Wednesday, August 18, 2010 4:01 PM EST
I enjoy your show and even watch all the reruns. I just finished replacing the front porch on my house. I used pt wood. What finish would you recommend and how long should I wait before I apply it? I want the wood grain to show thru the finish.
Hi Bill, and thanks! You probably noticed how heavy the fresh pressure treated lumber was when you picked it up (literally), because it’s much higher in moisture content due to the protective chemicals that are infused deep into the wood. Some boards have more preservative than others, so timing can be more of an art than an exact science. I’ve seen a few decks that were stained or painted too early, only to have green spots work their way through the finish.
How long before you seal or stain the wood really depends on how dry it is, but as a general rule you’ll want to wait at least a few months before applying an oil based stain, and about a year if you plan on using a water based stain or paint. Some clear or semi transparent sealers can be used immediately, but you’ll want to test it in an inconspicuous area and see how it looks in a few days before covering the entire deck. Different manufacturers have different recommendations, so depending on the exact product you end up choosing the time you’ll need to wait will vary.
If you want to add colour and also see the wood grain, I would recommend an oil based semi transparent stain. There are lots of colours to choose from, and it will give you a durable finish that should last for a few years before needing much maintenance.
Be sure to give your deck a good cleaning, and ample time to dry before getting to work – deck wash, a scrub brush and a hose is all you’ll need for this. Avoid the pressure washer, as it can damage the fibers of the wood (and you can end up with a fuzzy, discoloured deck!). Enlist some help – refreshments make good bait!!