For most of us who love organic materials like wood, the coloring and grain patterns are extremely significant. The thought of covering up premium species of lumber with paint may make you cringe. At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, the lumber specialists can completely identify with such sentiments; however, it’s important to realize that such weather-resistant lumber may actually be the best choice possible for exterior work that will be painted. Best, how, you ask? We’re talking the best for weathering, price, and the enjoyment of the most perfectly grained examples of the species.
If we were talking interior painted work, Poplar would be a great choice. Its close pores and ideal base color make it take paint well, with little to no priming. This budget-friendly choice is excellent for indoor painted surfaces; however, it doesn’t weather well for exterior painted woodwork. Paint does protect the surface for a while, but that protection won’t last more than a year or two. Better options would be the exterior-rated premium species such as Spanish Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, African Mahogany, Genuine Manhogany, Sapele, and Utile.
Weather-resistant species often resist paint, as well. Natural oils, open pores, and irregular grain can all lead to a spotty surface that won’t hold paint. However, those same aspects can look beautiful when showcased by a clear coat. Before any wood is given a painting job that will last, it will need to be primed, filled, and sealed—a lot of work to have done on wood that would look great without paint.
Wood that will be clear coated should have a consistent grain pattern and be free from knots. Of course, the board feet can add up quickly, along with a hefty price tag. The good news for your painted project is that every clear board foot leaves behind 2 or 3 feet of wood with an imperfect appearance. Even though this wood has blemishes that make it less-than-ideal for a clear coat, it’s still structurally sound and will look great under a coat or two of paint. No one will be able to see the kiln sticker stain, wild grain patterns, or sapwood that determined that this otherwise premium lumber should be set aside from the clear boards.
Not only will working with imperfect exterior-graded wood ensure longevity of the paint job and save you money, it will also save the integrity of the premium clear wood. Instead of covering up gorgeous wood that would otherwise have their graining seen and appreciated, you can use the cast-offs that might otherwise go to waste.
Even though many lumber suppliers don’t officially have an inventory of paint-grade lumber, the lumber experts at J. Gibson McIlvain can work with you to find the best grade of exterior-rated lumber for your next painting project. HardwoodtoGo.com may also be a great option from smaller quantity purchases of exotic and fine domestic lumber; HardwoodtoGo obtains “leftovers” from large quantity orders and packages it up to ship throughout the United States at bargain prices. You can think of them as the “outlet store” for the exotic lumber industry.