Clear exterior wood finish for natural color
Is there a product that I can use on an exterior porch wood ceiling (cypress) that is transparent and will keep the wood's natural color (without graying or yellowing or staining the wood to another color)?
I haven't been able to find any products that keep the wood's natural color but still provide UV protection without yellowing. Is there such a thing?
Any finish would be fine, but something like a satin or semi-gloss finish would be nice.
Most clear exterior deck sealers provide minimal to (realistically) no UV protection
It generally takes some tint to protect against UV rays
However, as this is on a ceiling, I'd suggest that an exterior deck sealer is not the proper product
Even though it's a porch, and perhaps somewhat exposed compared to a true interior, a quality urethane would be the most common coating for your application
As the ceiling wouldn't get direct UV rays, that type of protection isn't really the priority
Oil-based polyurethanes will last longer (than water-based), but will have a slight tendency to age with a more golden hue
Water-based urethanes generally won't last or protect as well, but tend to stay clear
Teak and tung oils will provide a beautiful finish, but would be labor intensive
They will also tend to "change color" a bit with age
I'm not familiar with cypress, if it's an oily wood then a teak-type oil may be the best, as urethanes don't work well with those type of woods
Other than that, it seems a urethane would fit the bill
Go to your local paint store with a Q-tip. Ask them to shake up a quart can of their "Deep base" or "Accent base" exterior latex paint in the gloss level of your choice. Basically, you want the tint base they would use to make a colour like "Blood red" or "Canary yellow" or "Navy blue". That tint base would therefore dry clear or transluscent if no colourants were added to it. And, being an exterior latex paint, it won't yellow and already has UV blockers and mildewcides added to it.
Open the can and use the Q-tip to paint some of that clear tint base paint onto a wooden mixing stick. Ask the nice lady to dry it with her hair dryer or heat gun.
Does that look OK?
Alternatively, got to MinWax's web site and see if they make an exterior version of their "Polycrylic" water based "varnish".
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