Can pressure treated lumber be stained?

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Old 07-14-05, 02:33 PM
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Can pressure treated lumber be stained?

I'm in the planning stages of building a patio cover, and the wood beams/joists will be exposed.

I'd like to use PT lumber for its availability and resistance to rot & insects, but HATE the greenish color.

Can I stain the stuff successfully? Recommendations for specific brands/products would be great.

I'd love to get close to the look of fresh redwood; that nice, Southwestern reddish/brown color. What color stain will hide the green and give me that nice deep "sienna" color I'm looking for (or close to it)?

Lastly - how often should I plan on re-staining the wood?

Thanks in advance for any advice/ideas.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 04:04 PM
Mikeydude
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Hi,

I may be one of the only people here to think this way, but I'd stay away from the PT stuff. Especially since you're going to treat the wood anyway. I had to rebuild some portions of my back porch and built an extension deck onto it using PT stuff. I followed the lumber yards instructions of letting it "cure" for 2 months before painting/staining it to let it dry some. There were 2 4X4s used as a roof support and the joists and deck were done with 2X6s and 2X4s. Within 2 years every single board used has warped beyond recognition... including the 4X4 roof supports. It all needs replacement, not because the wood has deteriorated... but because it's so warped.

I'm also a ROPES instructor. We built a 60 ft. tall rock climbing wall and used PT 2X6 attached to telephone poles. The PT stuff has warped pretty bad on that wall too.

My suggestion is since you're going to be painting or staining the wood anyway... go with a standard non-treated 2X6 like yellow pine. Sand it good and it'll take a stain well. You should only have to retreat it every 3-5 years which you'll have to do with PT also. Being stained or painted it'll resist insects and weather damage just fine. Just make sure you treat the entire board (like the ends). This is just my opinion, but I've had really bad experiences with PT lumber.


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Old 07-14-05, 04:38 PM
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I appreciate the opinions, Mikey.

I, too, have witnessed warping of PT lumber. However, I was not / am not convinced that the PT was the cause.

Won't untreated lumber warp, also?

Truth be told, I'd RATHER use untreated wood; it's lighter, cheaper, and easier to work with, IMHO. But I worry about resistance to insects - especially those huge carpenter bees.

In my previous home in NY (I'm now in Arizona), I had tons of carpenter bees that drilled into cedar - which is supposed to be insect resistant. The cedar had also been sealed (though the sealer was old and not in great shape).

The weather here in AZ is extraordinarily dry. So if I can get away with using untreated lumber, and NOT have it warp or be attacked by insects, I'll be in great shape.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Anyone else think PT lumber is a waste?
 
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Old 07-14-05, 04:55 PM
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Carpenter bees are tunneling into my neighbors new PT porch roof we installed 3 months ago.. So dont assume PT means bug proof.

PT lumber is wet when you buy it, when it dries it warps. If you can find KDAT PT lumber, pay the extra 15% for it. Its kiln dried PT.. its lighter, its dry and i havent seen it warp yet.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 08:15 PM
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PT warps because it is still wet from the pressure treating. I agree using dried PT is better. I wouldn't use untreated lumber unless it is cedar or redwood. IMO PT rarely warps if nailed/screwwed correctly. Drying lumber is no match for the wrong [or lack of] nails. I don't believe anything will stop the borer bees but direct contact with insectide or a thump with a board. I have primed new wood and come back the next day and find bee holes in it.
 
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Old 07-15-05, 08:43 AM
bonwagner
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Mikeydude,

just read your reply. I have a question for you or anybody. I used PT lumber to build my deck. I will be using white vinyl lattice and using a board to go over that as a piece of trim board on the side. Would it be safe to use untreated pine and paint it on all sides.

The reason i would like to use the untreated pine is because of the cost and i want to use a 1 X 12 board and i don't even think they make that in PT lumber.

Help from anyone would be appreciated.

Thanks

Bonnie
 
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Old 07-15-05, 12:42 PM
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All wood exposed ot the elements need to be treated every few years. How often depends on the exposure and the quality of the sealer. Good rule of thumb - 1 year for every $10/gallon.

I agree with the others. Use something besides pt in this application.
 
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Old 09-30-08, 02:44 PM
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I'm planning building a pergola on my roof deck. I purchased all the lumber I needed (2x4, 2x6, 4x4, and 4x6) all PT from Home Depot and had it delivered a few weeks ago.

The deck being on the 4th floor and having no way to get it up there through the house, I rented an electric scissor lift. That was an adventure, but at least I got all the wood up there.

Neatly stacked according to type, it's been up there for about 2.5 weeks now. The first week was fine: it rained a bit, but the wood remained as it had been.

Then I was out of town for a week (during which I do not believe it rained), and when I got back I see that several of the pieces are BADLY warped: bowed, twisted, even curved on the long side in some cases.

Despite all the cost and effort already expended in getting the wood up there, it's giving me pause as to whether I should even start this project if the wood is going to be so un-true. I flipped some of the pieces to make it bow-side up, and clamped it down in a few spots. This may help marginally, but I doubt it solves the problem.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-30-08, 04:22 PM
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It would have been better to assemble your pergola shortly after the wood was delivered. All wet/green wood has a tendancy to warp as it dries. Having it nailed/screwed in place helps to prevent warpage. You may not be able to use some of the badly warped pieces
 
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Old 10-01-08, 08:57 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I think I was thinking the reverse: that added moisture would cause the warping. It makes much more sense what you say: the wood was relatively green when I got it, and sitting out in the sun is accelerating the drying process.

I think most of the pieces are workable. So I guess I'll just plunge into the project, using the best ones first. And seeing that if in the process in attaching, I can't straighten them out. As none of the pieces are yet cut, I can see about returning the worst ones. (Though getting it down and the new pieces back up will be a challenge).

Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-02-08, 03:40 PM
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hihoslva,

I have read each of the replies to your question and I didn't see one of them that was any sort of a testimonial for using wood to build your cover!!

As noted, it warps, (splitting and cracking weren't mentioned), you have to refinish it every couple of years or so, and bugs eat it.

Those are some of the reasons that I install aluminum covers -- my customers never have to worry about any of those things. Maintenance is a water hose every year or so to wash off the dirt.
 
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