Using exterior products indoors: any reason why not?

oruborisApril 16, 2008

I have a v-groove pine in my living room, pine beadboard in the kitchen and dining. I like the way it looks now, but I'm dreading the day it turns amber. Plus, I feel it needs a finish that will keep the dust and smoke from penetrating, something scrubable, but not paint.

I know pine usually gets a seal coat before finishing since it can take stain very un-evenly. I plan to skip that part: I'd be pleased if there were noticable color differences from one board to the next. It will draw attention to the fact that this is actual wood, and the house is sort of rustic anyway [as you've probably already guessed].

What I've been considering is a Cabbot brand semi-transparent or semi-solid with just a little tint, plus a bit of opaque white in it to mask color changes down the road. I'd spray it on with a commercial sprayer, then wipe it or brush it back just a bit so more of the wood grain and color shows through.

Seems to me that would give me a very durable finish [rated for outdoors, after all] that would still go on a lot faster than multiple coats of poly or shellac or hand rubbed interior stains.

Since I have the same v-groove on the ceilings of the adjoining porchs, it would keep things uniform. Probably wouldn't wipe it back outdoors.

I figure I'd have to be very careful about ventilation, probably need a respirator while applying. Then the house would have a couple of weeks to air out before anyone was in there full time. Would there be a lot of residual odor, would there be a potential for ongoing outgassing?

I'd appreciate your thoughts...

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I'm not familiar with the particular product you're considering, but is this a stain or a film finish? A stain won't prevent the wood from absorbing grease and other stains.

I'm doubtful about some of your assumptions...

Not all finishes yellow dramatically over time. Consider, especially, some of the better water-based finishes.

Pine's tendency to stain unevenly isn't just 'from one board to the next;' it's unevenness within a single board that can be so bothersome.

I'm not so sure it makes sense think of outdoor finishes as especially durable as if durability were a linear scale. Outdoor finishes have to tolerate regular wetting, wider extremes of temperature, and lots of UV from direct sunlight, but the moisture content of exterior wood can be more stable (esp. if shaded from direct sun) than that of interior wood, and exterior finishes generally don't have to resist grease and smoke, or tolerate exposure to harsh cleaners. I'm not a chemist so I can't speak to how much these different stresses affect the formulation of these coatings, but I do think exterior=tough is simplistic.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 5:42AM
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Im the past exterior paints has a toxic anti-mildew additive making them ill-suited to indoor use (the additive was mercury) . One would hope that this has changed. The label will always indicate if there's a safety reason for not using it indoors. There are some oil/water emulsion paints that are way too stinky to want to use indoors or even near an entrance. We use some sikkens (IIRC) latex stain that was like this on a job- horrible smell.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 7:45AM
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