Painting Deck Beams

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Old 06-13-08, 10:58 AM
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Question Painting Deck Beams

I have 4x6 deck beams (fur I believe). They are 18' above grade, so ground moisture is not a problem. I want to make them last as long as possible. The deck is about 3 years old, and has not been treated with anything.

Should I paint them? I can't paint the top surface, so I am worried that moisture will seep in from the top, not be able to get out, and paint will make the situation worse.

Can I paint the sides but not the bottom?
Would stain or just oil be better?
Appearance is not a problem, just longevity.

If I paint them, I would like to use 100% Acrylic Latex.

Thanks much,
 
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Old 06-13-08, 03:50 PM
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I'd use a semi-transparent oil or waterborne stain on them. The waterborne is similiar to oil but it cleans up with water. Because it's somewhat shielded from the weather, the coating should hold up for a long time.


Can you coat the majority of the top with a roller?
 
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Old 06-14-08, 08:41 AM
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Top Surface of Beams

The top surface is almost entirely covered by the decking material (IPE).
 
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Old 06-14-08, 08:57 AM
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Terminology

Sorry, I think that I have used an incorrect term. The Wood in question is actually a joist, not a beam. But, the situation is the same. The boards are pretty well protected from sunlight.
 
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Old 06-14-08, 01:15 PM
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slowillie,

Your concern about the joist tops is well founded. THAT is the weakest point of the deck since that's exactly where moisture and debris is going to collect, and that is going to cause the joist top to rot LONG before any other part of the deck does.

That's exactly why I use PT for the framing (not just untreated doug fir) and why I cover the joist tops with Vycor before installing the decking.

Ipe and most composites come with a very long life expectancy and warranty -- usually 20 to 25 years or "Lifetime". Untreated doug fir joists will last about 15 years.

Painting/sealing the sides and the bottoms of the joists isn't going to make them last any longer. It's the TOPS that take the beating.
 
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