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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

December, 2001

Permit for Painting Outdoors

Q. Hi Ron, I have a couple of questions. I am bidding a job to power wash a deck at a marina, and to recoat the surface with a wood preservative.This job is located right on a ocean tributary.

#1 Do I need a permit, and where would I recieve one?
#2 Who should I call in the Ocean City, MD area?
#3 Are there special products to use on the deck surface that are compatable?

A. Thanks for your email. In all probability you will not need a permit, but I don't know your local regulations. Therefore, you should first confirm this with your local air quality agency. I don't know who this might be in Ocean City, but if you look on the web at you can follow the leads until you find someone in the air pollution office who can answer your question.

May I suggest that if you are told that you don't need a permit, get the person's name and number and make a note of it so that you have something to fall back on if things go wrong?

You might be required to use coatings or sealers that meet the state's air pollution regulations. Again, the best source of information will come from the state or local air pollution office. If there is a regulation that applies to you, get a copy and read it thoroughly.

Generally, low VOC coatings are sealers that are sold in California will be acceptable throughout the country, but don't take my word for it. Check it out! Finally, not all low-VOC coatings and sealers provide great performance, especially in aggressive environments, so check that out too.

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