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Outside gates issue.

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marcusdil

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Good morning everyone.
I had these gates made about 12 months ago and they looked stunning for about 6 months then the finish started to deteriorate.Now they look like the pic here.The manufacturer states that they should have been Osmo oiled after 3 months and then, yearly.I was informed if I apply Osmo oil,they will look as good as new.There are also little black streaks on them that nothing will remove and I tried some Osmo oil and of course it being transparent, it didnt improve the finish at all.I paid £900 for these pair of driveway gates and feel that they should be still attractive after 12 months,even with no care to them.The company have refused to take the issue any further and say the responibility of care of the gates is the clients.Does this sound reasonable or maybe now, I am thinking the wood probably was not dried enough before manufacture (too high moisture content) and that this is the cause of the issue.Any help or advice would be really appreciated.
IMG_5025.jpeg
 

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Sgian Dubh

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Addressing your last point first, the moisture content of the wood at manufacture will almost certainly have been appropriate for the intended use. That is, if the wood was destined for joinery products it will probably have been dried to a target MC of about 17 - 20%. If the wood was intended for internal furniture or higher class internal joinery products (bars, panelling, etc) it will have been dried to about 11% if done in Europe, or about 7% MC if the kilning was done in North America. Essentially, what I'm getting at is that no-one is going to build your gates out of green unseasoned wood which could be anywhere between about 45% MC and 80% MC, and in some species the green MC can be even higher. Therefore, I'm basically discounting too wet wood used at the manufacturing stage as being the cause of the finish deterioration, although too wet wood used at manufacture could be a cause of excessive distortion of the gates in service, but that doesn't seem to be your complaint here.

All finishes used in exterior locations deteriorate, some more rapidly than others, and the cause is those conditions exterior woodwork experience. It's tough out there in the sun (UV rays), rain, frost, oxidation, etc. Pigmented finishes are generally the best performers externally, i.e., paint, and the poorest tend to be the clear finishes, e.g., varnish, oils and the like, and to add to that, paints vary considerably in their ability to hold up to weather, as do the various clear finishes.

Anyway, it appears your finish is an Osmo product, possibly Osmo's One Coat Only HS, marketed as an outdoor finish. Some people swear by Osmo products, others are less enamoured of them. Still, I'd generally say that all these oil type products are regular maintenance finishes, as are all external finishes for that matter, with some needing more regular maintenance than others. The fact that your gates are looking a bit tatty after a year is no surprise, especially if you've not done any maintenance since the gates were installed.

So, the questions to ask are, were you supplied with written maintenance instructions by the manufacturer when the gates were installed, and did you follow them?

Personally, I try to avoid putting clear finishes on external woodwork when I make such things, preferring to just let them age naturally. It's a hell of a lot less after care work, and if the wood used is a durable one, e.g., a white oak, you should get up to twenty or so years out of the artefact before it falls apart. Slainte.
 

marcusdil

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Slainte, grateful thanks for your comprehensive reply,which I have taken onboard.Yes I was supplied with instructions to re oil after 3 months and then yearly, but it was an advisory.I admit I did not carry out the 3 month appliction,basically because they looked perfect and I did not give much thought to it.Are you saying that if I went to their instructions,the gates would look be still looking good?If so then I hold my hands up.What would be the remidy if any,do I remove all the finish somehow and start again, or apply some proctection and live with it.
 

Mike Jordan

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They appear to be Iroko so you should get about thirty years out of them. Like many suppliers these days they seem to have ignored the standard practice of years gone by, which is to put a minimum of 9 degrees of slope on all top surfaces to shed rainwater. This means that water will remain on horizontal surfaces and tend to cause deterioration of the finish and earlier rotting of the material.
Iroko is very resistant to rot so no problem other than failure of the appearance.
 

Sgian Dubh

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marcusdil":38i7qdhg said:
Yes I was supplied with instructions to re oil after 3 months and then yearly, but it was an advisory.I admit I did not carry out the 3 month appliction,basically because they looked perfect and I did not give much thought to it.Are you saying that if I went to their instructions,the gates would look be still looking good?If so then I hold my hands up.What would be the remidy if any,do I remove all the finish somehow and start again, or apply some proctection and live with it.
If you'd followed the guidance, I suspect your gates would look better, but probably not perfect. It's hard to say because I'm not too sure how good the Osmo product is in that circumstance, and I'm also not sure of Osmo's recommendations for maintenance of their finishes, although they have guidance at this link: https://www.osmouk.com/sitechaptern.cfm ... tectionOil

The reality is that with any finish on external wood, to keep it looking good is a long-term and regular commitment, which is why I generally put no finish on such items and just let it age naturally. In your case, I'd be tempted to do nothing and let the weather do its worst, meaning the gates will eventually go all over grey and get covered in bits of lichen, develop roughness to the touch (probably) and splits will develop. The alternative is a significant amount of restoration work, e.g., sanding, scraping, application of the finish, hopefully leading to something that looks close to how it was new. And then, after that, regular refinishing as needed, probably twice a year, but you might get away with doing the job once per year.

Me, I prefer the easy no-maintenance route - it saves a lot of time, and I'm more than happy to live with naturally aged external wood. An example is below where I put a bit of linseed oil on an oak garden table when it was new just to make it look pretty for a photograph, but then did no more maintenance. The photographs of this same item were taken approximately six years apart. Slainte.



 

Sgian Dubh

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Mike Jordan":1igd01bu said:
They appear to be Iroko so you should get about thirty years out of them. Like many suppliers these days they seem to have ignored the standard practice of years gone by, which is to put a minimum of 9 degrees of slope on all top surfaces to shed rainwater. This means that water will remain on horizontal surfaces and tend to cause deterioration of the finish and earlier rotting of the material.
Iroko is very resistant to rot so no problem other than failure of the appearance.
Good points, Mike, although I've seen (and made a few gates myself) where the top edges weren't always rounded or sloped.

It's also the case that it's not always practical to have a sloping top surface, as in the example of the table in my post which follows yours: I'm not too keen on my bowl of soup or plate of food sitting at a funny angle whilst I'm eating, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

Doug71

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I made an Oak front door for someone a couple of years ago, used an Osmo external finish on it, followed instructions exactly, think it was 3 or 4 coats, went on really easy and looked fantastic. Phone call about 3 weeks later the finish was already failing. Ended up sanding it all off and using something else because was too high maintenance.
 

sammy.se

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Doug71":30ae1nv9 said:
I made an Oak front door for someone a couple of years ago, used an Osmo external finish on it, followed instructions exactly, think it was 3 or 4 coats, went on really easy and looked fantastic. Phone call about 3 weeks later the finish was already failing. Ended up sanding it all off and using something else because was too high maintenance.
What did you use, and how did it hold up?

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Phil Pascoe

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I used Danish Oil which is supposed to OK for exterior use on a few things last autumn, it's already failed miserably - it looks as if it's been neglected for a decade. Fortunately it was only an experiment and the stuff wasn't important.
 

Mike Jordan

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image.jpg
Good point about surfaces that must be horizontal, in most pieces there are some, together with loads of unavoidable water traps. The quality f Iroko as an outdoor timber is evident in the photo. The date is genuine and the items have spent most of the time on my soggy lawn.
 

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Woody2Shoes

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I realise I might be in a minority, but I think it's worth making the point that not everyone agrees on what "looks good".

Personally, I prefer a natural, weathered, look on outdoor things made out of durable timber. e.g.

https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/home ... ersley.jpg

Besides saving a lot of labour, and cost of materials, and quite possibly putting yet more VOCs into the atmosphere.

If I owned your gates, I'd sand them back to bare wood and let them weather down naturally over a few months. I have some outdoor furniture made from Iroko which has been outside continously for 20 years (just brushed down occasionally to remove moss and guano) which still looks and works fine.

Cheers, W2S

PS I have some sympathy with your supplier - who may well have something in their T's and C's covering this situation.
 

Doug71

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sammy.se":33wowr05 said:
Doug71":33wowr05 said:
I made an Oak front door for someone a couple of years ago, used an Osmo external finish on it, followed instructions exactly, think it was 3 or 4 coats, went on really easy and looked fantastic. Phone call about 3 weeks later the finish was already failing. Ended up sanding it all off and using something else because was too high maintenance.
What did you use, and how did it hold up?

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Used Sadolin Extra Durable Clear Coat which is more of a varnish type finish. Presume it was okay because never heard back.

It's always a tough one because when it's gates or garden furniture they look okay weathered but when it comes to front doors or windows some people like to keep them looking tidy. With oils you often end up with the top of door looking okay but the bottom weathered.
People like clear finishes but you generally get better performance if you use a finish with some colour in it.
 

marcusdil

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Thanks for your input everone..I might be tempted to let them weather and see what they look like in a few months and decide then 'weather' to attend to them in some way.
 

RobinBHM

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If you allow them to go grey, you wont be able to restore the wood colour, although pigmented finishes, It probably doesnt matter.
 

Steve Maskery

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If there were a foolproof apply-it-and-forget-it outdoor finish, I think we would all have heard about it by now. The sad reality is that wood, whilst it might well be quite resilient to the elements for quite a long time, does not look like polished indoor wood for very long if it is exposed to the elements.

I'm making an exposed external door for my bro at the moment. It is going to be painted.

For a gate, I would not apply anything at all, let it go grey and simply clean it in springtime every year. By cleaning, I mean pressure washing. It will get rid of all the green and dirt and will look pretty good all summer. Not polished, of course, but attractive nonetheless. I used to have a couple of iroko Adirondacks. By the end of the winter they looked quite sad, but half an hour with a hose and they were always good for the rest of the season.
 

Trevanion

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I've always had very good results with the Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus on top of a Sikkens stain. I tried some Osmo WR Base coat with 3 coats of Osmo UV oil on top of some exterior joinery not too long ago (At the persistent request of customer I might add) and it really hasn't held up that well after a year in the elements, greying up in places. You can get a good 3 or so years from Sikkens in direct sun and weather before it even begins looking a little shabby.
 

Doug71

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Trevanion":2f5vx4ol said:
I've always had very good results with the Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus on top of a Sikkens stain. I tried some Osmo WR Base coat with 3 coats of Osmo UV oil on top of some exterior joinery not too long ago (At the persistent request of customer I might add) and it really hasn't held up that well after a year in the elements, greying up in places. You can get a good 3 or so years from Sikkens in direct sun and weather before it even begins looking a little shabby.
I always push my customers in the direction of Sikkens, it's good stuff.
 
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£900 , where do you live. Thats a great price!
If you didnt keep up with the 'feeding' of oil like you were advised to do, why are you moaning?
 

Sgian Dubh

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Surreycabinetry":1wz85ufs said:
£900 , where do you live. Thats a great price!
If you didnt keep up with the 'feeding' of oil like you were advised to do, why are you moaning?
I get the strong impression he's not 'moaning' now that he's learnt a bit more about the performance characteristics you might expect from different types of wood species and finishing materials used in wooden artefacts destined for external locations. In one post marcusdil did say something along the lines of 'holding his hands up' to not following guidance from the manufacturer of the gates, which probably contributed something to the deteriorated appearance and finish. Slainte.
 
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