mahogany wood wrap around porch HELP

rstapletNovember 3, 2005

I have contractors completely replacing my 900 sq ft wrap around porch (NE USA...NJ) before weather gets too cold.

I am getting different opinions on how to protect/stain the mahogany wood (Malaysian Mahogany).

The wood suppler (US Mahogany NJ) advised me ONLY to seal it and nothing else (Cabot Aussie Sealer).

I have to lightly sand the top and finish the sealing process BUT I am getting different advise on what else, if anything, to do to a new Mahogany deck.

My concern is if anything is dropped on the deck, will it stain it unless I have varnish/polyurethane applied as a shield.

Does anyone have concrete advise on this situation ?

I am spending a fortune( by my standards - USD 17,000) to have this job done and I want to be 100% sure I am doing whats best for the long term investment.


Regards Roy Stapleton in New Jersey USA

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roy, the Australian Timber Oil will do everything you need it to do. If you put down a urethane or varnish expect to spend another $2700 when you call me (ir any restoration contractor) in two years asking me to remove it becuase it is flaking and peeling. The Aussie Oil is water and for the most part, stain repellant. You will need to use discretion with barbecue grills as that type of grease will leave very hard to remove stains.

Your deck should not really be sanded. You will close the pores in Mahogany making it very difficult for the sealer to penetrate. You should also clean the deck with a sodium percarbonate based cleaner followed by an oxalic wash to pH balance the wood for sealing. (I realize the deck is new but the wood itself may have some mold spores, a mill glaze or other factors that will cause the finish to fail.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with pressurepros re: ATO on a mahogany deck. That's all I've done to mine and spilled numerous times on it with no ill effect.

Ken - your statement re: sanding CLOSING the pores intrigued me as counterintuitive. I always thought sanding OPENED pores? (Although, I can see how a heavy sanding with a fine grit could "glaze" over the wood, thus sealing the pores.) Does your comment apply to a light, rough grit pass over the wood?


    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Brian, as he mentioned the word contractors, I assume the sanding would be done with power tools. Light manual sanding with coarser grade papers would not be harmful but I canot see telling a contractor to get on his hands and knees and hand sand a 900 sf deck. Something I have seen often happen when people build decks from mahogany: People think of their deck as a piece of fine furniture so they want that baby's a** feel to the wood. Most deck builders are clueless about finish application and longevity so they will oblige the customers wishes with high speed sanding equipment.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Guys,

I have underlined the need for light sanding to the Contracters.

They expect to take off 1/32 of an inch to achieve the goal of making the top surface prime for the top seal(Cabot Aussie Seal).

The thickness of decking is 5/4", which is half inch thicker than original Douglas Fir decking which I am replacing.

Then, nothing else to do other than add more seal every 1-2 years ???

Thanks/regards ROY STAPLETON IN NJ

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roy, the problem I foresee with the sanding is as follows. Your builder is going to use some type of power sander to take off that 1/32". This friction/heat will cause the sugars in the wood to rise to the surface and solidify making a barrier to any type of penetrating sealer. So you are not really making it prime but you may be setting yourself up for early sealant failure.

If you hang around long enough you will think I am a broken record saying this.. Clean the wood with a sodium percarbonate based cleaner. Follow that with oxallic acid to neutralize the cleaner and to bring the wood to slightly acidic pH (which is the perfect enviroment for a penetrating sealer)

On an old PTP, redwood, or cedar ceck I use whats called an Osborne brush or a random orbital sander. But those situations have to be extreme (like cracked wood with visible splinters) and since the woods are softer I just use the cleaning method above and the sealer penetrates fine.

With mahogany and ipe you are fighting tight, dense grain. Even if you follow this technique to the letter you are probably looking at sealing once a year. I do my mahogany deck twice per season to keep it looking fresh.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

RSTAPLET - You still around?....I want to ask a few questions regarding your porch. I have 300 sq foot porch and am getting estimates in the 10k range for Mahogany (in Morris county).

What exactly is being re-built ? You say completely, but I assume the roof is ok and it is just the decking, rails and joists ? Do you know what the cost for the Mahogany was per lf ? Was the final cost for materials and labor 17K ? or are there some thigns not included in that price ? THanks

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had 900 sq ft of wrap around porch decking to replace plus a five step Front steps. (Not the rails, not the roof, not the joists).

It is 8 foot wide at front and side of house and 12 feet wide at back.

My materials were approx USD 5000/ 3850 lineal feet T & G (wood only) I have about 120 LF left over.

Labor, including ripping up old deck, installing new deck and sealing with Cabot Aussie Seal was USD 12,200.
They also got rid of all old material in same charge.

I "think" the labor price was a little over the top but I could trust the contractor - I have been burn by many useless ones in the past. They took exactly 2 weeks to complete the task.

If your having the whole thing (except roof) replaced then your price is good....yes ?


I was very fortunate that the two weeks for my deck finished last week, so weather was brilliant.

The origin of my mahogony was Malaysia, if you read the experts opinions around the web it probably is not true Mahogony 100%.

I could send you photos of my completed deck if you so wish. I must admit it came out fantastic and now NOBODY is allowed to walk on it (joking).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 9:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the follow up - I'm not doing the roof, but I know the rails are big $$ so guess the estimates are generally in line. We are hoping to do it early in the spring. I know the mahogony is tricky - I think Central American is the real stuff, but it's way more than what you paid for Malaysian and I have seen similar to yours and agree it looks great. Thanks again -

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 5:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a similar issue:

I have 2 new mahogany decks. On the contractor's recommendation, I used one coat of Sikkens Cetol SRC in Mahogany color. It was easy to use and is(was) beautiful.

the problem is that red dirt has been tracked all across it. I cannot even remove the dirty footprints with a pressure washer. On top of that, when the porch dries, the entire thing is coated in a layer of dirt/dust. It just looks dingy.

Will a sealer of some sort help to keep the dirt from bonding with the wood?

All help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please allow me to jump in, as I'm getting a new mahogany front porch. I've decided to use the ATO (Mahogany Flame) to stain the wood, but above there was mention of pre-cleaning with a sodium percarbonate based cleaner followed by an oxalic wash to pH balance the wood for sealing. I was not aware that such a step was necessary for new wood. Can you recommend which specific products to use for this?

I am expecting to have to retreat the mahogany every year- how to I go about prepping the surface before I restain?

Lastly, I am having a pine beadboard ceiling and cedar lattice put in, which I'd like to somehow stain/protect to make it a similar color as the treated mahogany. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jorge - I have the same problem with our porch. The wood and finish are beautiful, but I have the dirt and footprints which have been very difficult to remove. Contractor stained all four sides before laying the floor. I am wondering if the sodium percarb and oxallic acid will help clean and then I can refinish again.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the recommendation.

I contacted the manufacturer of the stain (Sikkens) and they recommended cleaning the deck with regular Spic and Span. This weekend I cleaned one of the decks (the cleanest) with a scrub brush & the spic-n-span and I have to say that it did a decent job at removing the dirt & the 'dirt haze' that we are having. I have yet to try the really dirty deck. I'm going to clean that one & see how the deck fairs under regular use( as opposed to muddy contractor feet) over the winter. Next spring I'll re-evaluate whether I should use another coat of the Sikkens or switch to another product.

I still love the mahogony, but I think the dark color may prove to be difficult to keep looking clean (out in the country).

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used Australian Timber Oil, but I have the same problem. I will try the Spic and Span.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have just started installing a mahagony deck and I have been trying to find out the best way to protect the color. I am getting information that says that unless you seal all 6 sides of the wood prior to installation, it won't be done properly and that it should just be left alone to weather to a gray color.
If anyone can let me know if this is accurate information, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance for the advice and help.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My ten year old mahogany deck was first sealed naturally (to let it go grey) and then our painters put a tinted sealant on it. I want it to be grey again and sealed. I have let it go so the stain would wear off and avoid some sanding. Since I want the natural color, do I have the same sanding worries (since some will still be required) as far as closing off the absorbency? And would the ATO be appropriate? Someone mention tungston oil to me. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Im so glad i found this page! I have an estimate to refinish my 4 year old mahogany porch which includes SANDING. I would like the porch sanded because i never did like the finish or color of the ATO mahogany flame (too orange!) the contractor used (and not on all sides). I would like it to the natural wood and sealed so it has the warm brown of mahogany with a little sheen. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Checked this out too late. Mahogany floor is already sanded. Now there are spots down to bare wood while others show color. Is there any salvation to this problem. Need help badly.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:19AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Gemini Restore-A-Deck vs Woodrich Cleaner/Brightener
It's been awhile for me on this forum but I remember...
Staining fence
Hi, We had a picket fence installed last summer. Per...
Bluestone Scratches from High Pressure Hose! HELP!!!
I used a High Pressure Hose and used, unfortunately,...
What is the best composite?
I have been reading this forum for awhile as we are...
porch ceiling insulation?
We added an enclosed porch with metal roof, no plywood....
Sponsored Products
Green Bottle Table Lamp With Bell Linen Shade
BuddyRest Crown Supreme Orthopedic Pet Bed Dog Bed
$329.00 | FRONTGATE
Alvin Heritage Basic French Easel - HWE208
$173.99 | Hayneedle
Minka Westgate 13" High Bronze Outdoor Wall Sconce
$79.90 | Lamps Plus
Porch Galvanized 52-Inch Ceiling Fan
$171.00 | Bellacor
Primary Polka Dot 16-Oz. Tumbler - Set of Four
$10.99 | zulily
Giddings Scroll Rug 2'7" x 5' - RED
$69.00 | Horchow
Deluna Leather Loveseat - Brighton Parrot Red
Joybird Furniture
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™