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Painting weathered wood

  • 1.  Painting weathered wood

    Posted 06-28-2019 08:24

    It's been 30 years since I was a professional painter, and I'm wondering if paint technology has improved sufficiently to obviate the need for pre-treating exposed weathered wood with wood preservative prior to priming.

    These are three articles describing the way I used to do it:


    From This Old House:

    In particular, read the second half of the article beginning with "A Hidden Layer of Protection." It gives a detailed description of using wood preservative sealers before priming, and of using oil-based primers.


    From oldhouseweb:

    I came across the same Old House Journal article referred to in the discussion in the early 1980s and began pretreating all exposed wood with Cuprinol Wood Preservative before I primed it.


    One more good article from Old House Journal:

    Scroll down to "Exterior Approaches"


    This is a historically significant 100-year-old house, and it appears that they've begun priming directly on the raw wood with Benjamin Moore's Fresh-Start, High-Hiding All-Purpose 100% Acrylic Primer – 0046.


    Have I been out in the woods too long to notice the great improvements in paint technology that make this an appropriate method?


    Thank you for any illumination you can provide me.


    Rich Mathews

    Asheville, North Carolina

  • 2.  RE: Painting weathered wood

    Posted 06-30-2019 16:33
    Edited by John Leeke 06-30-2019 16:39

    Hi Richard,

    Since the 1980s I've been developing exterior wood painting methods and materials that are resulting in paint jobs that last 20 to 30 years (instead of the house painting industry's typical 4 to 6 years). Back then I realized that the paint industry was changing their products too frequently to depend on their past performance as an indication of how they will perform over the long-term. So, I developed methods that were under my own control, and don't depend on products for durability.

    It starts with "extreme prep" that may include complete paint removal (often with steam), and usually "wet abrasive scrub":

    Then I use one of two different pre-treatments:

    Here's a barn painting project that puts it all together:

    More about painting:

    by brush and hand, it looks right grand

    John Leeke
    Portland ME

  • 3.  RE: Painting weathered wood

    Posted 07-11-2019 09:06
    As I wrote you privately, thank you for the detailed resources you provided. You confirmed my own thoughts about how best to treat weathered wood. I wish there was a readily available commercial product, since most clients seem to trust a brand name over the experience and judgment of the painter.
    I sent the same query to the regional rep for Benjamin Moore. He replied as follows:
    "To answer your question, yes technologies have changed dramatically over the years when it comes to paint. The 046 Fresh Start primer is a good choice for the application you presented. 
    There are better options on weathered wood. The 100 oil primer for Benjamin Moore is as slower drying primer that soaks into the wood give long the best seal.
    Using the 046 is not a wrong solution at all. If someone was looking to use waterborne primer and topcoat solution. That is the way to go."

    It will be interesting to see how well this approach holds up through the coming years.


    Richard Mathews
    Asheville NC