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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Patrick's Barn: Priming Siding

comments (3) October 19th, 2011 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

After hitting the few knots with shellac-based primer, Carol uses a roller to coat all sides.
Getting good coverage on the rabbeted edges is the most challenging part of priming the boards.
After dunking the roller in the 5-gal. bucket of primer, Carol gets off the excess by using a roller screen. You can put the screen right in the bucket with about a gallon of paint, but she prefers to use the screen with a roller pan.
The primed boards look great. They have a rough texture that should hold onto the paint for generations.
After hitting the few knots with shellac-based primer, Carol uses a roller to coat all sides.Click To Enlarge

After hitting the few knots with shellac-based primer, Carol uses a roller to coat all sides.

I like just about all phases of home construction. People are especially surprised when they learn I even like drywall finishing. But I hate painting. Interior, exterior, up high, down low, I hate it all. So when my wife and I were planning the barn's exterior, I suggested, "Let's not do anything. We'll just let the wood age naturally." I even went so far as to seek out good-looking barns with no paint or stain on their siding. I thought the beautiful, finish-free, English-style barn on a dirt road in our town would convince Carol that this was the way to go, but I was wrong. And since she wants a white barn and she offered to paint it, what could I say?

Back-priming, which could accurately be translated as painting things that will never see the light of day, helps siding and a paint job last longer. Why? Because the wood will take on and release moisture gradually and uniformly, this will prevent paint from popping off and should keep our vertical pine siding cup- and split-free. As it turns out, the rate at which I can mill the siding roughly matches how fast my wife and son can prime it. And even without a topcoat, the primed boards with their rough-sawn texture look great. 


Read more about my barn here.

posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn
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Comments (3)

Gough Gough writes: Patrick

One tip is to get those primed boards painted right ASAP. Most primers have a short life on exposed wood: most manufacturers indicate that on the label or in the TDS. Some that we use have to be top-coated within 48 hours or the surfaces need to be washed down and re-primed.

We often will prime and apply one top-coat before installation, just to make sure that this isn't an issue.
Posted: 10:11 am on October 24th

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Thanks for the input Renosteinke. Sadly a new spray rig is not in the budget. Although I agree, it would making coating all those boards a lot easier.
Posted: 8:30 am on October 24th

renosteinke renosteinke writes: Spot priming / sealing ... back-priming ... the most important paint you'll never see.

But really, now ... using a roller? On rough wood? In a barn?

If ever there was a job that screamed for a sprayer, this was one. I'm thinking one of those hoseless Graco sprayers ($250 corded, $450 battery), would be the cat's meow here.

Imagine ... add the 1-gallon backpack -$200 more- or have multiple quart cups -$18 ea.- on hand for quick refills. Get an extension to point the nozzle down -$100- and painting becomes as easy as a walk down the aisle.

Add a parts washer to ease clean-up, and you wonder why so many dislike painting.

Corded hoseless, airless sprayers are available for as little as $40 ..... but I'm superstitious, and if the 'real' paint stores don't carry a certain brand or model, I have to assume there's a reason. Graco seems to 'own' the pro market.

I will caution the future Graco customer on one point: you can buy Graco at two types of businesses: Sherwin-Williams and other places. The stuff sold through S-W is unique, and Graco parts sold elsewhere will NOT fit.

You also need to pay special care in the sprayer purchase if you plan to spray Rust-Oleum (or other oil-based paints). Not every model can handle the acetone that you are advised to use to thin the paint for spraying.
Posted: 11:34 am on October 21st

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