I built a rough wood frame out of 2x3s for some solar panels. It's fully exposed to the weather. I would like to paint it with something to protect it, but I'm not sure what the best option is.

Solar panel frame

For example, I could use deck stain, exterior paint, "barn paint" or something else.

My priorities, in order are:

  • Cheap

  • Long lasting

  • Easy to apply

It doesn't need to look pretty, although it would be nice if it ages gracefully and doesn't get all peely after a couple of years.

What type of coating should I use?

  • 1
    Your least expensive option would have been to purchase pressure treated wood and then not worry about coating it at all. That ship has sailed, evidently.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24, 2023 at 23:02
  • Surface prep is important to prevent peeling. Give the complete outside a good set of sanding, clean the surface well, and use at least a couple of coats of a good primer recommended by your exterior paint manufacturer. Although typically you are told you can top coat within an hour or so of applying the primer, I would let the primer fully dry for 48 hours or more before you apply the top coats. That will also let you notice and cover any areas you missed with the primer.
    – Armand
    Apr 25, 2023 at 5:04

1 Answer 1


The most durable coating for the frame you depicted is exterior latex paint (I prefer modern latex formulations to oil). If applied properly, it will outlast other exterior sealers by a good bit and recoating is simple if needed.

The biggest concern I have is that I don't see any anchors holding that structure down.

The second biggest concern I have is that it doesn't look like pressure treated at all; the wood touching the concrete block should be pressure treated.

I would paint it, add pressure treated blocks where the concrete blocks are by screwing in through the top, paint the screws, and secure it to the ground with some ground anchors (the screw in kind work very well and are quite strong).

  • Solar panels do not like it when they are toss around with the wind. Anchoring is much more important than paint/protecting the wood.
    – crip659
    Apr 24, 2023 at 22:37
  • Thank you crip, noted, but this question is about protecting the wood.
    – Drew
    Apr 25, 2023 at 2:04

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