Preservatives for an outdoor bench$

Q. Our 12-year-old house has an exterior wood deck and bench. Woodlife was used on the deck but what kind of preservative should we apply to the bench which has never been treated? If I were to use Woodlife on the seat, would it leave an oily residue on clothing? Dr. Roderick Heffron Falmouth, Mass.

A. While Woodlife could be used on the raw wood bench, it might indeed soil clothing; or at least transfer an undesirable odor.

Our recommendation is to use a semi-transparent stain, either oil-based or acrylic latex in composition. Your local paint store can furnish one of these materials in a quality brand.

Whichever one of the two you choose, apply it in a thin even coat so that it dries more rapidly, thus preventing an excessive buildup of the material on the surface.

A thin, even application requires refinishing a bit more often but that is preferable to an unsightly surface buildup.

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