As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I'm having a deck built by a
contractor that I don't completely trust. So when he gives me advice
that seems out of the ordinary, I tend to question it.
The floor of the deck is being built with Severe Weather deck boards,
and all of the framing is built with Severe Weather boards, too (with
the exception of the hand rail). These boards seem more wet than other
wood that I've used, and I don't know if it's the type of wood that is
more heavily treated, or just because it rained here last week.
Is it better to go ahead and paint/stain the wood immediately, to
prevent it from drawing up? Or should I wait until it dries out before
treating it? If I should wait, then how long should I wait?
If Severe weather wood is pressure treated , it is common for it to be wet ,
plus you said it rained...Duh...I'd stain it next spring as it won't have
time to dry enough to stain this fall unless you are in the deep south or
Cal. , ect........ Pressure treated wood needs ATLEAST a couple of months to
With construction work at a near standstill you could have had your choice
of contractors to build your deck , so I'm kinda wondering why you hired
somebody you don't trust and question his advice ??? Price ???
I'm in North Carolina, so it's the South, but not the DEEP South. :-)
But that's cool, I can wait until Spring.
As for why I hired this contractor... I sent it out for bids and had
several replies, but most of the contractors that responded seemed
pretty incompetent. 3 of them gave me a quote without ever seeing the
project! This one asked all the right questions, and came across as
more competent than the others when we got an estimate... until the
actual work started.
We're only a few days into the construction, but I've found several
problems that I've had to make him go back and correct (like, putting
the 4x4 supports on cinderblocks, instead of cementing them into the
ground). And he keeps arguing that I've changed the plans, when in
fact he's either forgotten the plan, misunderstood the plan (in spite
of a drawn rendering, drawn to scale), or he is simply hoping that I
will have forgotten so that he can get away with crap work (which is
what I suspect). Today, he was supposed to have been working from 8am
until 5pm, but the crew ended up getting here at 10am and knocked off
sometime between 1pm and 2:30pm, leaving the framing half finished
when the schedule called for the framing to be completely finished
These are issues that I wouldn't have known until construction began,
and now my options are to either continue with him, or to hire someone
else to finish the job with the hopes that they're available
You have to realize that I'm in a pretty rural area, so I don't
exactly have a lot of professional contractor options to choose from.
Most of them are just unemployed people that will swear that they can
build a deck, even though they've never actually built one before.
That's a major red flag. Around here, NJ, code requires proper
poured footers and you need a permit to put in a deck. Which shows
that there are benefits to requiring a permit.
If things get out of hand with the contractor, you could find out if a
permit is required. If it is and he hasn't pulled one, which is his
responsibility, you have some major leverage. You could call in the
building inspector to straighten his ass out.
What was to be done to support the deck should have been spec'd in the
Did you go look at several other decks he actually built and talk to
That's not unusual for many contractors, regardless of the quality of
Regarding the original question, I would wait to stain for a few
months, which probably means spring.
> I'm in North Carolina, so it's the
South, but not the DEEP South. :-)
Welcome to North Carolina. I just moved
into a house in western NC.
Actually, it took about 1 year from the
initial permit to the certificate of
occupancy. The 10 to 2:30 thing was
normal on many, many days. Once
I sold my old house and was living in a
motor home, I told my builder that
before I didn't care about speed, but
now I was pushing. I lived in the motor
home for 5 months. I complained to the
contractor that there were periods
of 5 or 6 days where not one worker
stepped foot in my house. After
that, there was always someone around,
even if it were only a few hours.
As for the footings, here there is
basically no frost line here. In my old
area up north, the frost line was 40".
In this house some of my footings
and foundations are way overkill because
my builder likes to build in
lots of safety margins. But I paid for
that margin. My footings on the
attached deck are only about a foot
deep, but they are concrete. But,
there are whole houses built on concrete
blocks in this area. Of course,
if your contract, either verbally or
written, said concrete and not block,
that's different. I, too, would prefer
concrete. BTW, here they just dug
a hole and mixed some concrete, poured
it in the hole and later attached
the deck post to it with metal fittings.
problems that I've had to make him go back and correct (like, putting
. My footings on the
Contractor may have been (sort of) in the right here. You don't set wood
posts in concrete on permanent structures. You pour a 'deep enough' pad,
preferably 6-8 inches above dirt level, and put a metal standoff on it
to attach the post to. In no-frost country, you can maybe get away with
the precast pier blocks, but a footer is better.
Only time you put wood in concrete is fence posts, and even there you
put several inches of gravel in the bottom so water can drain. You never
want wood sitting in a concrete pocket with no place for water to drain
Contractors usually juggle a couple or three jobs. Having them go and
come and strange hours is pretty normal.
Concrete blocks used to support the framing is also normal on small
I have had to wait a year or was it two before staining pressure
Which moron thinks immediatly, it cant be the contractor since you are
the one worried, its wet, its sept, it may not be dry enough in my
north area till January 2010, so I would have to possibly wait till
next spring, But dont ask when, know when. Go buy a moisture meter and
save your contractor all the agravation you will be giving him on
this. If you Googled and read first you would not be posting asking if
"painting wet wood is ok" Hey the first thing everybody knows you dont
do is paint or stain Wet Wood. Google Moisture Meter, cheap ones are
about 40$. I bet the contractor says wait.
I'm on about my 6th deck, and although I'm not familiar with the
treated wood that you mentiuon, I have never had any luck with getting
a deck surface to take a stain until it has weathered for at least a
couple of months. Last time we decided to stain before the wood had
weathered and the pores opened, we ended up sanding the entire thing
next spring and starting over.
Paint on a deck? I personally wouldn't go that route unless I had no
choice. If so, ensure it has a non-skid treatment.
Good luck, and keep your eyes on that contractor. Sounds like a
"rounded corner" kind of guy.
Thanks for the advice, all.
I didn't think that too much detail was necessary, but just so that
there's no confusion... the contractor had actually flip-flopped on
his advice. At first, he said to wait until Spring so that the wood
would dry out, but then later he mentioned going to Texas for the
winter. So after my other concerns developed, I thought that he might
have suggested waiting just so that he could keep the contract. Then
later, he mentioned that one of the guys in his crew would be able to
come in October to stain it, which contradicted his earlier logic that
it needed to dry out first.
I could guess that you wouldn't stain WET wood, but I wasn't sure if
it would need to dry for a couple of weeks, or several months. Based
on your advice here, though, I think that I'll just save up to have
the whole house painted in the Spring, and then have the deck stained
at that time. By a different contractor, of course!
Gwandsh, I'm thinking about painting the framing, step risers, and
underpinning, but then staining the handrails, 4x4s, and flooring. But
of course, that might change by the Spring! My original plan, though,
was to have dark brown (not quite black) framing, risers, and
underpinning, then stained brown 4x4s and handrails that would be a
similar shade to the house trim, and then a lighter stain of flooring
that would be complementary to the house color.
Sounds pretty nice. We have two decks on our place right now. One is
sunwood built over pressure treated structure. The deck surface and
railings are stained a clear cedar, as we wish the woodgrain to be
enhanced. The uprights and visible support members are stained a
darker redwood tone, not that they needed stain (being PT), but
because it lends a certain amount of UV protection and the color
contrast is nice. I strongly suggest you set aside a good supply of
stain for future use if you mix for special colors like we did.
The other deck is a man-made plastic/wood composite that weathers down
to a pale grey. On that deck we painted the (already painted)
uprights and exposed support structure to match the house.
My comment about painting should have specified horizontal deck
surfaces. We had a painted deck on an older home we bought, and until
I replaced it with a composite product, it was always high-maintenance
as well as downright slippery. BTW, we are in Portland , OR, so we
know wet decks ;-)
Talk with these guys about slippery surfaces. They fixed my slippery
bathtub and slippery tile floors in my bathroom. They are now safe.
They can treat and fix virtually any slippery surface including
slippery marble found in lobbys.
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