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Several years ago, I made the "Adirondack" outdoor chair based on plans from Kreg. It was a fun project because I put all the slats together and painted a picture of a barn on the back of the chair. I used mostly craft paints and acrylics. I put on a few coats of polyacrylic top coat.

I just took it out of the garage and noticed that the polyacrylic is almost all gone. I suppose it weathered off during a few summers when it sat on my porch.

Could anybody recommend a better top coat as a sealer? I'm looking at the spar urethene, but I don't know if it will give me a thicker result than the polyacrylic. Also, I've looked at thebRustoleum Neverwet kit at HD, but I'm skeptical.

Any advice or experience would be appreciated!

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M Blair;

For a while I did outside wood carved signs and had to protect them, you are correct with the spar urethane it was the best I could find and worked well the brand I used was Siekins top brand, also you need to ensure what ever you use has UV blocker for the sun rays that is what does the most damage. Also you should retreat every 4 years or so for best results, Just like going to the beach with sun block, one of my signs is on as a project and the picture was taken after it was hanging for a few of years. 


Jeff Metcalf

Thanks, Jeff. I've never looked for a UV blocker. Will the spar urethanes have it listed on the can if they have UV blockers? Also, do you know if it will discolor the paint below? By the looks of your sign, which is beautiful by the way, it did not.

I would recommend doing a test piece before applying to your finished chair.   Craft paints are often water based and the Spar urethane could cause the paint colors to smear, run and also the spar will give it a amber hue.   Just use a piece of scrap wood with the craft paint and then apply the spar to see how you like the effect.  I have seen the Neverwet as well but not sure how it works on a painted piece.  If you try it, I would like to know what you learned.

Thanks for the helpful reply, Rita. The chair had a polyacrylic coat over it which also give it an amber tint, but it was uniform, so it looked fine. I think that the craft paints I used were acrylic, but I just can't remember, so I might have used the cheap ones. I'll take your suggestion and try a little bit tomorrow.

I read some reviews of the Neverwet and the rap seems to be that it doesn't last more than one or two rains. It seemed a little too good to be true, didn't it?

Yes,  I had heard mixed reviews on the Neverwet as well.   I made a outdoor stand for some plants and checked into using the Marine paint for its outdoor durability.   Reading the steps for application turned out to be more than what I wanted to provide for my simple planter.   If you wanted a painted surface for outdoors, I think it would be a very good option but colors appear to be limited.  I know a guy who builds strip canoes.   Not sure what he uses for the finish but it looks amazing!

M Blair and Rita B;

All the outdoor signs that I have done have been with water base acrylics since the paints became available first at the art stores then craft store. Originally sign painters like my dad then myself would use lacquers or enamals but most only use water base acrylics. The bird sign that is on this site that was both carved and painted by me is done with water base acrylics then cleared coated to protect the painted surface. But Rita is right when trying a new clear coat always do a test area. The craft paints need to be cured then there will be no problem with the Spar Urethanes you can get water based urethanes and totally clear in fact most harwood floors are done with water base clear that have a thirty year guarantee.  

The best advice I can give is go to a professional paint store in your area and tell them what you want or go on to a company website and find the one that has UV blockers most important most of the products that I work with are water base now.



Wow Jeff,  I never would've guessed.   I did not think you could use water based for outdoor use and have it last for any length of time.    Love your sign.   Nicely done with both the carving as well as the paint shading and highlights to bring out the dimensions.

Thanks to both of you, Jeff and Rita. You're both very helpful and obviously very knowledgeable! I'm going to head to Sherman Williams after work and see if they don't carry Siekins urethane. I'll test it out on a small sample and then, hopefully, get results that can last for a little longer than the polyacrylic I originally tried. Thanks again, gang!!


It was touch and go in the early days of water base acrylics but they really have come a long way, the key is the clear coats some of my signs have been outside for 20 plus years the key is to retreat the clear coat every 4 years. I still have the first sign I made with my cousin after he retired from the RCMP and started in the late 70's early 80's his wood sign business did half the parks in western Canada.


M Blair,   let us know how things turn out.

Jeff,  thanks for the tip about recoating over time.   I am in the process of placing some spar on a table top that will be used for outdoor use.   I am such a beginner and that is why I like this site.   Tips and help from so many.

Good Evening M Blair and Rita;

Since you said you where going to Sherwin Williams and I know they own Mini Wax I went on to there website and found the perfect product.

Mini Wax Helmsman Spar Urethane UV Blocker Low VOC Water Base here is a link


Rita the UV blocker is very important to stop the damage from the sun on any outside furniture,


Take Care Jeff



Jeff, thanks for looking that up! That's actually the exact product I bought. It was about $16. I did a test spot that looked fine after four hours, so I put on the entire coat. It goes on very, very thick. I don't know how much sanding our how many coats I'll need to do, but I'm thinking probably just one more. I'm glad I did it in the garage, because the fumes were pretty bad (remember, I've been using that water-based polyacrylic).

Anyhow, I think it's going to go very well. I'll try to post a photo once I finish it.

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