Ready to Paint Post Options for Treated Lumber Deck

by Justin

Although I would be satisfied with a treated 4x4 or 6x6 post, I can't paint or stain it right away. How do deck pros provide an immediate deliverable for customers when the waiting period to paint or stain posts is so long? I am painting all my railing white, and don't want to have to wait to do so.

Editor's Comments

The idea of being able to install common wood posts for outdoor support columns or railing posts as if they were just like metal, composite or other synthetic materials is appealing. Let's consider what is available for the deck builder today.

Paint And Season Lumber Yourself

You could just set aside some space in your shop and lay out all the posts on racks and allow the lumber to season at that ambient air temperature and humidity for a couple weeks. Keep the material out of the sunshine and you should see minimal twisting, shrinking, warping, checking, chocking and the rest of it.

However, the effectiveness of this technique is largely dependent upon the characteristics of the wood species you are dealing with. A thick dimensional piece of lumber has a lot of built up energy in it and will naturally release that energy as the wood loses its moisture. The grain cut of the lumber has a lot to do with how stable the lumber is.

Quarter grain cut lumber will be the most stable across species. Flat sawn cuts however are more common because they result in less wasted material from the log but they are the most unstable.

After a couple weeks you would apply your coatings as desired. Allow them to dry and then cut them to your known lengths in advance or at the job site. This is the most elementary way of trying to achieve your goal.

Engineered Lumber

The best material to use if you want a stable product is something like the hollow core wood post columns made by Yella Wood and Quattro Post. The lumber has been selected and is clear of all knots. It has been kiln dried.

Yella wood makes hollow core posts out of southern pine and their factory made corner butt joints are strong and clean. The lumber is not painted however. But Yella wood is heat treated to remove the sugars in the wood and improve its stability. So you should check with them to see if this treatment process also makes it more durable for the outdoors or if it also requires common staining and surface treatments.

Quattro posts also makes beautiful hollow core posts out of select cedar and spruces, in smooth or rough sawn. They use a four corner patented joint technique that is superior to butt joints and is virtually invisible. Their spruce posts come already primed in white.

These are your best bets for working with a stable, pre-painted natural wood post. I recently wrote an article in a bit more detail on these two post options for wrapping 4x4 posts with 1x6.

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