MinWax - Helmsman® Spar Urethane (Rating: 4)

I've used the Helmsman® Spar Urethane for several outdoor protects and I wanted to share what I've learned about this product. First off, I must say that surface prep is everything in how this product will last over time. If you clean your surface of just, grime, and other foreign items, it should work well.

I coated an outdoor bench about 5 years ago and it is now just starting to show signs that it needs to be refinished. The bench was out front of my old home on a dirt road under a porch overhang. It wasn't in direct light, nor exposed to rain and snow. I used a paint sprayer to apply a single coat to the finished bench. The Urethane has held up very well, but it no longer beads water as it used to and there are a few peel points. I would recommend at least two or three coats with a sprayer to get a nice thick coat and finish. As expected with urethanes, the finishing color is more amber than the base wood. I used untreated pine so it made the bench just look a little richer in yellow color.

Within the last month I built myself an outdoor table. Unlike the bench, I stained the table with Minwax Gunstock stain first. Even though I read the instructions on both cans, I wasn't completely confident that they would work together. For the table I pre-stained and pre-urethaned the surfaces before I assemble it. Again I used the sprayer to apply the urethane. The table came out great. This time I applied several coats of stain and urethane. The two materials bonded to each other well. Since I assembled the table, we have had a good amount of rain and the water is beading and pooling like I would expect it to. Once the water is cleared off / dried, the urethane is still very shiny and looks a lot better than when I finished off the bench. In comparison, the table finish is a lot better than how I had done the bench. Live and learn.

I took one star off for this product since I don't think any product is perfect. I will use it again on the outdoor chairs I am building for the table. I would recommend this if you also want to stain the wood first. While the stain looked nice, the urethane made it pop! Overall I am pleased with the product.