For maximum durability, I back-prime exterior components such as fascia boards with 100% acrylic primer. But what about the ends of these boards? If they too are primed and caulked together, end-grain splices will last over the long haul. But without priming, end-grain cuts will quickly soak up moisture and begin to rot. The problem is, end-grain cuts can’t be painted until they are cut and fitted by the carpenters.
Priming boards can be a potential headache for the carpenters, so I devised a simple system to make the process go as smoothly as possible. As shown in the drawing, I keep the primer in a clear plastic container with a lid on it. A paint pad also lives in the container, resting in a smaller plastic box to keep the pad’s handle out of the pool of primer.
Now when the carpenters are running exterior trim, they can easily swab the ends of the boards with a pass from the paint pad (you could also use a brush, but I’ve found that a paint pad is much faster because it carries more paint). I used this technique on the last spec house that I built, and it worked great. The carpenters billed me for only a couple of extra hours of work because it barely made a dent in their speed.
Byron Papa, Durham, NC