Which to use?

We got a great deal on a used wooden potting table (granite top, very sturdily made). It’s had years of use and the (varnish?) coating on it is scraped and worn off in a number of places but esp. around the lower parts of the legs. DW is open to any kind of paint or varnish. Which would be best to cope not just with being rained on but lots of Texas heat?

Almost any good quality paint or varnish will work. But think about what you hope to accomplish and what it will be exposed to.

Where varnish has worn away, another coat of varnish will likely still leave the wear spots visible. You could try stripping off the old coating, and then a wood stain followed by varnish. But stains may be hard to remove. Painting is likely to give the most attractive appearance.

Will you paint the granite top? Or only the wood? How much gloss do you want? Color?

The experts at a paint store should be able to make recommendations. Do you want a water borne paint? That usually limits gloss. Top of the line is two package urethane coatings such as Polane from Sherwin Williams. Two package epoxy is also very good (but not for direct sunlight). Often found in swimming pool coatings or garage floor coatings.

I was only going to treat the wooden part and DW said if paint was the choice to make it flat sage green. Maybe I’ll just go to Sherwin Williams and ask.

Hi BlueGrits,

I would go with paint.

In either case, the wood must be scraped/sanded to SOLID wood. This is the most important step to prevent a quick failure in spots of your new finish.

I always use a primer coat. Primer is formulated to adhere to the substrate and create a good surface for the final film to adhere to.

Watch the temperature. High heat and sunshine can cause the paint/varnish to dry too quickly, again making an early failure possible.

A little prep will take some time but will provide extra years of trouble-free performance.

Does that help you?

All holdings and some statistics on my Fool profile page

Decades ago we had sailboats. There are a little wood trim – grab rails and cabin doors. Nothing more beautiful than varnish teak trim on a boat in the view of many boat owners. Most experienced boat owners know nothing requires more work than varnished teak.

I still think the weathered gray color or unvarnished teak looks just fine. It also has a texture that is nice when holding on to a grab rail in the rain.

All is to suggest consider sanding varnish off and keep it natural.

As previously posted – epoxy should be avoided for outdoor surfaces. It has poor UV stability. If your decision is to paint, I would explore paints designed for wooden decks. Regardless of finish on the wood, try to get some “feet” under to legs so water can not get into the end grain of the legs.

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Verdict from Sherwin-Williams:

Scuff up the old varnished parts and smooth out the rough areas.
Apply good quality primer

Project underway, but now rain threatens (but I’m in a drought area so it’s welcome!).