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Old 05-02-2006, 06:33 PM   #1
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Canopy Sealant?

Hi all,

I'm just about finished with my DIY Canopy. I've got some pics on my web site, and will do instructions if anyone wants when it's finished.

I framed it with 2x2's, and faced it with oak and some trim. Sealed the outside with Poly and will put a couple coats of gloss on, it should be super sweet when it's done!

My question - what should I seal the inside with? I'm going to be running about 200 watts of lights in there to grow live plants, so it's going to be very humid with the evaporation.

My goals are:
- seal the wood canopy so it doesn't rot.
- minimize chemical exposure for my fish and plants.

I've debated the following:
- poly
- some kind of deck sealant?
- contact paper or similar with silicone in the corners

I'm open to ideas. Thanks!

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Old 05-03-2006, 11:26 AM   #2
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Just use a white paint rated for outdoor use. It should repell water, and reflect light to boot. You shouldn't get too much condensation there, because the wood will be warmed by the lights.

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Old 05-03-2006, 11:26 AM   #3
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paint it white and use a lot of poly - thats my plan once I get moved, buy a new tank and start building the stand/canopy
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Old 05-03-2006, 04:57 PM   #4
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Auto and marine enamel works well to paint the surfaces, and you can caulk the seams with silicone or similar to seal the joints. Silicone has to go on top of the paint as paint will not stick to it.
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:38 PM   #5
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Yes, prime it and paint it white with an exterior paint, which is designed better for 'the elements'. Obviously oil based, marine paint, or epoxy paint are even more durable.

I'm assuming you're gonna run glass tops between the water and light? if so caulking and all that may not be too necessary.

It all depends on how much air can escape the back though. I build my canopies fairly simple, and with open backs to prevent wicked moisture buildup.

You should post your pics and design/blueprints. I'm about to do that for the super simple one I just built. Function over form, and light-weight cuz my old one took two people to remove for maintenance.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your replies! I like the idea of white paint, and I've worked with silicone a lot so doing the joints with it should be easy. I really don't want to use poly in there if I can avoid it, I think it'd leak a lot of fumes at higher temperatures.

Malkore - I'm not planning on running glass between the canopy and the lights. I'm going to do a planted tank, so I want the lights right there. I'm also using a moon light kit I bought on here (forgot the link) for night light, on a reverse timer from my grow lights. It should be super sweet.

The back will be more or less open, depending on how bad the light escapes it. If a lot of light escapes, I have a plan to drape it with black fabric in back and use fans. I work in IT so I already have an extra power supply and a handful of stealth fans I could use in there.

The canopy is over 12" high, and looks really nice. It should hold all the lights, a power strip, and any other equipment I need.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the project so far, but I like the tradeoffs:
- Spendy. I've spent more than I meant to, but I don't really care. I've enjoyed the work a lot and think it'll pay for itself in entertainment value. And let's face it, none of us would be happy if we weren't constantly tinkering.
- Time. Building and finishing my stand and canopy has taken at least 100 hours over the last year. But split up, it hasn't been that bad.
- Canopy Weight. This thing is 6' long, about 2' deep, and 12" high. All oak over 2x2's. That adds up. I can still lift it, but with lights and everything in it that's going to be harder. I already have a design in mind for a prop system. I'm going to build "legs" for the corners of the canopy so I can lift it 1/2 at a time and prop it up. I know that my plants are going to need maintenance, and I want to be able to do it when I'm alone.

I will post tons of pictures, blueprints, and my experiences when I'm finished. Hopefully some of you can learn from my mistakes.

You can get an idea of the canopy in my gallery at:

Talk to you soon!

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canopy, seal

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