If you have an outdoor decking area that is exposed to the elements, then you might be in need of some Cabot clear wood protector.
Wood protectors can actually be used on all manner of wooden surfaces, from garden furniture, to bird houses, fences, steps and railings, and there are so many different brands available it can be difficult to know which to choose.
Cabot is a leading DIY and home maintenance brand, and this wood protector has many excellent features, but does it do all that it says on the tin? Read on for a full review of this product, covering the pros and cons, so that you can decide whether Cabot is the wood protector for your specific needs.
What Exactly Is A Wood Protector?
A wood protector is a type of coating or treatment that can be applied to wooden surfaces to make them more resilient, durable, safe and aesthetically pleasing.
Wood protector can be used on interior surfaces but is more generally used on outdoor surfaces, because these are the surfaces that are exposed to the most moisture, sunlight and wind.
As the elements bear down on wooden surfaces, they can gradually cause decay, damage, weakness and the build up of mould. However, if a wood protector coat is applied, the wood has that extra level of defense against the elements and so stays looking, feeling, and even smelling better.
Many wood protectors are made from beeswax, oil or other naturally water resistant substances, and they have biocides and insecticides mixed into the formula to protect against wood boring insects that could infest and weaken your wood.
By applying a wood protector you can elongate the lifespan of your wooden surfaces for many years, and keep them healthy and strong even in trying seasons.
So, now that you know what a wood protector is, let’s see how the Cabot clear wood protector holds up to the job.
Range of Use
Cabot can be used to protect a wide range of wooden surfaces, whether they are new, reconditioned or pretty old. Decking, porches, verandas, garden chairs, tables and benches, bird houses, fences and exterior skirting are all commonly covered.
Of course, the newer the wood, the better, because then you are protecting it before the damage has been done.
Cabot is advertised as a wood protector, and this really should be considered its primary use. However, it is actually suitable for use on concrete, brick and masonry as well.
This makes it a wonderfully versatile product and means that if you have finished your decking and still have some protector leftover, you can use it on a number of different surfaces.
One gallon of protector goes a pretty long way, covering approximately 100-250 square feet of surface area with a single coat. This is enough for most small porches and verandas, but if you have a large porch, tall fencing or extensive railings then you will need to order more than one can.
It is important to measure and estimate the amount of wood protector you will need for your job, because it can be very frustrating having to stop halfway through in order to buy more.
Preparation Of Wood
In order for the Cabot clear wood protector to dry properly and perform effectively, you must first make sure that the surface you want to treat is properly prepared. Some people consider this a hassle, but it really is a crucial part of the process and makes a huge difference to the results.
For most surfaces, if they are in a decent condition or new, you only need to sweep away loose wood fibers, debris and dirt before beginning your application.
However, if your wooden surface is mouldy, mildewy, or covered in algae then you need to scrape the surface to remove all these things first. If you don’t, they will form a barrier between the wood and the protector and it will not be able to do its job successfully.
Equally, the wood will not look pleasant and the bacterias will be far more difficult to remove after they have been coated in a protector.
You can use wood stripper, wood cleaner or wood brightener products to help get your surfaces in the best possible shape before application.
If your wooden surface is caked in mud then you should wash and scrub it with a bristle brush before applying the wood protector. This will prevent the dirt from getting between the protector and the surface of the wood.
Equally, if the wood is very weathered, splintered and covered in semi loose fibers then it is a good idea to scrub and even sand down hairy patches before application.
Finally, be sure to get rid of any puddles or wet patches on your wooden surface as these will interfere with the formula of the protector and prevent it from drying. It is fine for your wood to be damp or dry, but it should not be wet, dirty or mildrewy.
Once your wooden surface is prepared we recommend you perform a patch test on a small area in order to be sure that the clearness and finish are compatible with your expectations.
There is nothing worse than spending time and effort protecting your wood, only to discover that the finish is not what you would wish. This is particularly relevant if you wish to protect painted surfaces.
The clarity of the Cabot clear wood protector is not completely transparent and can therefore slightly tint the shade of your surface. On natural wood surfaces it is less noticeable, but on white or very light colored surfaces the tint can sometimes be seen. In order to avoid upset, always do a patch test first.
Ease of Application
If you are happy with the result of your patch test then you can begin your application, and the process really is very simple. The Cabot clear wood protector can be painted onto surfaces in exactly the same way that varnish or paint is.
The most easy mode of application is using a nylon or polyester paint brush which can be purchased at any hardware store.
This method gives you excellent control over the amount of protector you are using and allows you to cover all the nooks and crannies of your surface. However, if you have a large area then it can be time consuming.
Cabot is also compatible with low pressure garden sprayers or even professional spray painting equipment, and these methods will seriously speed up the application time.
However, if you do choose to spray this product, be sure that you are not missing any areas and are achieving an even coverage throughout. It is also very important not to back brush immediately after spraying in order to get an even distribution, consistent appearance and ensure the correct drying time.
It takes approximately 1 hour for the Cabot clear wood protector to dry, however, this is subject to humidity and external conditions. Whilst wet, your wooden surface will feel very sticky and tacky so it is best not to touch or walk across it for at least an hour.
Some customers in wet or very humid places have reported that their decking did not dry fully for a few days.
This can be very frustrating, and it is a good idea to embark on your wood protector treatment well in advance of any special occasions or events in case the protector does not dry in time.
Even when it has dried, the Cabot wood protector remains slippery and slick for a good few days. This is another reason why you should always apply your treatment during a time when you will not be needing much access to the surface that you are covering.
It can be quite dangerous, especially for young children and older people, if wooden decking, steps, or even railings are slippery to the touch. However, once completely dry this sipperiness passes and your wood will return to a matte, resistant feel.
Level of Clearness
One of the main reasons why people choose the Cabot clear wood protector is because they want to preserve their surfaces without altering the look or color in any way. On natural wood Cabot really does score highly.
It dries clear enough for the beauty of your natural grain to shine through. However, the formula does have a very slight yellow tint, that tends to turn wood a tiny bit darker as it dries.
Most customers enjoy the finished results, saying their wooden surfaces look richer and more healthy as a result. However, if you have a painted surface, the yellow tint can alter the color in a less desirable way.
Some people who have treated white furniture have complained of it drying yellow and looking stained. To avoid this the best answer is to use a very thin layer of wood protector, as the color becomes more visible according to thickness of application.
A top tip is that you should always mix this wood protector if you are using multiple cans in order to ensure that you get a consistent finish. Sometimes one can will be slightly more tinted than another and this can look uneven when it dries if you haven’t mixed them first.
The Cabot wood protector really is a great product when it comes to waterproofing your surfaces. Where other wood protectors are waxy and sit on top of the wood, Cabot penetrates into the fibers of the wood in order to give maximum water resistance. Waxy coatings can easily be scuffed and scratched which in turn breaks the waterproof seal.
But, Cabot embeds itself into the wood itself and remains resilient even when many boots, feet and paws have scratched and scuffed it. Users have reported seeing moisture beads forming on the surface of their decking and porches, which is a great sign that the wood protector is working well.
Not only does the Cabot clear wood protector defend against moisture and rain, but it also has UV protection properties which help guard against sun damage. Wood can fade and weaken when exposed to sunlight, and in many hot and sunny places this can cause more damage than rain.
The UV resistance of this product is really brilliant, however you should definitely reapply it every year (or two years) in order to ensure that the protection does not wear off.
Health and Safety
Although the Cabot clear wood protector can be used indoors it should only be used in a ventilated room with all the windows and doors open to create a through draft.
The fumes can be powerful and children should be kept out of the way whilst the product is applied and drying. If it gets in your eyes you should wash them with water immediately and visit a doctor if you experience any irritation.
The Cabot wood protector is less toxic than many of the old wood protectors that used to be used, but it should still be handled with care.
All in all we think that the Cabot clear wood protector is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to keep their wooden surfaces strong, clean, dry and durable.
If you prepare your wooden surfaces properly and perform a patch test prior to application then you are sure to get great results that last between 1-2 years. For prolonged protection you should reapply every few years.