberation, we chose a stain color for the deck. We had to special order the shade, since no store near us carried what we needed for the ipe/ brazillian hardwood flooring.

The day the guys came out and sanded the floor, we opened the cans, ready to stain... and found IT WAS A DIFFERENT SHADE than we'd ordered. The name was the same, but the color was not. Obviously, shame on us for not thinking to open the full-size cans, but it never crossed our minds that we wouldn't have gotten what we ordered. (Pictures here)

Much stress and running around ensued. Our Home Depot carries nothing for IPE/Brazilian hardwood or whatever category that is... Trying to find a store on a Saturday afternoon that was open and carried what we needed was a nightmare.

We ended up finding a mom-and-pop paint store that carried Sikkens. We told them about our Cabot experience, and they told us that Cabot has been purchased by Valspar and their store stopped carrying it because the product was unreliable.

It was a miserable day. And it was essentially impossible to test the Sikkens shades on the newly sanded deck. It was so frustrating to have theoretically done the process right, only to not have it matter.

So: open cans. Check colors. PRIOR to having the floor sanded!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sanding and Staining our front porch.

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Having the product in the can be different than the label is a HIGHLY UNUSUAL situation and probably has nothing to do with Valspar's acquisition of Cabot a few years ago.
Prior to having the floor sanded? Why? Unless I'm missing something, you can sand today and oil tomorrow with no negative results that I know of.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:52PM
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After my conversation with the local paint store, and then later with Cabot... it seems likely that the sample cans were old stock... According to the paint-guys, Cabot has changed names of shades and added new options. Plus, we ordered the samples directly from Cabot, but the full-size product we ordered from our local paint store.

I don't know if we could have waited to stain... my husband's concern was that given a few days, our friendly neighborhood cats/raccoons/squirrels would track dirt over the porch and leave a less pristine surface to finish.

Besides, if it was just going to be a day, maybe we could have waited, but after the lengthy experience of searching (in vain) for a stain I really liked, it didn't seem like it would simply resolve itself in an acceptable time frame.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Front Porch

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:12AM
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I've found that Cabots/ATO have changed the formulation to make it VOC compliant. I had stained my deck with ATO and went to re-stain this summer and the new low VOC compliant formula does not match the previous. it sounds like all the interaction with Cabots was recent but I am bringing it up if you may have been testing with one and end up with the other at the end.

I've found to the new low VOC stain to not be the same as the old formula so I am switching to a different brand.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 2:13PM
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VOC compliance has created problems, real problems.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:08AM
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VictoriaElizabeth, your blog link for Front Porch Part 3 was priceless!! I am so glad that I took the time to click on the link and read it this morning, when I've been so depressed looking at the hurricane news.

I love the image of you high kicking in front of Paul's speeding locomotive. (Though I admit to some envy that you have a man who can be so focused and driven to actually complete a project.)

I have to go to work now, or else I'd read parts 1 and 2. I'll bookmark them for later.

Thanks again for giving me a good laugh this morning!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Lee- You totally made my day! Thank you!!

Diane- that sounds exactly like what happened to us.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 3:23PM
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I clicked your links which failed to do before and sure enough you have the Cabots can with the blue lids. This is the new water based formula that is nothing like the original ATO. I great success with the original ATO on my IPE deck but I did a small test with the new formula on some test pieces and was very disappointed. I'm glad I tested before I used it.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:57PM
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I got an email from someone (through my blog, not through this site,) and he thinks that I will end up with peeling and other issues with the finish from what we used. His recommendation was just to oil it... which I had read about. And decided wasn't the best solution for us.

Aside from the fact that it's too late to change products, the oil didn't address one of our main concerns: there are parts of the deck that get full sun, and are exposed to all the weather, and those areas were definitely way more worn than the shaded parts... so we were looking for some protective UV coating, not the color.

It looks fine now, with the exception of not liking the color. I guess we'll see how it holds up...

Here is a link that might be useful: Our experience with Cabot stain.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:10PM
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One year later, the parts that get full sun/rain/snow have pretty much lost all color/coating⦠but the floor further under the roof that is protected is still bright orange.

We need to reseal some sections, but not others, and in retrospect, we should have used a colorless product because even if we reseal with the same color, itâÂÂs still going to look totally different on the edges that have been exposed to weather/darkened.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:52AM
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