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Q How can I make new wood look old and weathered? I’m using bright, new pine boards for a project, but I want them to look like barn board.


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A Something called Eco Wood Treatment is exactly what you need. I’ve used it for years and it does exactly what you’re hoping to achieve. The wood needs to be bare and completely uncoated and unsealed to work, but the results are great. The darkening results take months to fully develop and being outside in the weather helps. If your project will be an indoor one, just bring the boards inside for a month or two to dry out fully after the colour change. Ecowood develops a dark colour much faster than natural weathering and much better because the results are more even than natural weathering.


This PL Premium construction adhesive dries hard and strong unlike most construction adhesives. Polyurethane chemistry means it cures perfectly under moist conditions.
This PL Premium construction adhesive dries hard and strong unlike most construction adhesives. Polyurethane chemistry means it cures perfectly under moist conditions. Photo by Photo Steve Maxwell

Building an outdoor table

Q How can I glue decorative pieces of wood to a cement board base for an outdoor patio table I’m planning? Each piece of decorative wood will be Western red cedar, finished with several coats of spar varnish before assembly. My concerns are exposure to rain, wide temperature swings, UV exposure … all the usual exterior challenges. Can you suggest the best glue? I tried using screws to anchor the wood,but, as I discovered, screws don’t hold in cement board.


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A I think you’re right about the need for glue. One option you might consider is construction adhesive. This comes in a tube for use in a caulking gun, but I wouldn’t use just any old construction adhesive. I’ve tried lots of brands over the years, but the only one I’ve found that dries hard and strong is PL Premium. It’s a unique polyurethane product and cures hard as a rock. I’m sure PL Premium will secure your pieces of wood properly, at least at first. One challenge may be the expansion and contraction that happens to the wood with changes in the seasons. This could cause the wood to come loose from the substrate, so keep an eye on things.

Try some experiments with PL Premium on cement board and some of the same kind of wood you’re working with. I think you’ll find the combination works fine. Let your test samples sit outside and see how they age. Send me some photos when you’re done. I’d like to see your project.


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Coating a heated basement floor

Q What should I use to put a clear coat on a concrete basement floor with radiant infloor heating? Epoxy is too expensive.

A You’re right to be concerned because the heat that moves through a radiantly-heated floor can damage some kinds of floor coatings and coverings. That said, I’d be tempted to leave the floor uncoated if epoxy is too much money. Oil based urethane could be an option, but that’s pretty much as expensive as epoxy.


Gluing an exterior door

Q What kind of glue should I use for a 2”-thick Oregon pine exterior door I’m building? I expect it’ll take 30 minutes to complete the assembly, so I need something that dries slowly.

A Titebond III is an amazing glue and it will work terrifically well for you. It’s just like regular wood glue, except that it dries completely waterproof. This said, you should assemble the door completely with clamps but no glue at first. This is called dry fitting and it serves two purposes. Besides alerting you to issues that might prevent the door parts from coming together properly, dry fitting also allows you to get all your clamps adjusted and ready for final assembly. Time your dry fitting work and if it takes more than 15 minutes to come together, then use a slow-cure epoxy that takes hours to begin hardening.

Steve Maxwell lives all the things he writes about from his modern homestead on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Visit Steve online at to boost your DIY game.



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