I am completing a large round pedestal table, made from construction grade 2x lumber. I’m thinking of finishing it with chalk paint and putting it outside on our covered patio (covered on three sides). Even though I live in Phoenix, it shouldn’t get exposed to a lot of sun, and it only rains a couple of times a year in the summer. My question is this: Will the chalk paint hold up? Should I use wax and/or sealer on it or should I put something like Minwax Helmsman varnish on it? – Robert Sisung
Chris Marshall: Chalk paint sure is trendy these days and there are lots of attractive colors, but it really isn’t intended for exterior furniture — and if things on your patio receive even a bit of wetness from rain every now and again, I’d call that an “exterior” situation. If this were my table, I’d choose an exterior paint in a flat sheen instead of using chalk paint. Considering the overwhelming range of paint colors at any hardware store or home center, I’ll bet you can find a color that comes real close to the chalk paint you have in mind, with the added benefit that you won’t have to worry about it ever getting damp. The paint will be formulated to stand up to it, and a “flat” sheen will approximate that chalky look you want.
Tim Inman: Nothing outside will hold up forever. Chalk paint will, well, chalk. How long it will last depends on the binder (the “stick-‘em”) used with the paint base. Even though you don’t anticipate water or wet surfaces, the daily/nightly change in temps and humidity will have a moisture degradation effect. If you want the paint to last a long time, then choose a modern exterior-grade product. Once it’s selected, move toward making THAT product look like an antique chalk or milk paint surface. You’ll want something that is dead flat in sheen with subdued colors — colors that are “greyed out” instead of bright intense pigments.