Because authentic milk paint has withstood the test of time, we can honestly say that is what makes it the perfect product for outdoor and exterior surfaces. When sealed and maintained with Hemp Oil, or Tung Oil your project will withstand even the harshest of Canadian winters.
It’s no secret that milk paint has been around longer than any other type of paint product on the market. In fact, milk paint can be traced as far back in some of the oldest caves on Earth. Milk paint is the simplest form of paint known to man as it’s mostly a composition of casein milk, lime, and natural Earth pigments that create the wonderful array of colours.
Sealing Outdoor Furniture with Hemp Oil
How does Milk Paint hold up outdoors?
The answer to that question is, just as well as interior surfaces, if prepped and sealed properly!
Best Surfaces for Outdoor use of Milk Paint
The best way to ensure a long lasting, durable finish with milk paint outdoors is to use milk paint on raw surfaces and to seal with Hemp Oil. The combination of raw wood and the water resistance properties of Hemp Oil ensures you have a surface or piece of furniture that can weather the outdoors for years to come.
What is unfinished wood?
Unfinished means it has not been treated with any stains or oils and has been sanded smooth enough to receive any coating. For raw surfaces like this, I always recommend sanding with 180 grit or above prior to adding any finish.
Take a look at the piece we have chosen for this project. It’s a traditional Adirondack style chair that came unfinished from a hardware store.
PREPPING OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Your surface is key to making sure your finish is durable, so you want to choose a piece or surface that is raw or taken down to raw wood. Your surface should be clean from any debris or unwanted coatings and sanded smooth.
You need to take special care that you don’t paint over an existing finish or “grey wood.” Grey wood is what happens to unfinished wood surfaces that are exposed to the environment over time. An example would be a cedar fence that has a natural pink/red hue to it when initially installed, but turns white/grey as it is continuously exposed to the environment.
Since this wood has been exposed to water, sun, and any chemicals in the environment without any sealer, it has the potential to cause issues with adhesion or interfere with your paint consistency and colour
Painting unfinished wood
The first coat of any finish on a raw surface will be transparent. Milk paint is also a great substitute for a stain and can provide a number of options for colours simply by mixing the paint thinner. You can see in the photo below how much of the wood grain is still visible. For this project, we wanted to go with a more opaque look, so we mixed our milk paint thicker and added a second coat.
The importance of sanding
Stains, paints and oils will penetrate the wood fibers and raise the grain, so you want to allow an even absorption by closing off as much of the fibers as you can initially. A low grit like 120 and below will leave your fibers open and rough and will absorb your finish unevenly, leaving you with a blotchy look.
Make sure you sand your final coat to remove any pigment clumps and to flatten the grain that was raised when the paint made contact with the wood. For this look, we wanted a rustic, coastal look so we distressed the edges and some of the flat parts of the chair to give it some age and character.
You can also scuff sand your piece to ensure a “tooth” for your paint, though it is not required. You will want to try a test area to ensure no further prep is necessary. Although this piece was well cared for, it did have some dings and scratches we wanted to remove.
SEALING OUTDOOR FURNITURE
There are many products on the market designed for sealing exterior surfaces. Many of those products contain toxic chemicals that overtime seep back into the Earth and ecosystem around you. The most environmentally friendly products that you can use are natural timber oil like hemp oil. And as an added bonus, Hemp Oil is food safe. Hemp oil requires a fresh coat at least annually, no prep required just apply allow to soak in for an hour or so and remove the excess.
Sealing with Hemp Oil
Hemp Oil gives you so many benefits for your exterior surfaces. A few to name are water resistance, colour conservation and giving you long lasting matte to satin finishes.
You want to apply it generously, allowing it to saturate your surface and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping the excess away. If you allow pools of Hemp Oil to sit for long periods of time, the oil could start to cure and may dry tacky.
The best part of applying oils to any surface is watching how rich with colour the surface becomes! You want to apply a minimum of 2 coats of Hemp Oil (24 hours between coats) for protection, but subsequent coats will give you more protection and less maintenance.
Maintaining Your Outdoor Furniture
If your finish starts to dull or look weathered, all that’s needed is a re-coat. There is no sanding or prep required, just continue to add your coats of Hemp Oil when you think your finish needs it.
What you’re left with is a beautiful and natural finish that is both pleasing to the eye and to the environment!
Doesn’t this chair look fabulous? It’s definitely had quite a transformation from a standard store bought chair to this custom look that is ready for many nights cozied up by the fire with a nice glass of wine!
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