I want to protect and preserve a painted birdhouse so the colors stay and I can leave it outside year-round. What’s the best finish coating to use? –Ned DuBeck
Tim Inman: Old Sol is the enemy. Sunlight (specifically UV light) will fade your colors unless they are sun-fast/light-fast pigments. Even if they are, UV will ultimately destroy the paint binders holding them on the birdhouse. A good UV paint/coating will help longer, but not forever. I think you would be happier bringing the house in when the wrens leave for the season. Or, enjoy it and just be ready to repaint once in a while.
Chris Marshall: Ned, you’re on the right track to use an exterior primer and paint as opposed to a clear wood finish — as Tim points out, paint stands up to the elements better than varnishes would. But, nothing lasts forever, especially in the sun. Buy a good quality house paint and, if possible, locate the birdhouse where it will get some amount of daily shade. That will help, too.