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9 posts in 1722 days

Location: Denver

My dad went to a trade school and almost became a cabinet maker... His love of woodworking never ended though, and he passed some of that down to me. He had an old cast iron Craftsman saw that I fondly remember screaming through lumber...

Here I am, 45, and starting my collection of real woodworking tools - a nice Delta 36-725 table saw, and more - many old hand-me downs. Will I ever use that 4' jack plane?

Much of my woodworking knowledge is simply memories of how Dad did things, so I know I have a lot to learn!

I'm a Coatings Chemist - working with paints, stains, varnishes, waterproofers, caulking and sealants, etc... for 20+ years, mostly on the architectural and log side, not so much on the furniture side.

From my 20 years of expertise to you - highlights - message me if you want more details!

*** Exterior Painting, Sealing, etc. ***

1) Prep Prep Prep. Nothing will stick to gray or dirty wood, and even sunburned yellowed wood will cause early failure vs. freshly sanded wood. Poor prep is the #1 cause of premature coatings failures.

2) A good exterior acrylic primer is your best friend, and for far more than just adhesion. It is a softer, shock-absorbing coating that moves with the wood as it expands and contracts with temperature and moisture. 2 heavy coats of primer like Kilz 2 will go a long way to giving you more durability out of your paint job. The only reason we don't make all the paint out of these softer polymers is that they are so soft that dirt sticks to them and is difficult to wash off. Ultra thin primer applications is the #2 cause of premature coatings failures.

3) A good exterior acrylic topcoat is hard enough that dirt won't stick to it, and will resist weathering very well. One heavy coat is -OK-, but 2 coats will give you better longevity.

Note: The 2-in-1 primer-topcoats are a bad deal in my opinion. Anytime you make something multi-functional, you have to make compromises that hurt the quality. Plus, they charge more for these products - sometimes as much as you would pay for the primer and topcoat combined - but you get less solids... Just my opinion as an expert in the business - I personally wouldn't buy them.

4) Quality counts. Generally, you get what you pay for in the coatings world, but you don't have to go to the contractor stores and pay the extra $10 per gallon to cover their overhead... The big box stores have quality paints from Behr or Valspar that work as well as the more expensive paints from the contractor stores, but they can charge a lot less because they make their money by selling a LOT of paint.

Note) If you follow all of this - freshly sanded wood, 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of topcoat, you can expect to get about 15 years out of your paint job. Skip the prep? You might get 3 or 4 years. Skimp on primer or topcoat? You might get 3 to 5 years. There are good reasons why people are repainting every few years.

5) Maintenance. If you start to see a few small failures, get another topcoat on SOON. If you do it early enough, you can extend the life of the paint job by several more years. If you wait until things are really cracked and peeling... then there is a LOT more prep to do.

6) *** Sealants ***
Don't forget the sealants! A good, elastic acrylic caulk will stretch enough to keep the seal as your wood moves. Look for a class 25 sealant, and expect to pay about $5/10.5oz cartridge. The cheap $2 caulks are OK for interior painting, but NEVER for exterior work. Big Stretch works really well. If any sealant is applied too thin, it will fail, so don't expect to seal a crack/joint with a tiny 1/8" bead of sealant. Figure the sealant has to be at least 3X bigger than the expected joint movement, and preferably 4X or 5X. In real life, that means that you want 1/4"-3/8" of sealant around your doors and windows (exterior) and where your siding meets the trim. Keep the water out, and keep your house dry!

Note: Silicones sealants are filled with lots of silicone oil, which nothing will stick to if you need to repair a sealant at a later date... not even more silicone. That silicone oil bleeds into the surrounding materials too... IMHO, just avoid using them.

Note 2: For really tough situations, or in areas where you only want to be there ONCE and never again... Lexel works virtually every time. It is a solvent based rubber sealant, kind of a unique bird.

7) *** Roof leaks ***
I'll never buy "the black stuff" again... because while I was growing up, I saw my dad apply it every year (sometimes more often) over the same exact leak. Many years later, I now know that asphalt just doesn't weather well, and gets hard and brittle. The stuff that works is called Through the Roof, and it is a solvent based rubber like the Lexel I mentioned above.

I'll stop here for now. Message me if you want to know more!

-- The Bitterness of Poor Quality is Remembered long after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten

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