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Can pressure treated be successfully painted?

We bought a place in the country that had a falling-down white fence. I tore it down and rebuilt it with pressure treated lumber. After it had been erected for a year, I primed it and then painted it white using painting materials as advised by my local paint dealer. By the end of the next summer, it was peeling badly and has now peeled very badly. The peeling is down to the wood.
Can this stuff be successfully painted and, if so, with what and how?

Re: Can pressure treated be successfully painted?

PT can be painted but it can be difficult. Your peeling problem is most likely due to the wood being damp when it was painted. A lot of PT is not kiln dried so it has a high moisture content. After a year it probably should have been pretty dry. Although it you had 4x4 or larger posts they may not be dry. Wood in ideal conditions takes about a year per inch to air dry. This would be without it getting wet with rain water. It is also possible that if you painted after a recent storm that this has caused the problem. You might be better off with a stain rather than paint. A solid color stain however would probably peel off too since it is not absorbed into the wood as readily as a semi or transparent stain. Hope this helps you out.


Re: Can pressure treated be successfully painted?


I have to agree with Sabo. Pressure treated lumber is made by putting the wood in a large pressure cooker where it is submerged in water containing anti-rot chemicals.The water permiates deep into the wood. When you pick up a piece of PT wood at the lumber yard, you will notice that it is much heavier than normal wood. Indeed, when sawed, it will often spray water out of the wood!

Wood containing about 12% moisture can be expected to cause peeling. Time will eventually dry the wood out. You did not state where you live. Rainy, humid climates are going to slow this process way down. I live in the Pacific NorthWest. I discourage my customers who are treating their decks/fences from doing so until late summer when several months of warm, dry, windy weather have dried out the winters moisture accumulation.

You did not state what type of paint and primer you used. If I suspected that there might me residual moisture, I would definately use an acrylic based primer and paint as opposed to an oil based. Acrylics breath much better than oil products, allowing moisture to migrate out through the paint film without causing peeling. Acrylic stains breath even better as they have a thinner film than a full bodied paint.

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