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Pennofin woes

ShineBrite LLC

Contributing Member
We have specialty lumber companies here in the south east that are selling pennofin for maintaining exterior exotics and cedar. I have been working for an owner of one of these companies for the past four years now and he has had me strip and reapply pennofin to his spanish cedar (yes, spanish cedar) and cumaru decks. I finally convined him to go with an alternative and have explained as best as possible about the pennofin oils turning black in the sun. Now I have another customer with the same issues on a very large cumaru deck. Why are these lumber importers still selling this? No doubt, the finish is beautiful for a short while. It has a sheen like interior floors and the color it brings out on exotics is great. However, it turns black and the only option is heavy strip. Does anyone know of a place online or other to send customers to educate them on the problem?? I have convinced my few, but would certainly like some back up.
 

plainpainter

New member
Hey educate the customer about it - in the end if they want it - what's the worst could happen? You end up stripping and reapplying it more often for more money. As long as you warned them, that's all you need to do to sleep at night.
 

Rick Petry

New member
Alan,

We are seeing a bit more Penofin here in NJ. Finished stripping and brightening one yesterday. Attached is a pic of part of the job before we started work.

Ipe' floor and fascia, with red mahogany spindles, top rail, porch framing, and cladded posts. Clear cedar pergola.

Stained 10 months ago with Penofin. Pergola done with a Sherwin Williams solid stain. The ipe' was nearly black, with the vertical mahogany very splotchy, stain in some areas, nearly gone in others. Good news is that Penofin is able to be stripped from hardwoods without much problem. The ugly solid on the cedar pergola is another story.

I think experience educated this customer. They spent a lot of money, only to call us less than a year later for a complete makeover.
 

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James Foley

New member
PennOPain has quite a good Marketing campaign geared to lumber companies and high end markets. If you give it a Bleach bath for Maintenance it looks pretty good. It is terrible on cedar and it is usually over applied on the first application and becomes more of a food source for mold.
 

Rick Petry

New member
... However, it turns black and the only option is heavy strip. Does anyone know of a place online or other to send customers to educate them on the problem?? I have convinced my few, but would certainly like some back up.
Alan,

Another thought. How about showing your potential customers pictures of failed Penofin on hardwoods? They say a picture is worth a thousand words!
 

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Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Penofin is a weird stain. I either see it black and totally infested with mold (90% of the time) or it holds up beautifully. I went to an ipe deck estimate earlier this year and the deck actually just looked like it needed a clean and maybe a floor recoat. The homeonwer told me it was two years old. The oddest part was that he had had a handyman applying it and the guy never cleaned the deck, just slopped it on with the brush. Handyman cost: $250. I shook hands with the guy and didn't even bother measuring. Just eyeballing it we were going to be over $1500.
 

plainpainter

New member
Penofin is a weird stain. I either see it black and totally infested with mold (90% of the time) or it holds up beautifully. I went to an ipe deck estimate earlier this year and the deck actually just looked like it needed a clean and maybe a floor recoat. The homeonwer told me it was two years old. The oddest part was that he had had a handyman applying it and the guy never cleaned the deck, just slopped it on with the brush. Handyman cost: $250. I shook hands with the guy and didn't even bother measuring. Just eyeballing it we were going to be over $1500.
Was this a 'not-even-bother' moment? Or did you hand the guy an estimate.
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
He told me the guy was an electrician/plumber/handyman and just couldn't get to mit this year. Then he told me what he was paying. I asked him if he was happy with what the guy had been doing. The answer was yes. I then told him that I couldn't touch his deck for less than five times what he had been paying. He grimaced and said he would go double or triple based on the technique I had discussed with him over the phone but that was the upper limit. My tape measure never left my belt. Mr. Patel had no idea what a real company costs to operate. I shook his hand and went to the next estimate.
 

plainpainter

New member
electrician/plumber/handyman, eh? I guess that's diversification for ya - but the electricians and plumbers I know are always balls to the walls - and in the rare chance they don't have work - they're not going to change gear and suddenly do handyman work. I can understand the non-essential trades like painting, washing, landscaping - needing to branch out in order to guarantee work.

On another note - my mom was talking to her sister in france - and she was talking about all the other quotes customers are getting, and my aunt didn't understand - she was baffled that folks keep getting different quotes. And she was like - you ask ten different painters for their hourly rates - they'll all be the same within a couple of bucks. Other than the fact you just can't call yourself a painter in France and other European countries - you need to pass exams, internship, licensing - other than that it's still free economy - you are not mandates by government what you can and can't charge - but they all charge the same rates.
 

plainpainter

New member
Alan,

Another thought. How about showing your potential customers pictures of failed Penofin on hardwoods? They say a picture is worth a thousand words!
IF the failure is significantly less than a year - who cares? These are hardwoods after all - you have to redo them all the time anyways. I think this is only matters for softer woods - where a good quality stain can go 2 years and then only need to be topcoated.
 

Rick Petry

New member
IF the failure is significantly less than a year - who cares? These are hardwoods after all - you have to redo them all the time anyways. I think this is only matters for softer woods - where a good quality stain can go 2 years and then only need to be topcoated.
Daniel,

Decent stains on any wood should not require expensive stripping after 10 months of service.

Decent stains do not turn black on ipe'. Decent stains on mahogany, not just vertical, but also horizontal mahogany, last substantially more than 1 year. Mahogany is a hardwood. So is balsa wood.
 

plainpainter

New member
Daniel,

Decent stains on any wood should not require expensive stripping after 10 months of service.

Decent stains do not turn black on ipe'. Decent stains on mahogany, not just vertical, but also horizontal mahogany, last substantially more than 1 year. Mahogany is a hardwood. So is balsa wood.
Rick - firstly this is kind of judgmental - what I say requires stripping and what you do are two separate things. And not to mention you use a product that doesn't require Sodium hydroxide to remove it - the products I use contain alkyd modified linseed oils and/or tung oils - they don't simply go away with a light bleach cleaning - and you can't blend in 2 yr. old stain with a new application like you can with parafinnic oils

But we all have our own business models. With my limited experience using parafinnics - they just aren't acceptable. Folks want a stain that looks as good a year later after application. I use a parafinnic oil on my deck - I like the ease of maintenance. But I also don't have to schedule myself in every spring and pay myself money to do it. I don't know your customers - but I've been contacting customers from two years ago - and their attitudes are that I was just at their home last year - they can't believe 2 years has passed already. My model has to be a stain that will pretty much stay intact and at year #3 be stripped and start all over again.
 

James Foley

New member
Dan, with your limited experience and lack of work evidence on hard wood its hard to read and except any advice you preach.
 

topcoat

Contributing Member
I dont think their marketing is doing the job. Penofin is a misunderstood product. I am a finish nerd and its all I use on decks that are not receiving a solid or semi solid stain.

Here's the problem: people think of Penofin and historically they think of the old original blue label can. Most people dont even realize how many different penetrating oil products that Penofin has that are designed for specific applications: hardwood, marine, pt, composite to name a few. As a result, many people arent using the right flavor for the situation, and as with anything, the better grades are rather pricy.

The only ones I use are the ultra premium red label and the hardwood formula. The KEY to this product is to get one of the tinted transparents. They use transoxide pigments which are far superior excellent for uv protection and they have enhanced mildewcides in the formula.

Also, they only advise that the product will last for 1-2 years depending on exposure and traffic. I don't think its reasonable to expect more than that from a penetrating oil on decks or any horizontal.
 

plainpainter

New member
Nothing lasts on decks - but parafinnics look drab from day one - and just look tired after 4-5 months. I did a cedar deck with pressure treated balusters last september with woodtux wet. For some reason it had no black - but I did give it a maintenance wash because of leaf stains - and touched up a few spots - because the cedar doesn't seem to accept stain as well as pressure treated - but other than that the deck looked as good as the day I did it.

When woodtux didn't go black - it really had great staying power and looked crisp - parafinnics never look crisp. Heck a pressure treated deck I did two years ago, other than being dark looks absolutely perfect with absolutely no wear on a deck that sees perhaps the highest traffic/abuse of any deck I have ever serviced.

My decks don't have to last forever, they don't have to last 3 full years - but they have to go through 3 winters before my customers feel they got their moneys worth. A quality curing stain can do this on pressure treated easy and perhaps even be 'maintained' and a hardwood will need to be stripped.

the only product and contractor that has yielded a result that would be totally acceptable with my clients is Scott with his TWP 200 series parafinnic. But it has provisos - not meant for decking - if you use for decking there is a 2 week period you have to monitor - only use in direct sun decks - and only for softwoods.
 

plainpainter

New member
I must have misread, I thought the thread was about Penofin, not parafinn.
you read correctly - but all woodie threads degenerate into the parafinnic vs. curing oil debate. My observation was so what if Penofin went black on a hardwood deck after a year - it's got to be redone anyways at that point anyways - and the 'mineral' oil guys start yacking about quality stains lasting 2+ years and blah blah blah. It's just a long winded diatribe - and none of it makes sense to me.
 

topcoat

Contributing Member
I hadn't noticed that pattern, but I am sure you are correct. Although it seems your logic is based on a hypothetical postulate.
 

ShineBrite LLC

Contributing Member
From the Penofin website under the FAQs copied and pasted...

How long will the wood stain last on my deck/house?
On a horizontal surface, Penofin may be expected to perform for an average of 9-18 months and 3-5 years on a vertical surface. The time will vary depending on the percentage of sunlight, weather, etc...


From what I've seen, and I'll specify the exact product as the Hardwood Formula, Penofin with Brazilian Rosewood oil + sunlight = black splotchy wood that has to be stripped whether you are reapplying penofin or something else. I'd just like more input from those with experience in expaining this phenomenon to customers when they wonder why the wood has turned black.
 

Rick Petry

New member
Alan,

The black splotchy phenomenon might be due to ineffective mildewcides/fungicides in the stain.

Another possibility. Went to the Penofin website and the hardwood formula page. At the bottom, is the following:

Maintenance
A maintenance coat of Hardwood Finish should be applied within 3-6 months after the initial application or as soon as oil looks depleted. The next maintenance coat should be done again in approximately 10-12 months or whenever oil looks depleted. Over time, the wood fibers become fully protected and the maintenance will become less frequent.


In Penofin's own words, hardwoods should be cleaned and stained three separate times in the first year!

How many consumers or contractors are following that costly and rigorous schedule?
 
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