Sap on Woodwork

Dear NH,
The wood posts inside our relatively "new" house were finished with polyurethane. Now they are beginning to exude sap. Is this common? We were wondering if they had been "cured" or prepared improperly? How do we remedy the situation, if possible?
EE from Mt Juliet, TN

Wood harvested at certain times of the year is more likely to exude sap from the knots, even when kiln-dried. It isn't considered a defect, though it can be a pain!

I would suggest just removing the sap... for now... to get rid of the stickiness. Once you go through a season or two without more sap appearing, you can refinish the post. Just sand the affected side and apply a coat of polyurethane to it with a brush or cloth. There are rub-on polyurethane finishes that are easy to use and work well! Make sure you don't apply any product that contains wax or oil to the posts or the new poly may not stick!!

There are a number of sap-removal products you can try. Denatured alcohol is the least damaging to the polyurethane. If that doesn't do the trick, try automobile finish sap remover. Other products that will remove stubborn sap are kerosene (lighter fluid) and gasoline, though I wouldn't recommend using gasoline inside your home.

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