I have a few logs (they are very old) on the back of our house, and also have a very new railing that looks like it is made out of Aspen. Whatever was previously put on the railing (just purchased home), is now flaking off. Wondering what product you would use for these situations? Thinking of something clear, unless you like something with a light tint better? Thank you for your help. John H
Hi John, Aspen can be a problem for staining, but it generally takes paint and polyurethane well. An oil-based polyurethane will do the job if you want to maintain the wood color or just add a light tint. I suggest oil-based because it will add a very light amber tint and works well in exterior applications. If you want the coating absolutely clear, use water-based polyurethane. It’s a bit more expensive than oil-based, and it doesn’t last quite as long, but it does not add any color.
If you do want to add color, to avoid Aspen’s problematic behavior with stain, apply a thin sealing wash of polyurethane before adding a gel stain over the top.
Here’s an oil-based poly that I like: https://geni.us/cF2ArC9