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Just white paint will work fine. You will want something light in color to get the most light out of whatever lighting you use. Paint is cheap and easy and meant to seal wood. I use a slick shiny paint so it is easy to wipe down when needed. You will probably want to leave a fair amount of opening on the back to let heat from the lights get out the back. this will help keep the condensation down as well. One of the first questions on my canopy was getting the heat out when I first moved down here. I was not used to having the type heat buildup I found here.
 

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It will be fine once dry. A good paint will actually be bonded down into the wood on the first coat then the second coat adheres well to the paint itself. I really like using oil base paint for the way it soaks into the wood. Many places will tell you it is being done away with but that has been going on since about 1980. Just check a different store. Let the painted stuff dry and air out totally before using it and it will last really well. Oil based makes a smoother harder surface so that it can be wiped off. It is what they use for cabinets and such that take a lot of abuse. Other things will work but this is what I find works well. Poly[/list] and such resist water but don't give a white finish.
 

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Spray paint may not work as well as it tends to lay a very thin layer on the surface. It takes a bit more use to get it so that it soaks in without running. Fine line between too close and runs and too far and drying before it reaches the surface. Can be done by good painters but not by me. I do recommend the Rustoleum oil base for brush work. That is the brand I use for all my stands and camopies. Watch out for the Rustoleum latex. It was a total bust for me. Streaky runny mess that took forever to cover fully.
 

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ZackG said:
What is the best material to coat the inside of a canopy with to prevent rotting from evaporation?
I used a 'Minwax water based polycrylic' that you can find at a home improvement store. Four years later and no problems. Low odor, and cleans up with water. Use something that says it seals wood, as not all paint does. Also be sure to vent the canopy. I left the back of mine pretty much open.
 

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I painted mine with 2 coats of gloss latex white. No problems so far, and like prov's, my canopy is wide open in the back.
 
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