I recently got around to repainting the wooden cabin at the end of my garden and chose Cuprinol's Garden Shades in delightful Seagrass colour. I discovered something rather unexpected however, that others would be well advised to heed before they embark on a similar mission!

This paint is dead clever and develops a waxy surface in order to repel rainwater and protect your wood. Unfortunately, being a water-based paint, this means it may also repel your attempts to apply a second coat! As you can see in my picture above, it's like painting on glass and the new paint just beads up into globules as it can't stick to the previous coat.

It distressed me rather when I discovered this phenomenon and a call to Cuprinol followed as soon as I could look up their number. After a bit of a wait a very knowledgable young lady gave me the lowdown on what was going wrong. She recommended I rub the surface down with methylated spirits to break down that waxy layer and I'm glad to say that this did indeed do the trick, though it adds a whole lot of extra faff to the process.

I note that on the can it does say "allow 2-8 hours between coats" and with the benefit of hindsight and the explanation from Cuprinol, I see that this is presumably intended as a range with an upper bound. I had left it for a week, and this allowed that waxy surface to develop, so I should have recoated much sooner. However this text is decidely ambigious and can easily be read as a minimum only, stated as a range due to differing drying times according to conditions. It is especially likely that your average reader will interpret it so, as most paint cans provide just a minimum. Interestingly their website states it a bit differently: "Where a second coat is required, allow up to 8 hours in between coats." It still neglects to explain why this is, the importance of it, and what to do if you are unable to comply.

So be warned that the innocuous statement on the can is actually very important. Sadly this means you have to set aside enough time in one block to coat everything once, allow it to dry sufficiently then recoat. Otherwise you'll have to get the meths out. Either way this adds a major inconvenience and the cynic in me suspects that's why they're reluctant to explain it properly on the can. The nice lady on the phone did say that they get loads of phone calls about this exact problem and are considering how they can improve the instructions. I want to see a very clear explanation of what happens and why, in a big bold box that draws attention. It should also describe the meths workaround. To do anything less is to fail the customer.

FWIW, I'm now very pleased with the results and will use the product again. I would have been so much happier if I hadn't had to go through this saga, which involved holding on their expensive-from-a-mobile phone line for ages, and a major expedition to find somewhere with meths in stock.