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What is the best way to finish exterior of flow hive?

My father has just assembled our flow hive and we are wondering what the best exterior finish is? We thought Spar varnish? Wondering what experience people have had with different finishes in terms of breathability, mould and moisture buildup. Will wait before we proceed any further.
Thanks for any info!

What wood type is it

The hive is Araucaria wood

I have been using exterior grade acrylic house paint, it is a water based paint so it is quick to clean up the brush. I apply 3 thick coats and don’t use a primer paint, allow a 24 hour drying time before coats. Even an extra coat is worth doing.


I’ve Tung oiled mine to keep the natural wood look for as long as possible and have a shelter for my Araucaria.

I’ll paint it with exterior wood paint when it becomes a bit shabby.

Please don’t. You will definitely regret it. It will look nice for the first few weeks though.

I used spar marine varnish on my first hive and in the sun it gets brittle and cracks, especially with inspection handling. The roof was pretty much ruined with the rot as it gets to deteriorate first due to its design. Then moisture will go between the varnish and wood and it will rot.

Varnish, especially any oil based ones are not a good idea for hives. Best is water based exterior paints, which will remain a bit flexible.


OMG LOL I used Bher deck over deck paint on my roofs. It’s had my roofs looking good for the 4th season now. I also tried an acrylic top coat on one and that’s been a fantastic finish. But I’ve used Behr water based exterior paint on the bodies of the hives except foe the one I stained with Rit dye. All of them are doing great. To clean up I use a heat gun to soften propalis and wax so not to gouge the wood. So far so good except where the bees chewed some wood.

thanks everyone for the advice! I was also looking at Chalk paint, without the wax finish as an option? Supposed to be very durable outside?

If you want durable, stick with a water based exterior paint on a pine hive. You can get it in any shade or hue you like. Give three coats or follow manufacturer’s instructions.