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All my painted woodenware gets brushed with one coat of exterior latex white primer followed by two coats of exterior latex white paint. Is that the procedure most of you use? Also curious as to how that compares to the sprayed woodenware available from the major suppliers?
 

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Ifixoldhouses
With the way the EPA has treated oil base paint in the last twenty years I don’t know how good it is anymore. I all most never see it in paint spec for Commercial painting. Their are a few good latex ones out their. I don’t think exterior in general is as good as it use to be. As far as spraying versus brush and roll. On the priming of raw wood I most times back stroke or roll paint. For the first coat. No need on top coats. I feel that filling the end grain with caulk or glue when I building boxes is important. Un less I was painting a 100 boxes I would never think of spraying them. For a dozen or so a 4” roller and brush works great.
Just a lowly 40 year paint contractor
 

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I use long oil primer and I add more before I base prime. That's followed by two latex topcoats or oil based topcoat if I can find it. I have sprayed latex before and it's quick and easy but I've only done it when I've built a LOT of boxes. When I do just a few, oil under a very high quality latex (it just doesn't last as long as oil) applied by hand works just fine.
 

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Ifixoldhouses
With the way the EPA has treated oil base paint in the last twenty years I don’t know how good it is anymore. I all most never see it in paint spec for Commercial painting. Their are a few good latex ones out their. I don’t think exterior in general is as good as it use to be. As far as spraying versus brush and roll. On the priming of raw wood I most times back stroke or roll paint. For the first coat. No need on top coats. I feel that filling the end grain with caulk or glue when I building boxes is important. Un less I was painting a 100 boxes I would never think of spraying them. For a dozen or so a 4” roller and brush works great.
Just a lowly 40 year paint contractor
Oil paint is a pain anyway, how do you like 123 primer? I love that stuff, I use it as ceiling paint.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I have been using Zinsser oil based cover stain primer on my woodenware for the past two years having finally given up on the all in one paints. That is fillowed by two coats of an exterior grade semi gloss latex. Even my tops that have paint and no metal flashing are holding up well in our heat and humidity.
 

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Ya, i second JW’s method. I use the zinsser stain block primer for the base coat and two coats of satin exterior paint too. Some of my boxes are ten years old and they’re starting to get to point of having to getting rotated out and getting a touch up coat.
 

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I use whatever I can get cheap on the markets - never paid full retail price yet - oil-based (preferred) or polyurethane floor paint is what I look for.
Last good score was a couple of gallons of Dulux reduced-VOC exterior gloss paint - most peculiar stuff - has a kind of 'soapy' feel to it when it's on the brush. Hard as nails when it's dry though, and appears to holding up ok.

I give the outsides of boxes at least two coats of whatever I'm using. The insides get an extra coat as the inside of a bee box is always wetter than the outside. I also treat exposed end grain with a 100% waterproof glue.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies. At our last club meeting there was an interesting discussion concerning painting methods. One local expert just brushes on a couple of coats of "whatever I have" while another gives his boxes a good spray job and never looks back. When I use up the last of my "whatever I have" paint, I will keep my eye out for some oil base bargains. Will continue with my 1/2 coats.
 

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Just to note, pics of commercial hives often show really rough, old paint. Many appear not to see it as worth the money to keep boxes painted.

I use whatever is left over from home projects, currently light greens and blues from bathroom renovations. Interior paint fades quickly on hives, naturally, but seems to stick well enough even after a few years. I scored several cans of 'line marker' paint on sale, used for painting stripes on parking lots. Looks like red barn paint. I'll know next year how well it sticks to wood!

I have some plywood hive bodies, and those need to be painted yearly or they break down.
 

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Are there any thoughts on whether hives should be painted at all? Seems to me that a natural breathable board would be best for hive health. I guess a lot of people have to have pretty. Quit painting mine a few years ago. Just wondering about moisture exchanges good or bad - Any thoughts?
Jerry
 

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Jerry painting the boxes makes them last longer. Personally I go to the rehab store ad buy other people castoff exterior paint for $4.00 a gallon. If you don't care about the color you can get top of the line paint real cheap. I have a bunch of different color hives out there. A couple of coats should last a decade.
 

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One coat of an exterior stain does it for me. Saves time vs applying paint primer and multiple paint finish coats. I like the way it looks. It will never chip or peel like paint. It will never need sanding as part of future maintenance. When it fades and gets chalky 5+ years from now I’ll give it another coat.

Stains tend to be less expensive than paint when bought off the shelf. Like paint it can be bought at discount for mixing errors or returns.
 

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I have done a little research and have a few thoughts:

1. If you paint, acrylic paint is best for moisture in a hive to "breath" - it's much more permeable than latex and oil based stuff. But is that good or bad as bees need water and comfortable RH in a hive? A little wind and a lot of moisture is lost in a hurry unless it is cold to really cold or a good wind bloc.

2. If moisture and free water is trapped in the wood then there is the issues of "dry rot" - strange description.

3. But, if the internal hive atmosphere is kept warm than vapor pressure drives moisture out - apparently at a rate that can be managed by the bees. High internal temperatures also help the wood to reach maximum moisture content.

4. I do not paint inside a hive box ( and never will) but I do encourage propolis inside by using rough sawn pine - good system it seems, as it is anti-bacterial and breathable while resisting condensed water formation ( gotta work on that one). Pine makes a good moisture buffering material as it can absorb a lot of water, especially at warm temperatures, and give it back . (That warm internal temperature thing keeps coming up!)

5. If my insulation system works year round - :) - I will not paint again, maybe - I think. If I do it will certainly be with acrylic paints. BM's stuff is the best I have seen - I have a lot of acrylic painted pine fence boards still going after 20 years - one good coat.

6. I have seen a lot of dry rotted wood encased in oil lead based paints; wooden boat days.
 

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Are there any thoughts on whether hives should be painted at all? Seems to me that a natural breathable board would be best for hive health. I guess a lot of people have to have pretty. Quit painting mine a few years ago. Just wondering about moisture exchanges good or bad - Any thoughts?
Jerry
What works in one climate may not work as well in others. i paint my boxes, and my bees are quite healthy when they aren't being overrun by mites.

Oil based paint? i had to look that up. It seems very expensive to me. Enamel paints have never worked well for me. Exterior latex is what I use.

The rot, in my moist and humid climate begins around the edges and in the joints. Maybe a green dip on all edges would help boxes to last longer; however, I confess that I haven't done that in years. Also, I don't find the time and energy to repaint my used equipment.
 

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I do not paint inside a hive box ( and never will) but I do encourage propolis inside by using rough sawn pine - good system it seems, as it is anti-bacterial and breathable while resisting condensed water formation ( gotta work on that one).
Before dismissing this idea, you might want to consider extending your research to include Ed Clark's book on internal hive dynamics (link follows), as condensation (which returns heat to the hive) is more desirable than absorption, as such moisture subsequently undergoes evaporative cooling.

What the bees want is a hive that is a good condenser and that retains the condensed water on the inner surface of the hive. The nurse bees can then gather it as they want it. [...] The hive, that from years of experimenting and close observations of weather and hive conditions, gives these results, I will now try to describe. [...] All joints and cracks are filled with hot rosin or pitch and the inside of the hivebody and cover is given three coats of varnish.

Ed Clark 'Constructive Beekeeping', 1918

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924003100306
LJ
 

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Gino45 said it best. Regional differences need to be taken into consideration. If the humidity here isn't in the 90s, I don't know what to do. I laughed when my sister-in-law said she was surprised by how little make-up she sees on ladies around here, until she went outside in the summer and instantly started sweating and it was only 7 in the morning. Interestingly enough, my moisture problems seem to be bigger with advantech board than with plywood. I've been using mark down exterior paints with a brush. I like the suggestion of using a roller and wonder why I didn't do that in the first place.
 

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Ifixoldhouses.
I loved it when it first came out. Haven’t used it in years. I have been using PPG Gripper. A lot heavier body product. 123 likes to runs for me when I spray it.
 

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"more desirable than absorption," - I have to find out about the exact kinetics of water moisture absorption as a gas and the reverse action of wood drying out. The latent heat of evaporation is likely not lost especially in my current hive or enclosure design; external vapor barrier included. What is clear is a source of moisture or a "buffer" to help bees control relative humidity conditions to their liking is desirable. Loss of latent heat of evaporation is one of the issues that has driven me to eliminate top venting, leaks and wind driven affects in the upper regions of the hive and installation of an external moisture barrier :)

"hot rosin or pitch" used by the author seems like an application akin to propolis otherwise it is tough to evaluate the permeability properties. I agree with the condenser comment and the possibility that it supplies a significant part of the water demand. The bottom of my hives are cold and act as a condenser. The hive's bottom volume is dominated by the by entrance and screened bottom board approach. Conclusion - I still like propolis inside, acrylic paint outside and I hated sanding boat varnish and refinishing every year.
 
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