Douglas Fir porch going in--paint only or prime first???

sarahandbrayMay 17, 2013

We already have everything needed for our contractor to start replacing our old front porch with new Douglas Fir floorboards. I've gathered from many sources that it should be primed all the way with oil-based primer around before installation, and then two coats of the appropriate porch paint.

But now, over on the painting forum, I've read that they don't recommend priming--just the porch paint because the primer doesn't harden enough? Or something like that?

Must find out before the weekend as I need to start either painting or priming all decking materials before install begins next week. I haven't had too much luck at our local Sherwin-Williams or Ben Moore dealers with their "expertise" in the past.

Any help here? We know we're painting the porch--not staining--so any paint color and brand recommendations are greatly appreciated.Thinking a medium, battleship gray color.


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I would not leave any unfinished wood, to minimize the warping and cupping.

Instead of a primer, paint all sides of the boards before they are laid, then paint the top with another coat or two.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 1:42PM
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The paint forum guys say to dilute the porch paint with a little water and use that as the primer. The clerk at my Ben Moore store told me the same thing. I used Ben Moore porch paint. It's been less than a year, but so far so good.

Get a test sample of the paint before you buy the gallon. Medium gray is likely to look a lot lighter outside than you may think.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 2:26PM
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Last few porch floors (mahogany) we have been back-priming with clear wood preservative that is a water-repellent and fungicidal. Can't recall the brand; it likely is killing brain cells too.
Acrylic paint is not particularly water-repellent, and if it has been thinned down so it does not form a real film, then worse?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Any thoughts on soaking wood in borates beforehand for longevity of he wood?? Just started reading about it and I'm a bit fascinated...

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:26PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'd do a shellac based exterior grade primer. And then a coat of the paint. On all sides of the uninstalled boards. Then do a second coat on the installed surface. A good primer's job is to seal and to provide grip for the topcoat. A topcoat simply doesn't have the grip needed to stick long term to wood exposed to exterior conditions without the wood being primed first.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:18PM
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