Weather Treatments for our 100% Redwood Garden Bridges
IF... you do decide to apply a finish, be sure your Redwood Bridge is clean and dry beforehand. Thereafter, you will need to re-apply your finish once every year or so in order to maintain that same appearance. Otherwise you can simply let nature take over its natural weathering process and gradually transform your Redwood Bridge into a beautiful weathered silvery-gray sheen.
Natural Weathering: Because of the inherent nature of our 100% California Redwood to withstand the outdoor elements such as decay and rot, your Redwood Bridge really does not need to be finished. Many folks prefer to allow their Redwood Bridge to "age naturally" outdoors without any finish at all. Over time the color will weather to a handsome silver-gray highlighted by darker streaks, and the grain of the wood will become slightly raised.
Wood Sealer: If you go this route you may find a wood sealer to be useful by blocking the pores of the wood. This inhibits the grain from becoming raised yet allowing the natural fading to a gentle silvery-gray color.
Water Seal Wood Protector: For protection that helps enhance and maintain wood's "natural" color, Thompson's® Water Seal® Clear Wood Protector gives you beautiful protection against damage from water and sun and also provides a mildew resistant coating. Its oil-enriched formula provides long-lasting protection. Great also for pet house exterior (Wood must be clean and dry prior to application. Not recommended for application over previously painted or stained wood.)
Stain: If you would like to preserve the freshly sanded Redwood with some added color, we recommended that you use two coats of stain with a UV inhibitor such as Sikkins. Every second year you might re-apply a coat of stain to freshen the finish. Little or no sanding, preparation or primer is needed when you use a stain. Stain is "breathable" and will not trap the moisture, therefore - no blistering, and no peeling.
Wood Oil: An alternative to using stain is to rub a light coat of teak oil or linseed oil over the finished surfaces of your furniture. This gives a rich deep appearance to the wood. If you want to paint, make sure your wood is well dried. Redwood, accepts paint fine but not recommended, unless the piece is located in a sheltered area where there is little or no moisture and no direct sunlight. Besides, you already spent the money for 100% Redwood Bridge because of its natural beauty. If you were going to paint it, you should have saved money and purchased a Pine or Cedar bridge!
Paint: Over time, sun shining on the Redwood will cause any moisture within its fibers to be released. On a sealed painted finish, the pressure of the moisture evaporate will cause the paint finish to blister and peel leaving you with a mess to sand down and re-paint. If you still want to paint the Redwood to match surrounding structures, use an oil base breathable variety.
Check with your local paint store professional for more recommendations and advice on proper surface preparation.