Here's the story: Don't paint, seal, stain, or otherwise coat anything. Ever. Well, okay, there are a couple exceptions. Cob construction, for example, needs to be sealed with natural coatings to protect it from the weather. It's also okay to use a penetrating natural stain to color wood or concrete and then let it weather naturally. The key is to avoid toxic materials and laborintensive processes. Use materials that have an integral finish — such as stone, wood, concrete, brick, and tile — and then leave them alone to age naturally. These materials look good just as they are. If you start applying finishes, you'll find no end to the scraping, sanding, sandblasting, priming, painting, and related chores that you'll have to do.
Maybe you don't give a hoot about the environment. Maybe you hate the environment. Fine. Just suppose that you never have to do any of this tedious work again. That's okay even though it's good for the environment, right? So lay off the finishes, and enjoy being lazy.
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