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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd love to get a really durable paint that I won't have to worry about for years and years. An old co-worker of mine used to make adirondack chairs coated in marine paint, so they'd last pretty much forever. Anyone have a suggestion? Obviously I don't want anything that might harm the bees, but I also don't want to have to repaint or replace the supers for a long long time. Given that they're out in the rain and the wet and the cold 365 days a year, what's the best paint for them? Presume that cost is not an issue, since obviously there's not much surface area to coat.

Follow up question - should you paint the inside of the supers as well? It would provide extra moisture protection, but not sure if it would be bad for the bees.

Thanks!
-Nate
 

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Don't paint the inside of the boxes, it will cause issues. You can paint the edges of the boxes as it will help them last longer.
I use Lowes Valspar exterior water based latex house paint. A coat of primer then one or two of the paint. Don't know how long it lasts on bee boxes as only been doing it there for four years. Seems OK on the house, that will need doing this Fall but that paint has been on over ten years.
 

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If you have ever read Langstroth's book he recommended painting the inside of the boxes. i have never tried it but I've never heard what harm it does, and during the winter the interior does get wet. Just my thoughts.

Tim Stewart
Stewart's Apiaries
 

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I'm a big fan of Benjamin Moore's Impervex water-based wood and metal enamel. It's a self-priming gloss paint, suitable for interior or exterior use. You can get it in any color you like. My advice to any would be painter is to not rush the paint job. Let each layer cure. If you just slop more paint on as soon as the first coat is dry to the touch, you're going to regret your haste, sooner than you think.
 

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Any good exterior house paint is rated to last 20 years. I don't think your hives are going to go that long, or if they do they will be so banged up you'll need to repaint anyhow, considering the service a hive body puts up with.

We use primer, which I think is important. Primer allows paint to adhere to the surface better and prevents blistering. Paint cannot really do that on it's own since it must be engineered to have a hard exterior surface. Also, since wood is so porous it will absorb all the solvents from the paint, leaving poor mix of pigments and other solids that will blister much sooner than if the paint had been applied properly over primer.

We allow ample drying time between coats, overnight. We also do two light coats rather than one thicker one. We sand lightly between coats.

Paint, really, is more about application than it is about the paint itself. A poorly applied expensive paint will peel just as bad as a cheap one. A well applied cheap paint will long outlast a poorly applied expensive paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Any good exterior house paint is rated to last 20 years. I don't think your hives are going to go that long, or if they do they will be so banged up you'll need to repaint anyhow, considering the service a hive body puts up with.
Find me exterior paint that actually lasts 20 years, and I'll paint my house with it :)

I think it's a good point about process over materials. Process can make a big difference... I'll definitely be priming them, at the least.
 

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OOPS. That is my favorite brand. :D
I bought 10 gallons of OOPS paint from HD for 20 bucks. It goes along way. and at that price I can repaint a lot. I will take a roller in my suit and touch up in place sometimes. Since it is only the outside I paint it us usually me that scuffs them up.:rolleyes:
 

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Find me exterior paint that actually lasts 20 years, and I'll paint my house with it :)
It's possible that new paints will last 20 years, it's not like the science behind them has stood still. Remember what cars were like 20 years ago? Everything moves on.

I also think it's pretty impossible to imagine paint holding up for 20 years in the application of hive bodies. Think of how much abuse a hive body takes compared to the side of a house. They get laid on their side, pried apart, thrown into vehicles. For the most part a house just sits there.

A deck or floor paint would probably be better, but I think unless you go to a full on automotive type baked on or UV cured finish I think the service life the paint will be longer than the service life of the hive.

Here is something else to ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve? Do you want the hives to look freshly painted in 10 years? That will not happen. One of the main reasons to paint hives, as far as I am concerned, is durability. Humidity inside the hive remains pretty constant, so the wood swells to some certain point and stays there.

In unpainted hives, or any exterior wood, there will be swelling and shrinkage as the hive absorbs rain and swells and drys our and shrinks. This leads to cracking, pulls nails out and breaks joints.

Paint, good looking or not, stabilizes moisture levels and reduces these effects. In a large way, primer provides this, and the paint then protects the primer.

Just do a good job painting and don't worry about it. Pick nice colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Adam, good question. I want to keep the hives looking nice, and more importantly, protected against the elements. The paint protects the wood, and as you said, keeps it from breaking joints etc. The last thing I want is to pick up a super and have it fall apart in my hands. I don't expect paint to last 20 years, but it would be nice if it lasted more than 4 or 5 before needing to be repainted.

Deck paint is a good idea, and was something I was looking into. Guess I'll have to do some research there.
 

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Exterior paint is more flexible than interior. It is designed to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations.

As for curing, this depends a lot on weather conditions. It's more than merely "dry to the touch."
 

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I painted all my hives with exterior paint that other folks had cast off. Some came from the dump "take it or leave it", others from my family and some from mistakes at the hardware store.

I always buy fresh primer, but the paint doesn't matter much to me. I have hives that were painted 5 years ago that look perfect, you cannot tell them from this years hives except for the pry marks.
 

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I cured the problem of what paint, what kind of paint, what color,and etc.
I simply purchased my first cypress hives. Won't ever paint again. LUV EM!:thumbsup:
 
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