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The Search for Durable Exterior Clear Coatings for Wood

Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Department of Applied Mathematics, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Oliphant Building 60, Mills Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Department of Building, Construction Engineering, Faculty Environmental & Civil Engineering, Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia, Parit Raja, Batu Pahat, Johor 86400, Malaysia
Forestry & Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba 305-8687, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mojgan Nejad
Coatings 2015, 5(4), 830-864;
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 6 November 2015 / Published: 12 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Coatings)
PDF [3698 KB, uploaded 12 November 2015]


The goal of a durable exterior clear coating has eluded generations of coatings technologists, despite long-standing desire amongst the public for such a coating. The journey towards this goal initially focused on modifications to coating formulation, but took a completely different direction when it was found that a UV-transparent silicone clear coating on wood modified with chromic acid met consumer expectations of coating durability. This finding sparked world-wide interest in wood pre-treatments as a way of enhancing the durability of clear coatings. This interest initially focused on transition metal compounds, but has now shifted in the direction of organic and inorganic photostabilizers or even more drastic pre-treatments. Pre-treatments that dimensionally stabilize wood, protect it from microbial degradation and photostabilize lignin, when combined with flexible, photostable, coatings provide the next way-stop on the journey towards achieving the goal of durable exterior clear coatings for wood. This paper reviews this journey, drawing upon our research and that of other groups who have focused on this elusive goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: clear coating; varnish; durability; photostabilizers; wood modification clear coating; varnish; durability; photostabilizers; wood modification

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Evans, P.D.; Haase, J.G.; Seman, A.S.B.; Kiguchi, M. The Search for Durable Exterior Clear Coatings for Wood. Coatings 2015, 5, 830-864.

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