Table of Life of Exterior Wood Finishes (Paints & Stains) on Various Types of Wood Surfaces
Our page top photo of a painted sign (The Big Tomato luncheonette in Poughkeepsie, NY) shows variation in two paints differing by color and chemistry, applied at the same time to the same surface. Also see PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION for details of paint failure cause, diagnosis, cure and prevention.
The USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory
(FPL) has done extensive research on how to keep paints
and stains on wood sidings and trim. In general, they
recommend paint for the longest lasting finish and best
protection of the underlying wood, followed by solid or
semi-transparent stains. Clear finishes need the most frequent
recoating and offer the least protection from water
damage and UV radiation.
[Click to enlarge any image]
How long a finish will last depends on many variables,
including the quality of the finish, type and texture of
wood, application conditions, and exposure. South- and
west-facing walls get the most sun and are, therefore, often
the first to need recoating.
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