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Question DetailsAsked on 11/3/2017

Am I better off using pressure treated or non pressure treated wood for a railing that is going to be painted

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Voted Best Answer

Tough question - non-pressure treated wood which is not a sap bleeding species (hence not redwood, cedar, larch, cypress, fruitwood, and a few others if you want to avoid sap leaching and bleeding), assuming it is well dried, is easiest. But pressure treated resists rot better - so the contact area between railing and deck and anywhere railing pieces cross each other (common rot point on railings) will not rot so quickly, and of course if in an area where you get mist or rain a lot of the year the treated wood will resist rot in that environment better - and if left exposed also resists surface algae/moss growth too.

The problem with treated wood is the types that take paint readily without bleeding through are not treated with enough chemical to be very effective. The more heavily treated wood (though today's so-called "ground-contact" wood has only about as much treatment in it as the old lightly treated non-contact wood) can sometimes bleed some, and with some varieties (especially if not kiln dried) can also inhibit the penetration and bonding of paint.

Of course, if you want a fairly bright green or dark brown you can just stain with the preservative itself (sold for treatment of cut ends and ripped boards and such). It is also possible to blend the green and brown treatment chemical (like Cupreanol) for an intermediate color or to add oil-based paint pigment to it for another color, though obviously it has to be from bright green to darker brown or blackish - can't go lighter or a color other than green, brown, mud, or blackish I don't think. you can also use conventional oil-based stain on it - again, going same or darker color at least if not priming with a stain-blocking primer like Kilz - obviously needing testing first to see how it comes out.

I have successfully (20+ years without repainting on mine) done decks using ground-contact ACA/CCA/ACCA (the green copper preservative - now commonly copper azeole or copper napthenate or similar copper-based treatment chemicals) - using a Weatherbeater (Sears/Pratt & Lambert) Siding and Trim acrylic latex paint on railings and garage floor concrete paint for deck boards - though I have never tried a lighter color - would definitely have to be primed if you want to try that. Dark brown and forest green came out well, provided good coverage (2 initial coats required and takes a lot more paint than usual because of the incisions) and provided excellent hiding. This was on the ground-contact incised timber though, which has all the little slices in it, which the paint partly obscures but does not totally mask.

You could probably do it on the non-incised treated wood too, but would not last as long probably - and I doubt it would take at all well on the orange "Wolmanized" version because that comes of seriously on your hands just in handling, so I can't imagine paint sticking worth beans. (I do not recommend the Wolmanized type (typical Home Depot product) because I have seen wood treated with that seriously rotting in less than a year.

If this is going to be a spring project, maybe try a sample can of paint on a sample scrap of wood (or several different treatments or number or coats and maybe primed and unprimed samples) and after it dries for a couple of days try leaving it outside to see how it weathers.

If looking at commercial painting, talk to your selected painter first about treated wood - some will not warranty their work on treated wood because of the risk of bleed-through or of the treatment streaking into the paint as it is applied, especially with light colors.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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