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Question:

Dear Doc, Three years ago we added a large roofed and screened porch to our house in hot, humid, buggy Birmingham Alabama. The carpenter was sure we needed pressure treated pine, so I said ok. I think it got one coat of something like thompson's water seal the first year and nothing since.

I hate the look of it and the arsenic content without a strong sealer makes me apprehensiv e about grandchildren and dachshunds.............The wood deck had a yellowy amber, pine like color and had a finish which did not make it water impermeable, but did protect the pretty pine finish from daily rain, glaringingly hot sun, etc. and keep in mind that this was also used around the pool!! Can you give me some ideas on how to get a floor like this on our porch? Also, we will need to stain or whatever the ugly green tinted lumber that is the exposed pressure treated framing.

Any thoughts on that?

Answer:

Dear Jane

Most likely while on holiday you were seeing a Florida Longleaf or Yellow Pine, which is just one of the many species of American Pitch Pine. And while this wood has some resins which make it somewhat resistant to some insects, I'm sure that the wood you were seeing was treated like you say.

They may only however have to treat the underside of the wood. Termites will only attack in the dark underside of the wood surface. And this pine deck would have to be either varnished or oiled every year to keep it looking yellow and nice all the time. It's a lot of trouble, but worth it to preserve this expensive wood.

The Deft company make a polyurethane that is made for outdoor use. Try them at http://www.deftfinishes.com/wood/defthane.htm Now back at your place and the real world. Pressure treated wood needs to leach out the more soluble salts in it for a year or more anyway before considering sealing the wood with any wood finish. While I don't think it would be possible to change the pressure treated (green) wood to a nice yellow pine color, you could apply a suitable wood finish to the deck, to make it darken nicely instead. You could wash the deck first with one of those deck brighteners: Bio-Wash WoodWash at http://www.biowash.com/products/biowash.htm

Also try : Behr Wood Cleaner Brightener, Cabot Stains Problem Solver Wood Brightener, Flood Dekswood/Natural Wood Brightener, Wolman Fence & Deck Brighteners. I'm sure a quick "google" search will get you to these other web sites. Once the deck is brightened up a bit you can try these finishes: Natural Deck Oil by Bio-Wash at http://www.biowash.com/products/biowash.htm

And also try these: Olympic Maximum Waterproofing Sealant by PPG Industries, Wolman Non-Graying, Long-Lasting Acrylic Wood Finish by Wolman Products. Don't expect any of these deck finishes to last more than 2 years. You've got to keep it coated, although your covered porch may last longer.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. How To Clean And Maintain Wood Floors PART ONE

2. How To Clean And Maintain Wood Floors PART TWO

3. Floor Types And Finishes

4. How to remove and clean various stains and odors from wood floors

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors