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HELP!! Painting Pressure Treated Lumber

Adam_Green's picture

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I need to paint a press treated fence that I’m currently installing. But the usual problems of P/T lumber persist. How dry does the wood have to be and what type of paint is best? Talked with the Sherwin Williams rep and they recommend letting it dry in the weather for 6 to 8 mos. This kind of defeats my plan to paint the rails prior to installing them to save the hassle of brushing/spraying each individual rail (3) for 1200’.

The lumber has been drying for several months stacked with sticks allowing air to get to both sides of the boards. SW reps say this isn’t enough and that the summer of drying and the arduous task of painting after installed is the only choice.

I’m figuring on using an oil based primer with a gloss latex on top for finish coat. Stains aren’t an option since the climate here in West Central Georgia lends to a lot of mildew growth and I can’t find a stain that looks like white paint. I’m also looking for something that will give me as little maintenance as possible, considering it’s a fence and the location.

Any ideas?

(post #171149, reply #8 of 21)

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15 years ago I put PT lattice to hide the empty space under my front porch. I painted it with primer and two finish coats of the same oil-based paint that I used on the rest of the house. I painted it as soon as it was installed. The paint lasted better on the lattice than anywhere else on the house: in fact I have yet to re-paint it!

Bob

(post #171149, reply #14 of 21)

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I'm building the support structure for a synthetic deck out of Pressure Treated lumber that's rated for above ground use only. Cosmetics is not an issue as the joists et al will not be seen. The build site is in So. Calif. If I use this lumber as is, what kind of life expectancy can I get out of this wood?

(post #171149, reply #17 of 21)

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lattice and lumber.......no correlation

(post #171149, reply #19 of 21)

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David Mason of the Southern Pine council in Kennar, LA can answer most questions re Pressure Treated Pine. Search the Web for Southern Pine Council.
I am quoting him here from a personal response to questions I once submitted to him.

"For your added information, 0.25 lb. per cubic foot (PCF). ft treatment retention levels are approved only for exterior exposures ABOVE ground. That is to say, NOT in contact with the ground or in the water.

A boardwalk or dock in fresh water rather than salt water does not require very high retention levels of chemical to protect the lumber since marine borers are only a problem in salt or brackish water. You would never need a 2.5 lbs/cu.ft treatment level unless your timber was submerged in salt water where marine borers are present.

Be most concerned about the components of your deck or other structure that are actually in contact with the ground or in the water. As the Southern Pine Council specifies you need at least a 0.40 lbs/cuft treatment level in these members for full protection.

Timber treated only to 0.25 lb/cu ft is not the proper treatment level for any type of post stock in contact with the ground or in the water.

Big timbers treated only to the 0.25 level have a lot of heartwood in them and do not take full treatments like the smaller members (2" material), Such large timbers treated only to the 0.25 cu/ ft level will in all probability be the first members to decay or the bugs get in them. It may not happen for a number of years or they could fail in as few
as 6 years or less.
Dave Mason
Director, Treated Markets
Southern Forest Products Association

Email: dmason@sfpa.org
Tel: 504.443.4464
Fax: 504.443.6612

(post #171149, reply #20 of 21)

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I need to paint a press treated fence that I’m currently installing. But the usual problems of P/T lumber persist. How dry does the wood have to be and what type of paint is best? Talked with the Sherwin Williams rep and they recommend letting it dry in the weather for 6 to 8 mos. This kind of defeats my plan to paint the rails prior to installing them to save the hassle of brushing/spraying each individual rail (3) for 1200’.

The lumber has been drying for several months stacked with sticks allowing air to get to both sides of the boards. SW reps say this isn’t enough and that the summer of drying and the arduous task of painting after installed is the only choice.

I’m figuring on using an oil based primer with a gloss latex on top for finish coat. Stains aren’t an option since the climate here in West Central Georgia lends to a lot of mildew growth and I can’t find a stain that looks like white paint. I’m also looking for something that will give me as little maintenance as possible, considering it’s a fence and the location.

Any ideas?

(post #171149, reply #1 of 21)

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Go to six different paint stores, you'll get six different answers. Ask why, and you'll get six different reasons. The paint's instructions for wood contain no mention of PT lumber. Wonder why not, if it's a major concern. SW's Web site has a Q&A feature. You could always go to the source.

(post #171149, reply #2 of 21)

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I paint pressure treated wood upon completion of installation all the time. I have never had a problem. I also paint the wood before installation in some cases, and still no problem. I do, however, wait for the surface of the wood to be dry (no visible moisture beading out of it). If your wood has been drying for awhile, it should be safe to paint without causing a problem.

I use Zinsser brand Bullseye 1-2-3 (two coats minimum) and a top quality acrylic enamel paint. I have never had a problem before.

Evidently Sherwin Williams paints and primers have had some problems when applied over new pt wood. That would tell me to go to another brand.

Just a thought...

James DuHamel

(post #171149, reply #3 of 21)

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Sherwin Williams along with Benjamin Moore, Flood products and Cuprinol have been very very good to me...That said, if you want a white fence and no mildew and paint hassles, then you should be installing a vinyl fence they are the absolute best for this purpose bar none and no vinyl disliken FHBer is gonna change my thoughts on this...

near the vinyl is final and gorgeous fenced stream,

aj

(post #171149, reply #4 of 21)

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...i use the same recipe as James..

and here's my theory...and it works in practise...

get it visibly dry.. prime and paint it..

if some of it peels , too bad.. scrape the minimal area off and recoat it..

the alternative is leaving it out in the weather for 6 months.. by that time it wil be so checked and split it won't be worth painting..

so ,, your's is already as dry as any we've done with excellent results..

want better results.. change to another species of wood..

(post #171149, reply #5 of 21)

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Adam,

I never known a good painter that would stand behind painting pressure treated lumber. There is just to much moisture deep inside the lumber that will leach out over time. They do stain it all the time with no problems. Just a thought.

Ed. Williams

(post #171149, reply #6 of 21)

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Stain would be better for a lot of reasons, the most relevant being that when the latex fails it will be a scraping job like you've never seen. Over cedar, Cabot's makes a really good white that you can't tell isn't paint from, say 15 feet away. May be a bit tougher to hide over pressure-treated though. I know you said no stain but there are mildewcide agents that can be added to paints and stains before application. Maybe someone has tried them outside in the south? I've used Cabot's brown stain on fence posts in the woods (so you can't see them) and it has held up fairly well over PTW (2-3 coats).

Jeff Clarke

(post #171149, reply #7 of 21)

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ADAM:
DON'T!!!! PTW and paint seem to be mutually exclusive,something about the arsenic compunds in the preservative and a chemical incompatability w/ paint resins(latex).
I prefer stain whenever possible-put it in the wood,not on the wood. One project did specify painting PTW:
First I powerwashed,then I sanded, then I stained w/ a solid body alkyd. The next year I sanded lightly,and painted-been good for 3 yrs. now. Is using a stain as a primer ethical/responsible? It performed well...
But really,PTW is not meant to be anything different.
Best,LRZ.
b DECORUM PAINTING

(post #171149, reply #9 of 21)

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lemme say it again.. it ain't the pressure treatment that's screwin it up... it's the species..

but you can get excellent results with the menu James described.. and for a fence.. go for it..

there may be some small areas that haven't finished leaching... just as there are some areas in the Southern Yellow Pine species that have pitch pockets that are going to present a problem... but for a fence.. you ain't going to have any problems..

and.. the real question here. is ?? do i wait six months after it has been installed to prime and paint it???

answer...no, paint it as soon as you install it and the surface moisture is gone, because otherwise it will start to split and check...

or prime and paint it before you even put it up..

b but hey , whadda i know?

(post #171149, reply #10 of 21)

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Apparently James, Mike, and I all use Zinser 123 a high quality latex primer and high quality 100% acrylic top coats. The biggest weakness in fence painting, is the unpainted surfaces nailed to each other, in the paint after installation senario. Water gets in these areas and tries to leave by blowing the paint off other surfaces. Paint now is as good as it'll get. And skip the oil IMO.

joe d

(post #171149, reply #11 of 21)

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Ignorance truly is bliss sometimes.... Had a little project a couple of years ago that had some P/T wood that I wanted to paint. Being prone to wanting to ignore the implications of something like this and pretend they're not there, I just went right on ahead and painted it.... With no problems to date. Didn't wait for the wood to dry or anything; just painted it lickity split. Even used latex primer....

Sam

(post #171149, reply #12 of 21)

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Mssrs. DuHamel and Smith know whereof they speak in this matter - I have followed their advice with good results (i.e. sticker for a few weeks, oil-based primer, latex topcoat). The one additional measure I would recommend is to paint the ends of the boards as soon as you get them home from the lumber yard. This will slow drying from the endgrain and minimize splitting. A thick coat of the primer works fine for this.

(post #171149, reply #13 of 21)

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Gentlemen. We always misted water on the wood. If it beaded-up the wood was too wet to paint/stain. If t he water spread out on thre surface is is ready to paint/ stain. Never had a problem. GeneL.

(post #171149, reply #15 of 21)

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if it's .040 retention SYP, then it'll last either 2-3 years or 40 years ..

the 2-3 year is for the occasional defective piece.. and the 40 years is for everyting else that is installed vertical...like posts and joists....

the only PT that disintegrates fast is decking left to split and check in the sun...

if you have an agressive termite problem.. they will go after the PT also....if there is nothing else for them to chew on.....

(post #171149, reply #16 of 21)

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.25 is rated for above ground use, and .40 is rated for ground contact.

.60 or.75 is rated for marine use, or direct prolonged contact with water.

Do not use .25 for your structure if you want it to last any length of time. Use .40 and you should get a lifetime (at least YOUR lifetime) of use out of it.

Just my thought...

James DuHamel

Painting the Dog gone wood! (post #171149, reply #21 of 21)

Thanks for the info. James.  I have been building on the Coastal Carolinias for over 30 years and painting salt treated lumber, and getting it to stay on longer than 3 years, has been a loosing proposition.  I have tried all of the methods above and have not had good results.  I have even tried Marine Boat Paints (now they will seperate one from his wallet)--so, if you have any new ideas, other that from the days when paint was paint and it protected buildings but of course one couldn't drink it, please let me know.

Jboatb@gmail.com

 

Jimbo Ward

(post #171149, reply #18 of 21)

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Maybe he could find some lead-based paint and seal the arsenic in with it.....

: )