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front porch ceiling

I have a 1903 house with a "car siding" ceiling on the front porch that needs refinishing. There is no paint on it. Natural color, kind of dark and looks very "dry".

I don't know how to refinish this. And I don't know what product to use. Laquer, Varnish, Polyurathane? If it was originally done in one of the two former products maybe I don't want to put polyurathane over it?

Thanks for the advice.

James Leon Mahan
Re: front porch ceiling

If you are going to use Poly on it go with a Satin or Semi-gloss, The Gloss Poly shows everything. I would lightly sand the surface and apply a sanding sealer, following directions on the can, You may have to mask the area and work in smaller sections, Lightly stain after you have buffed the sanding sealer, add a light stain and then the poly. The Sanding sealer helps in getting a uniform color for your stain. It's a slow process for everything.:D

Re: front porch ceiling

Do NOT use a sanding sealer before applying the stain. Sanding sealers are like sandable varnishes and are intended to seal the wood prior to varnishing. What you want is a pre-stain sealer. Pre-stain sealers are a clear oil which allows the porous sections of wood to suck up the oil and be somewhat the same porousness as the denser sections of the wood.

If you like the present color of the wood, no stain at all is neccessary, and no pre-stain sealer would be needed also.

My preference for varnish would be a spar varnish. Spar varnishes are designed for the wide range of temperature and humidity found on exteriors. Spars dry to a flexible film which can expand and contract without breaking its bead across moving surfaces. There are urethane spars and also time tested natural resin spar varnishes. McCloskey's, is such an old line natural spar.

Follow the varnish manufacturer's instructions. Most varnishes are self-priming.

If you don't like the dark look of the wood, it can be bleached lighter using oxylic acid. Most deck cleaners are solutions of oxylic acid.

You might find that a lot of the darkness is merely years of dirt! A good washing might lighten it.

If you then want to alter the color, it can be stained.

Re: front porch ceiling

i would wash it first before you do anything using a sanding sealer (waterbased) some people also call it wood cond. will help with that dry look so if you need to stain it will have an even finish if you plan on poly i only use parks pro poly (h/d) if staining put on 1 coat 2 coats of poly & sometimes i add a little stain into the final coat of poly

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