looking for recommendations for painting a fence


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Old 03-12-08, 05:29 PM
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looking for recommendations for painting a fence

Hi All,

Recently had a new fence put in. It's a typical picket fence for our front yard. The lumber used is pressure treated.

I've painted a lot of rooms, trim, baseboards, etc. But never an exterior item. My thinking is to use water based primer and latex paint. I plan to spray, not brush.

So, I'm looking for what the experts would do. Also, what sheed should I use. I'm thinking semi-gloss, but want to get the opinions of others on the forum.

Thanks all !

Matt
 
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Old 03-12-08, 06:36 PM
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Freshly pressure-treated wood has an extremely high moisture content... let it sit for a few months to dry out before painting.

SirWired
 
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Old 03-12-08, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
Freshly pressure-treated wood has an extremely high moisture content... let it sit for a few months to dry out before painting.

SirWired
Really? A few months? Well that makes my job easy this weekend then...! Thanks !

Out of curiosity, what would happen if I chose to paint it right away? Also, curious again, is the wood 'aged' before it is sold, and if so, for how long?

Thanks !

Matt
 
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Old 03-13-08, 03:18 AM
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I would highly recomend using a stain instead of paint!!! No need to prime if using a stain and it's not likely to peel which means there is less prep involved when it's time to recoat.

Most of the lumber that's for sale is kiln dried which means it is less likely to shrink or warp. PT wood is wet from the PT process so it needs time to "dry" before you apply any coatings. Depending on location and weather factors, PT may be ready for paint/stain in as little as a few weeks or as long as 6 months.
 
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Old 03-13-08, 06:52 AM
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marksr, the wife wants it painted. Enough said...!

I'm in the SF Bay Area in CA. Mild climate. May get a few more showers but the weather is around 70 int he day and sunny. So what would you recommend as far as wait time to paint?

Also, would you use a water-based primer/latex/semi-gloss sheen, or would you recommend something else.

Thanks !

Matt
 
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Old 03-13-08, 07:16 AM
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I think the waiting time highly depends on the particular pressure-treating process, and the plant in which it was done.

The definitive answer is that the wood is ready to coat when the moisture content of the wood is less than what the primer and paint specifications call for. However, unless you own a moisture meter, this is admittedly not a useful answer.

If you paint when the moisture content is way too high, it is extremely likely that you will experience very premature failure of the paint, as the moisture rises to the surface and works its way under the paint.

To be safe, I would wait for a nice day in the fall to paint. Since it is pressure treated, you certainly won't have to worry about rot in that amount of time.

SirWired
 
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Old 03-13-08, 08:56 AM
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that's like 5-6 months from now.

Maybe I'll wait a couple months, at the most. I can't see having to wait 6 months.
 
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Old 03-13-08, 10:31 AM
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An oil base primer would be better than a latex primer provided the wood is dry Use a quality latex house paint for the finish. If the fence gets a lot of sun and wind, a few months may be enough - the only true way to tell is with a moisture meter. As noted above, a lot depends on how 'wet' the lumber was when it was installed.

Solid stains [latex or oil] can be tinted to most any color. 2 coats of solid stain while it may allow the grain texture to show, it won't show any wood grain. Kind of looks like a thin coat of paint. If you can sell the "boss" on stain, it will be easier on you but...........
 
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Old 03-13-08, 10:38 AM
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Thanks marksr. I doubt I can sell the stain to the boss, but itís worth a try. The good part is that is has to sit for a while, so maybe the unpainted look will grow on her. Also, Iíve head that a good rough test to see if the wood is dry enough would be to put some water droplets on the surface. If the wood absorbs the drops, then it is dry enough. If it beads up, then not dry enough yet. What do you think?

The fence gets full sun, all day. I really donít like oil based products, as they are a mess to clean up. Iíll be spraying, not brushing, and I donít really want to put oil based anything into the sprayer and then clean it with gallons of thinner.

What is the downside to using a water-based primer?

Thanks again,
Matt
 
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Old 03-13-08, 10:56 AM
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I think you are confusing solid stains with clear or tinted stains. Solid stain is as opaque as paint, it just has different surface properties.

SirWired
 
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Old 03-13-08, 11:01 AM
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Oil base primer does a better job of sealing the wood. If I was to use a latex primer, I'd use a quality latex primer like SWP's A-100 and add about 10% emulsa bond to it. The biggest problem with latex primers is they tend to let tannins and stains bleed thru them - not a big problem with PT.

The water droplet test is a good test for testing sealed/stained wood but I don't think it would work for unsealed wood.

It probably doesn't take as much thinner as you think to clean out an airless. I use less than 2 gallons when I clean mine and I have 100' of line [plus 3' whip] If I remember correctly the line holds a 1.5 qts. I always run thinner thru my pump and lines after cleaning up latex. This removes the water and prevents any rust or corrosion. The thinner can be saved in a can - the sediment will settle to the bottom and the clear can be used for the first rinse next time.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 09:48 AM
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If these are typical pickets, then only a few days of nice weather (week max) should be required for the wood to dry. It is actually undesireable to wait any longer than it takes for the wood to dry to get a coating on the wood. The US Forest Products lab did extensive tests over the years and found that any weathering at all, even a few weeks, will shorten the useful life of any coating. If tannin bleed isn't an issue, then best system is premium latex primer and 2 100% acrylic topcoats but you must be sure to do all 6 sides, especially the ends.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 10:23 AM
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dvab, The pickets and top rail are not pressure treated. Only the baseboard and the posts. So it's kind of a mixed bag; I'd like to paint right away, but what is the likelihood that this could damage the PT portions of the fence?
 
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Old 03-14-08, 10:41 AM
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Hey:

I don't want to spoil you planed painting party but.. It has been recomended here that you wait about 6 months to make sure the wood is dry.. My question to you is Why would you ignore the very advise the pros have given you? They say 6 months, you say 2... PT wood in our area (Atlanta) is soaked and it takes up to 6-7 months for it to dry out completely. Again, I am not trying to be the bad guy but your decision to paint in two months is kinda like going to the doctor, asking him what is wrong with you and then saying he doesn't really know what he is talking about.. Seems like you are getting ready to be frustrated if you paint on your own time rather than what has been recomended.
Good luck and please keep us posted on how it turns out.
Take care
Dan in Atlanta
 
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Old 03-14-08, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Danno30008 View Post
Hey:

I don't want to spoil you planed painting party but.. It has been recomended here that you wait about 6 months to make sure the wood is dry.. My question to you is Why would you ignore the very advise the pros have given you? They say 6 months, you say 2... PT wood in our area (Atlanta) is soaked and it takes up to 6-7 months for it to dry out completely. Again, I am not trying to be the bad guy but your decision to paint in two months is kinda like going to the doctor, asking him what is wrong with you and then saying he doesn't really know what he is talking about.. Seems like you are getting ready to be frustrated if you paint on your own time rather than what has been recomended.
Good luck and please keep us posted on how it turns out.
Take care
Dan in Atlanta
That is not my intention. Believe me, Iíd be more than happy to wait 6 months to paint. Iím seeing multiple responses with different answers, thatís all. Of particular concern is that most of the lumber is not PT; waiting 6 months to paint these boards, as far as one response, would be detrimental.

Iíd like to do what is right for the project; itís just that there are conflicting opinions.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 12:17 PM
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If you have a spare post from that lot, measure and weigh on a bath scale - I can calculate its "dry" weight, given the species (western hemlock?).
 
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Old 03-14-08, 12:22 PM
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nope, no spare lumber unfortunately. I'd like to get a duration that will 1) allow the PT to dry out sufficiently while 2) not damaging the non-PT wood by waiting too long.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 03:55 PM
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I didn't realize your fence wasn't all PT. For sure you want to prime and paint the non PT ASAP. Since only the posts and the bottom rail are PT, I'd go ahead and paint it all [not painting the PT but painting the rest would be better but..........] Use a latex primer as it will have a better chance on the wet PT.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 04:08 PM
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cool. Thanks. I'll probably paint it in the next week or so.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 04:26 PM
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Forgot to mention - if at all possible, you need to get a coat of paint on the bottom edge of the pickets - you don't want them to wick up any moisture


Ideally a job like yours, should have had primer and 1 coat of paint on all the untreated lumber prior to installation and then prime the PT and finish painting a few months later. Just in case you or anyone has a project like this in the future.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:25 PM
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thanks marksr. I'll make sure to hit the bottom of the pickets for sure.

Last question. It is raining on and off here. So how long do I need to let the wood dry out after a rain before I paint, and subsequently if it rains again, how long do I need to let the paint dry before the next rain?

Just trying to plan. Thanks.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:41 PM
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I would do this with a solid color exterior oil based stain. On every surface bottom to top. Two coats. Make sure the cans are shook up well at the store. Your wife will not notice any difference from paint and solid color stain. This should be the way to go for the least upkeep. I do not recommend paint.

Olympic stains are good. I believe they are under a different label now.

You do need to make sure the moisture outside is dry. Also for the the next two days after you are done. Oil products are much more sensitive then water borne products when coating outside.


Sherwin Williams does have a product called "Deckscapes" that is water borne and used for fences and decks. Oil will last longer.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:45 PM
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interesting. My wife wants a white fence. That would be great if I could stain it. Can I apply the same way as paint; i.e. spray it on, or do I need to brush it on/rub it in?

Also, what is the benefit over paint?

Can you provide a link so I can start doing a little research?

Thanks !
Matt
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:50 PM
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I am sure SW paints has stain in white. Do it in oil though. Spraying is really easy in stain. Bottom line is......paint will peel if any moisture gets behind it. On the house this is less likely. On a fence......welll more likely.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by nagra4s View Post
I am sure SW paints has stain in white. Do it in oil though. Spraying is really easy in stain. Bottom line is......paint will peel if any moisture gets behind it. On the house this is less likely. On a fence......welll more likely.

Do I need to back brush, or can I just spray it on like paint? This would seem the way to go, 2 coats, no primer, more protection....?

I looked at the Olympic site and it said that for staining, there is no need to wait the 6 months for the PT to dry out.

Sounds like a better option.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:53 PM
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I should also say I never spray outside. I prefer a lambswool roller and a brush. If you do spray, I hope the wind is calm and/or nothing is in the way to get sprayed on. Be careful!!
 
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Old 03-14-08, 06:56 PM
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Yep, I hear ya. Particularly with a oil-based product. The fence is not that big, so I could just as easily roll/brush it on. That might take longer, but far less messy in the long run.

Thanks for all the advice. I'll definately check out the sold stain option.

Now, as far as the weather goes...

1) how long after a rain do I need to wait to apply, and..

2) how long before a rain should I apply

Thanks !
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:05 PM
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Check the fence a day after rain and make sure it appears all dry. Now I would make sure there is no rain 48 hours after you finish.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by nagra4s View Post
Check the fence a day after rain and make sure it appears all dry. Now I would make sure there is no rain 48 hours after you finish.
That's do-able. So I'll brush on the stain...any benefit to oil over water based? I see they sell both. Water based would be way easier, as I am not the neatest painter and spills are going to happen.

Also, I live in the SF Bay Area in CA. Weather is extremely mild, in the summer and winter, so nothing extreme.

Thanks again !
Matt
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:21 PM
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Oil will give at least 3 extra years. Also less likely to peel. Yes Latex stain could peel. Oil never.
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:28 PM
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hmm...ok, how many years can I get out of the latex stain?
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:41 PM
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I guess two to three more years before recoat using oil stain. I would ask Sherwin Williams for their opinion. They say 7 years on the latex. That is max!

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/contact/
 
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Old 03-14-08, 08:00 PM
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great. Thanks for all your help.

Matt
 
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Old 03-14-08, 08:52 PM
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ok last question.

I have multiple wood types in my fence. The PT pieces are dark brown (can't tell the type of wood). The slats and top rail are redwood, and the post caps are something else (maybe pine..?).

So my question is, I know that these woods will take regular stain differently and look different, but does this also apply for the solid stain? If so, then this would be a problem; the color needs to be uniform.

Thanks again !
Matt
 
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Old 03-14-08, 11:55 PM
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"Opaque white" should look like opaque white on any wood. Nagra4s?

About rain. Nearly all the wood's moisture loss or uptake is along the grains - through the end-grain. Not crosswise from one grain to the next. Well, that's how trees operate, isn't it? So, if your posts are capped such that rainwater isn't running under the cap, they will only get a little superficially wet on the surface. The 2x4 rails though, where they butt to the posts, will drink plenty. You'll learn just how thirsty end-grain is when you try sealing it.
 
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Old 03-15-08, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by fuente View Post
So I'll brush on the stain...any benefit to oil over water based? I see they sell both. Water based would be way easier, as I am not the neatest painter and spills are going to happen.
It might pay to ask some of the local painters which base they use. Tradinionally, oil base ext stain has always been superior - not always so today. When I first moved to fla, I had that mind set, used oil stain on my new fence and was shocked that it barely lasted a year. Repainted with latex stain and it looked good for 5 yrs. The intense fla sun is really hard on oil base. Here in tenn, oil base and latex preform about equally. I have no idea how coatings stack up in california.
 
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Old 03-15-08, 07:50 PM
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So I went to the local paint store, and saw they had this:

http://www.olympic.com/stain_product...dex.htm#prod_4

I asked the 'expert' at the counter if this could be used on PT and redwood that was new, and he said that the PT would be fine, but the redwood would need to be aged for 8 weeks to avoid tannin bleed. Jeez, if I wanted this sort of advice I could have just gone to HD...

I looked at the samples that were stained with the solid stain and they look just like paint, but with the grain showing. I think this will be a good match for my fence, and the wife as well..!

I'll probably get to the fence next week, when the weather is a bit better. I'll let everyone know how things turn out.

Thanks everyone for your advice !

Matt
 
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Old 03-16-08, 04:50 AM
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I missed where you said redwood The tannins in redwood will bleed horribly, especially thru latex and white is worse

I've never used any white stain on redwood, so I don't know how well an oil base stain would hold back the tannins. Whenever I've painted redwood with white, I've use 1-2 good coats of a premium oil base primer followed by 1-2 coats of latex house paint.

Sorry for the wrong advice earlier.

Was the redwood kiln dried or air dried?
 

Last edited by marksr; 03-16-08 at 05:08 AM. Reason: ? added
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Old 03-16-08, 07:34 AM
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Oh boy. Ok thanks for the reply marksr. Good thing I kept the reciept and did not start the staining !!

Could you recommend a good primer and top coat? I'd really like to stay with latex primer; also what sheen of topcoat would you recommend?

Also, I'm not sure about kiln vs. air dried. Would this matter as far as painting? Will a good primer and paint job seal the wood, or should I look for alternative methods of sealing; i.e. some other type of stain (hard sell to the wife though..)?

Looks like we are back to my original question in the first post..!! Oh well it's been educational !!

Thanks again,
Matt
 
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Old 03-16-08, 07:58 AM
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based on this document:

http://www.calredwood.org/ref/pdf/painting.pdf

1 coat of oil based primer, or 2 coats of stain blocking water based primer.

Then two coats of acrylic paint.

Now if we are getting into 3-4 coats, I'd rather spray, but this document says to brush or roll on, especially for the primer coats.

I could go either way. I just would like to do it right...and if that means less effort, then great !

Thanks again,
Matt
 
 

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