Mayday! Mahoganey Railings Costing a Fortune to Maintain!

oncapecodNovember 13, 2013

In 2003 we bought a house that had big deck (2000 sq ft) with beautiful, wide (10 inch), thick (2 inch), mahogany top railings of unknown age. We made the decision to match these with a series of smaller mahogany top and bottom rails at other locations around the outside the house. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, not so much. These have proven to be a nightmare to maintain. Every year we have been paying thousand of $ to have these mahogany rails sanded then (marine) varnished. We live on the ocean which obviously compounds the problem. At this point, I am ready to give up, and replace all railing with something, anything, that needs no maintenance. However, everything that I've looked at looks like cheap plastic, not even an attempt to copy the grain of wood. I'd love any suggestions for anything that might help.

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Stop using the marine varnish and go to an oil based stain from woodrich

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 8:36AM
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We are actively cruising sailors living on a boat and have a lot of teak. It's a constant battle for us, between the sun and the salt water.
When we bought our boat all the teak was varnished, and every year we had to sand it all off and start again.
Then we started using Cetol.
As long as you keep ahead of it, and being land based you won't have some of the challenges we have, you can keep your mahogany.
Once more you'll have to sand it down to bare wood, then Start with an initial application of 6 coats. Then recoat it, just do a light sand and recoat, every 6 months or so. It's not quite as shiny as varnish, but it's a nice finish and a heck of a lot easier to maintain.
The caveat is that if you miss your recoating it starts to peel and then you're right back into sanding and refinishing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cetol_article_Sail_magazine

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:51AM
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I have switched to Cabot's Australian Timber Oil for all my deck and bench surfaces. The bench was last stained over three years ago and still looks well coated. We just stained the old deck after filling the cracks with a stainable outdoor wood filler. finished about September 1. It gives a glossier seal than most stains. You never use more than one coat or it gets shiny and a bit sticky. Only problem so far is dust that washes off the roof of our house and seems to stick to the surface unless mopped off. I haven't mopped it yet).

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 10:28AM
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