Help selecting an exterior stain for kids play set

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Old 11-12-19, 02:22 PM
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Help selecting an exterior stain for kids play set

Hi there. Need advice on wood stain for an exterior project (non pressure treated pine/whiteboard “treefort”). Oil vs. water based stain. Semi-trans vs. semi-solid.

Background - Had a family member staying at our home (housesitting). And they built my kids a “tree fort.” Not actually in a tree; its built on 6”x”6” posts. About 5 feet off ground. Kids were over the moon about it. Nice gesture. Seems well built. The base that is on ground is pressure treated wood. But the bulk of it (railing/ladder/little fort up top) I can see is just pine. Is not pressure treated.

Wondering what is the best type of stain since that wood is not treated. Has rained a couple times and I swear I already see some mildew spots. So I want to get it stained ASAP. Wife wants it lite gray. So I am need something tintable. I will wash it with deck wash or something first even though its less than 3 weeks old its got some dirt on it and again, what may be mildew or mold. I know that can increase my wait time here

Should I do an oil or water based deck stain, or does it matter? Is there more protection with one or the other? if I go semi-solid vs. semitransparent is there more protection? The wood is not super high quality so I only want to see some grain but don’t want solid paint like look…ie, I don’t want more than semi-solid at most. Very much appreciate the gesture by my uncle but don’t want the wood swelling and splitting in a year. Also worried about dry times. We have pets that are hard to keep out of the backyard for long periods. So worried an oil may take days to dry…and it rains a lot in these parts in the fall here. But if oil is far superior in terms of holding Up, I can just wait for a 4 day dry spell (2 to let the wood dry oit post-wash, and 2 to dry post application). If wood will have to be super dry if I use oil (which I read it does) which could be tricky in November. It already feels “wet” just from humidity. I was just planning to roll and brush mainly since it’s a simple layout and I have no sprayer.

I should also mention there is artificial “pet” turf underneath. If that matters for the products I use to clean or stain. Would obviously cover it.

Any advice on products/brands is appreciated. Guy at big box said to just go with water based Valspar deck stain for ease of DIY install. But that all they sell really. I want a second opinion. Thanks !
 
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Old 11-12-19, 02:27 PM
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Oil base will seal the wood better than water based. That said, most untreated woods don't fare well when exposed to the elements like this fort/deck will. I suspect it won't matter too much what type of stain you use.
 
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Old 11-12-19, 03:04 PM
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I know; it’s a bummer the wood selection but it’s only been a couple weeks so I am hoping it can be salvaged. Hard to get mad at my uncle. He is well into his 70’s. Impressed he did what he did! Sounds like oil will give it the best chance. Just worried about the weather here. Getting down into low 40’s at night and high chance of rain daily this time of year. So may have to go water based just as a quick fix. Otherwise I know the wood has to be really dry for oil right? Could I come over the top later with a oil based when conditions are more stable?
 
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Old 11-12-19, 03:28 PM
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Generally it isn't a good idea to apply oil stain over water based stain.

Other than slowing down the drying time cool temps won't affect oil stain too much. A light rain over tacky oil stain won't hurt it other than maybe making it look a little splotch BUT the wood does need to be dry before oil is applied. It should be dry before a water based stain is applied but it is a little more forgiving.
 
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Old 11-12-19, 05:57 PM
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Guy at big box said to just go with
So this was first mistake, most of those guys don't know paint from stain.

Water based stain is ok for indoor use, not for something that is outside exposed to elements.

Wood outside for short period of time is not going to rot away, you can wait till spring when it warms up, clean and stain with no issues!

Want an excellent stain, Sikkens, about the best on the market, after 10 years my outdoor stain is just now needing some touch up, cant beat that!
 
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Old 11-13-19, 05:17 AM
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Wood outside for short period of time is not going to rot away, you can wait till spring when it warms up, clean and stain with no issues!
I disagree, if it was PT pine, cedar, redwood or cypress or if it had more protection like siding does I would agree but since this is basically a deck - regular framing lumber will deteriorate quickly when moisture is allowed to set on it regularly.
 
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Old 11-13-19, 08:51 AM
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will plan to go the oil route next week....after a short stretch of unseasonably cool temps this week here in NC (with rain) we dry out and are back up into the low 60s during day and low to mid 40s at night. Got a solid 5-6 days of dry forecast. So will plan to have it cleaned and prepped (little sanding of rough spots) and ready to dry out and apply. I think with those temps oil should be ok as long as humidity is low? Can put a shop fan on it too to help Expedite dry out

thanks everyone
 
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Old 11-13-19, 10:09 AM
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regular framing lumber will deteriorate quickly when moisture is allowed to set on it regularly
So all the homes/buildings built in America that sit out in the elements for weeks, months, seasons at a time before roofs and siding are installed are prone to certain failure?

Has never happened to any home we built for ourselves our customers or any other builder that we work with!

I will not say it's a desirable situation but it doesn't mean certain failure!
 
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Old 11-13-19, 10:15 AM
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It's not often that houses go months before being dried in but using framing lumber for decking is a lot different - more horizontal surface area to collect moisture. Before advantech the floors were problematic if they got rained on too many times.
 
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Old 11-13-19, 10:26 AM
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You do not want to force it to dry.
You want it to soak into and bond with the wood.

Even a month would not make a difference in my opinion.
It is important that the wood get a chance to dry out.
I use cedar or pressure treated outside but always leave it a year before putting a finish on it as it seems to do a better job.I am not sure this would apply to pine.
 
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Old 11-13-19, 10:31 AM
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The pine is likely kiln dried and shouldn't need to dry other than from rain.

Here in the southeast I've seen dozens of decks built with framing pine that were pretty much toast after a few years - even if stained/painted. A roof does make a big difference.
 
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Old 11-13-19, 02:58 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback
 
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