Not included in our review, here’s why:
Ever put exterior stain on gray weathered wood and watch it turn to black cloudy ugliness? That’s what oil stain always did. Here’s what Benjamin Moore Arborcoat waterborne alkyd/acrylic transparent stain did on some tired outdoor furniture.
If you look carefully, there are three boards that comprise the seat on the bench. When I started brushing the benchtop, with NO prep, I had to stop and take this picture. I am a notorious woodsnob, and I’ve not seen weathered wood accept stain this way before.
I chose not to include this snippet in our final Arborcoat review, mostly because I want to test this capability further before making any claims or recommendations for applying Arborcoat to unprepped weathered exterior wood, but on this small scale, it impressed like crazy. We stained all the deck furniture this way, and have been watching ever since.
Reviews aren’t about sizzle, they are about steak.
Arborcoat on weathered wood symbolizes why I am not a fan at all of “first impression” product reviews. At all. Responsible and useful test and review info needs to incubate, no matter how important the writer thinks it is or how much the world presumably can’t live without it. It’s not so important that it should be half-assed, or driven by emotion, ego or guess. The above photo is “first impression” and inconclusive. So, we chose not to go all around the internet trumpeting this product as a one step prep eliminating miracle cure for weathered wood. While time may tell that to be the case, it is not our style to jump that gun half cocked.
Over a year in testing, our ongoing Arborcoat Review was only submitted to American Painting Contractor magazine when we were confident with our observations of the 636/637 combo. We can see in the site traffic stats that Arborcoat is a topic of considerable interest to our readers. The APC review is based on a well documented and comprehensive log cabin restoration project on which we used Arborcoat to refinish. And, we had observed its performance for 11 months at the time of our review publication.
It takes alot of time to compile formal exterior product reviews for publication. We prep and apply product to manufacturer specifications to observe repeatable results, so that we can speak with the authority of experience in making claims about the performance of an exterior product. I couldn’t write the Arborcoat review until I saw what I needed to see over the course of the changing seasons in a year. On the flip side, our regional Benjamin Moore rep made several site visits to verify that our surfaces were prepared to an acceptable “manufacturer recommended” standard, and – more importantly – that the product was applying and drying to our satisfaction and expectation.
The Steak is Medium Well
It would have been easy to publish something here, or there, sometime around three months into testing, but it would not have been responsible or comprehensive. It would have been first impression, and the review world is watered down by unsubstantiated premature conclusions about products, and manufacturers, everyday. That doesn’t serve contractors or manufacturers well. It only serves the writer by giving him something juicy to say sooner. Immediate gratification cripples objectivity.
While we do many reviews that are exclusive to topcoatreview.com, we also enjoy the challenge of submitting higher profile products and tool reviews for print publication. (And we have some good ones in the works.) The reason for this is because we understand that anyone can pretty much write anything they want on the internet these days and click publish. Bad review writing is like twitter with unlimited words. Sometimes they are genuine, sometimes they are twisted.
Our print published materials are often read by multiple editors, and in some cases even reviewed by editorial advisory boards prior to publication. It is really, really good for more than one set of eyes to see a piece prior to publication to ensure objectivity and accuracy. Plus, it keeps a writer sharp to have his work critiqued by better professional writers than himself or herself.
Because there are so many opinions and so few editors on the internet, magazine publication will always be a good place for contractors to find reliable information that is distilled down to its best and most potent form.