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Old 02-28-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


Hi Everyone,

I'm sooooooooooooo confused ...

I've decided to give Cabot's stain a try. So, I picked up a 4oz Cabot sampler to try. It happens to be Australian Timber Oil.

I brought the sampler home, opened up, and became excited about the quality of the oil. I thought, "Wow, this looks like good stuff" . The reason: because it is solvent based and the consistency of the oil is very very thin and viscous. I thought, "Hey, this should really penetrate the wood well!"

Grabbing some new raw wood, I applied a few coats of Australian Timber Oil from the 4oz solvent based sampler. I was impressed with the results. The solvent based Australian Timber Oil really seemed to penetrate deep into the wood.

For cleanup, I tried washing the brush under water. But you could defiantly tell it was water repellent and the water didn't seem to get the oil off the brush. So, I then used mineral spirits to clean the brush!

Excited, I went to the store and decided to buy 1 quart of Australian Timber Oil to further try on larger pieces of fresh wood. When I got home, I opened up and guess what? The consistency was THICKER and it didn't seem like it was solvent based but appeared to be more water based in that it didn't have a strong solvent smell. What a let down! I expected it to be exactly the same as the sampler was!

In this case, the top of the lid is BLUE and says, "SOAP AND WATER CLEANUP". I applied it to a fence board and then was able to wash the brush with simply water. The Australian Timber Oil just completely washed off the brush. I was a bit shocked! I thought, "Wow, how is this water repellent? How will this even last against the weather if water just washes it off the brush?". It turns out to be a VOC based stainer.

Perplexed, I'm now not sure what is better: the solvent based Australian Timber Oil 4oz sampler OR the Australian Timber Oil VOC version? The 1 quart VOC Australian Timber Oil says "This product contains less than 275 g/L VOC".

The 275g/L VOC Australian Timber Oil didn't seem to penerate the wood as much as the solvent based one. I live in California, and can't seem to find where they sell the solvent based version like the one in the 4oz sampler?

So I am confused ...

Questions:

1) Less VOC or more VOC? does it matter?

2) Why is the sampler solvent based when the 1 quart is VOC based and seemingly completely different? One uses mineral spirits for cleanup (4oz sampler) and the 1 quart VOC version cleans up with simply water.

3) Maybe I didn't do it right. Do the VOC based ones not penetrate the wood as much as the solvent based ones? The VOC one doesn't seem as bad on the wood, but it didn't appear to stain as well as the solvent based one. Perhaps that is just my perception though. Thoughts?

4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, consumer reports rated Cabot stains quite favorably in terms of longevity. However, there seems to be two types of Australian Timber Oil. So which one would have the highest longevity under weathered conditions? VOC based or solvent based?

The last thing I want to do is stain my fence and suddenly realize that it fails in 6 months to 1 year.

Thanks in advance!

Look forward to everyone's thoughts and feedback!

Jason


Last edited by JasonCA; 02-29-2012 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:53 AM   #2
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


Jason, with all due respect, what difference does it make? Your concerns, desires, and needs don't matter, only the environment. Oil products, for your purposes, are banned in the Peoples Republic of California . Take what they let you have and be happy with it, and be a good, obedient boy. Sorry to be so brunt, but what else can be said? To discuss the issue would be purely academic. Unless you travel to a neighboring state and smuggle some beneficial VOC's back behind your iron curtain, you're stuck with what THEY want you to have. Don't forget your papers when you travel. Think about your freedom when you vote.


Last edited by jsheridan; 02-29-2012 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


Oil based deck stains are not banned in CA. The issue is the VOC content. The entire state of CA has a low VOC of 250. The four counties in LA have an even lower VOC limit of 100. These include San Bernardino, Orange, LA, and Riverside.

Many stain manufacturers will make two different oil based versions. One that is 550 VOC compliant for 33 states and the other is 250 VOC compliant for every state except the LA area. Consumers in the LA area are basically out of luck as many manufacturers do not bother making a third oil-based stain with a limit of 100 VOC content. Just not worth it and the performance would be poor as well.

I am assuming that your Cabot sample was an oil based sample but your actual quart was a water based. Two completely different stains and the water based versions will not penetrate or perform as well.

I would suggest looking for an oil based stain that is compliant for your area and test to see if it is what you are looking for. They are out there but may be difficult to find at your local store.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


You won't be happy in a year with ATO. Look up Ready Seal or Armstrong Clark sealers
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:58 AM   #5
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptRandy View Post
You won't be happy in a year with ATO. Look up Ready Seal or Armstrong Clark sealers
those leave a waxy look to the wood! Try Super deck its great!
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:18 AM   #6
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


Ready Seal and Armstrong Clark are both 100% penetrating stains that do not leave a film on top of the wood or create any kind of "waxy" look. They leave a "dull" non gloss finish to the wood.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opwdecks View Post
Ready Seal and Armstrong Clark are both 100% penetrating stains that do not leave a film on top of the wood or create any kind of "waxy" look. They leave a "dull" non gloss finish to the wood.
I have tried samples of them and it leaves the wood Dull gray waxy looking were as Super Deck Duck Back is a oil based from trans parent to solid is a great thing for wood bringing out the beauty of it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:55 PM   #8
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


In 10 years I have never had any problem with RS. Was the deck stripped and neutralized before you applied it? If there was any remaining sealer in the wood it could have stopped penetration of the RS and make it shiny as it dried. That is why I insist a deck be stripped before I apply any new sealer. I can not be sure who or what was applied before I got to the deck. I have been doing decks for 20 years now in both PA and NJ.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailbags View Post
I have tried samples of them and it leaves the wood Dull gray waxy looking were as Super Deck Duck Back is a oil based from trans parent to solid is a great thing for wood bringing out the beauty of it.
Both AC and Ready seal are penetrating oil based transparent, semi-transparent, and semi-solids(Armstrong) just like Superdeck. The only possible way to achieve a film on top of the wood with a penetrating stain is if the wood was not prepped properly or if the stain was over applied.

Both stains IMO opinion are far superior when it comes to durability, overall appearance, ease of application and ease of reapplication when it needs to be done in a few years.

In the midwest, Superdeck has a tendency to turn dark or black in color after 2 years.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


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Originally Posted by jsheridan View Post
Jason, with all due respect, what difference does it make? Your concerns, desires, and needs don't matter, only the environment. Oil products, for your purposes, are banned in the Peoples Republic of California . Take what they let you have and be happy with it, and be a good, obedient boy. Sorry to be so brunt, but what else can be said? To discuss the issue would be purely academic. Unless you travel to a neighboring state and smuggle some beneficial VOC's back behind your iron curtain, you're stuck with what THEY want you to have. Don't forget your papers when you travel. Think about your freedom when you vote.
You ever been to or spent any time in Calfornia? Contrary to your beliefs, people fight environmental legislation and regulation in California harder than in any other state. None of us rolled over and hugged any more trees than usual as things were implemented but we understood. We were incapable of doing it ourselves without government involvement. No malice intended. We just found reasons to keep doing what we were doing because we could not possibly be contributing to such a massive environmental disaster.

Border guards are nasty about fruits being brought in too. I lost the finish on two cars when they had to spray with malathion to eradicate fruit flies that snuck in! Big deal? You bet, agriculture is California's number one industry followed by tourism. It still grows things we can actually eat. The Midwest grows tons and tons of corn but we cannot eat it until it is processed.

The LA basin ain't not Cape May Bubba and even those who fight environmental things the most realize that air so brown and thick you can practically cut it with a knife is not good for anybody. Left to their own devices people would come to support environmental things but with the attitude "starting tomorrow after my deck is stained" or when my 60s muscle car finally croaks and I need a new one that passes the toughest emissions in the country.

And you know, I was living in NYC and visiting your part of the World when you all came unglued because medical wastes were washing up on your beaches. People didn't revel in swimming with the dolphins only to swim ashore with Grandma's used colostomy bag stuck to their face or a syringe protruding from a foot. You all sang a different environmental tune than you do now I guess? You demanded the Governor do something like right now!!!!

Low VOCs may be an overrated problem elsewhere but they are very real to the LA region. Denver is almost worst these days. When was the last time a health department warning against going outside because the air was not breathable and could be fatal to kids and the elderly was issued for Cape May? It is, sadly, a regular occurence each year around LA---and Denver. And to judge California environmental policies only from your perspective?

Are you sure you meant to suggest someone smuggle products in from out of State?

Last edited by user1007; 02-29-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:42 PM   #11
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


How long ago were you on the East Coast? Careful about Cape May it is only 30 miles from me. Much of the medical was from short dumps. That is allowed when a barge feels it is in danger and dumps before it reaches the 106 mile dump site. Other med waste was dumped by a dentist who was to cheap to pay for proper disposal but Mayor Marty Avalon took care of him.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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VOC vs Solvent Staining for Fence


My point is that people rant about environmental protection and policy in California. And it is rigid. But, when the same happens to them? Those that argue against regulation the loudest are the first to insist the gubment do something. Right now! Only when it touches them. LA smog will never make it to Cape May, I hope. But don't judge environmental policy from across the country and on pristine Atlantic Beach land. At least until you have visited and been told not to go outside.

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