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I had a redwood fence installed about 3 years ago. It was sealed with a Helmsman clear semi gloss water based spar urethane varnish. I had it reapplied yearly. After some heavier than normal rains this year, I have some greying and peeling/cracking, and also some spots that are darkening.

I have received some quotes to sand and reseal, and they're far too high. I'm curious about doing this job myself. I have no experience with woodwork, so any help is greatly appreciated.

Do I sand and reapply the varnish? What grit sandpaper? How many coats of varnish? Should I switch to the oil based varnish instead of the water based?
 

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learn to love the gray. . . .

redwood is used because it has a lot of natural oils that make it weather-resistant.
that also make any kind of 'coating' a losing proposition. it just does not stick....
 

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I think your biggest mistake was using a urethane on a fence, especially water based. A film finish just isn't going to be durable in that application. If it were me when the weather warms up use a chemical paint and varnish remover and take it off. Then use a deck finishing oil. This is something that is easily re-treated when ever it becomes dry.

If you do decide to use a spar varnish again there are much better spar varnishes than Helmsman. The best is Epifanes. It's available at places that sell boat supplies.
 

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learn to love the gray. . . .

redwood is used because it has a lot of natural oils that make it weather-resistant.
that also make any kind of 'coating' a losing proposition. it just does not stick....
Completely agree. The redwood should have been left natural. I would leave the fence alone. Over time it is "shed" the original finish and look better.

George
 

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Absolutely. The best paint or varnish or sealant or coating for a new redwood fence is NO paint, varnish or sealant or coating for a new redwood fence. Let it age naturally and keep it off the ground and out of the dirt. It will last a long long time.
 
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