Sorry if the title isn't very good - feel free to edit,

Looking for advice on stain / sealant / oil,

Basically our supplier of our children's outdoor wooden play furniture for pre-school has messed up big time and stained everything with 'indoor' stain even after months of discussion about outdoor usage. We are talking 2 full containers of acacia furniture here.

Luckily we asked him to put a piece outdoors for testing and after just a few weeks the top was already worn down massively.. like worse than our wooden patio table that sits outside permanently all year in UK and gets restained once every 2 years. And even before restaining doesn't look as bad as our test!

As you can see in the photo the back panel is not so bad. I'm aware this is 'work' so many people on StackExchange are reluctant to answer such queries unless they have some sort of interesting, technical value, so I will try and add as much info as possible.

So the supplier says he can sand down and stain with outdoor stain the top panel for all our products which will take 2 weeks (or for the first container I think), or 2 months to sand and stain all panels on all units. This question is really about stain and sealant. I was looking at this page: https://noblerate.com/best-deck-sealer-stain/ about deck sealer and noticed there are some sealers and oils that can be used to protect the stain and the wood.

One solution I thought was to let the manufacturer sand down top panels and use the new outdoor stain, but only use oil or sealer on the sides / back panels, as you can see the back panel is not worn quite as bad (though it is still weathered..)

Just looking for some expert advice from people that know a lot more about this stuff than I do. The questions being: Would using a sealant / oil over the side panels (indoor stain!) would last for long e.g. 2-3 years .. or whether it would just simply not work! (The manufacturer thinks the indoor stain will just peel off either way.. though I thought that maybe an oil that could 'soak in' might help?)

I suppose a summarising question about my problem in general would be - "pretty please help - what should I do!" Once again I apologise the question is business-related, so please feel free to close the question if you don't think it is beneficial to the forum or goes against the rules. In general, just having problem with the outdoor stain - attempting to model Ikea's outdoor stain for use with acacia .. but struggling a bit.

Top panel Back panel

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    You'll need to provide some specifics about what product was used. If it really was just a stain then there should be no issue coating over it with a spar varnish or similar outdoor product. If it was an indoor polyurethane or lacquer then scraping/sanding off the original might be a good idea. Either way, expect wood furniture left outdoors to require ongoing maintenance (i.e. a new coat of finish every 1-2 years). Even if it's a rot-resistant species it will turn silver over time without a UV blocker. Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 19:37
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    What numpties! One of the reasons I was hesitant to provide an Answer here is that we don't know what was used here because the term "stain" has become debased in recent years by the finish companies applying it to any and all colouring products (and some that aren't even coloured!) but @jdv has cut to the heart of the matter and I think this is probably the only sure option — go back to bare wood and finish afresh. This remedial work should be 100% on your supplier, I hope they're going to step up and do this in double-quick time and at no additional cost.
    – Graphus
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


What should you do?

Treat these pieces as weathered pieces in need of refinishing. It doesn't matter that it has been 2 months instead of 2 years.

Sand or scrape down the old finish and apply a new appropriate finish as recommended by the manufacturer of the finish.

Skipping the sides and just redoing the tops and other weathered parts is probably fine -- I do this on my own acacia outside furniture -- but you will see a difference in colour and texture as the finishes age at different rates. But in my experience the tops of acacia furniture age drastically no matter what you do, and this colour difference will happen regardless of your refinishing schedule.

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