|Hi fnmroberts - I am wondering if you can help me. :) I have followed your post about your pergola and recommendations. The following photo is a preview of our pergola project which is finally becoming a reality after a few years of dreaming and planning. I am not ready to reveal the entire project, but will be very excited to do so since I have received help from this board. So, like with most dreams, the plan is not coming together as smoothly as I had hoped. We have had ups and downs on every aspect of this project, but it does seem to finally be coming together.
Here's what we have:
Smooth special cut red cedar (boy, does it smell good!)for the pergola structure, and lumber yard smooth cut (mostly clear)whiter cedar for the screened porch. Some pieces are smoother than the others, with the most rough cedar being on the outside of the screen porch post. Still a smoother finish, but with a few knots. Not sure why the carpenter used them, but what's done is done. The interior of the porch post are super smooth.
OK, I went to Sherwin Williams to buy the semi-solid oil stain that you recommended because I had a gift card there. They could not match the color that I wanted in the semi transparent, and tried to talk me into the Latex stain(we want to use a light tan/gray.) I refused saying that I had read against it (thinking about you.) They were able to match my color to the Solid Oil Based Stain. I bought one gallon and came home to do more research. I have to say at this time that I told my contractor that he should line his painter up ahead of time to give the wood a once over before hanging. Both the painter and the carpenter said it was not necessary and the carpenter had the structure half way up before I got home from SW!
Now, I am reading conflicting recommendations on how to protect our cedar. Some say that smooth cut cedar needs to rest a year before putting anything on it. The reason being is because when it is milled smooth, it leaves a glossy finish that water actually beads up on. No stain, oil or Latex, can penetrate. That's true with some of ours, especially the boards on the inside of the porch. It is said that although an oil based solid or semi solid stain will look great when applied, it is really not soaking into the wood on these smooth cut surfaces. Come spring, water will start leeching out and push the solid stain off.
Others say to treat ASAP, but if the wood will not hold the stain, we do not want to create a problem. Also, I read that a Latex could be better because it prevents the mildew that an oil stain attracts.
Of all the post I have read from you, you did not mention what type of cedar that you had, or whether it was weathered before you stained. Also, although you mention transparent oil based stain, yours sure does look like a solid stain. I am not seeing any woodgrain showing through. How has your pergola held up? Any advice for me? Anyone else?
PS - I would really like to paint the porch post a satin paint finish instead of using the pergola stain. We will be painting the outside columns. I know you said that painting cedar is not advisable on horizontal surfaces. Would the same run true for mostly protected horizontal surfaces?
|newhomebuilder - I'll sure try to help. I'm not a lumber or paint profeswsional so, like you, I take information from people I trust. Over time, I've been very fortunate. |
I'm honestly not certain whether our wood is red or white cedar. Purchased from a reputable yard though, not a box store.
I've used Cabot oil-based stain. Semi-solid on all parts (un-weathered) before assembly with a 2nd coat a few weeks later. Never any popping. After 3 years, it's now been up for five, I restained using Cabot solid stain in order to better hide the wood grain. Ours is built using "egg-crate" cuts to nest the rafters and I wanted those joints protected even though I've caulked them too. If yours is a more traditional build with shade slats atop the refters, your need will not be the same.
I really can't speak to exterior latex stain technology. You're right, cedar does have it's own oil which, in my judgement, makes an oil-based coating the better choice. Comments I must have offered regarding horizontal surfaces would have been against paint on a deck or porch surface. I'd feel the same protected or not. Voice of experience here 'cause I once had to entirely sand a painted deck in order to stain - paint kept popping.
Yes, there are two schools of thought regarding coating cedar. One says wait a year. And that school has the confidence of knowing natural oil in the wood will protect it during that time. My Cabot dealer actually felt I would be fine waiting but understood that I could not disassemble a structure a year later - thus semi-solid rather than solid initially.
Pergola is almost perfect after 5 years of Illinois weather. It gets streaks where rain water runs which I pressure-wash each spring. Otherwise it hasn't required any maintenance.
Hope I've helped a bit and will gladly answer additional questions. Again, your local lumber and paint professionals should know their product and the local conditions to provide the best advice. Enjoy your new shade.
|Thanks for answering. I am on my way to church, so will read your reply in full when I get home. ;)|
| "I've used Cabot oil-based stain. Semi-solid on all parts (un-weathered) before assembly with a 2nd coat a few weeks later. Never any popping. After 3 years, it's now been up for five, I re-stained using Cabot solid stain in order to better hide the wood grain. Ours is built using "egg-crate" cuts to nest the rafters and I wanted those joints protected even though I've caulked them too. If yours is a more traditional build with shade slats atop the refters, your need will not be the same. |
OK, that explains why your pergola looks painted. All the post that I have read of yours has said you used the semi-solid. Nothing about the recovering with the Solid Stai. Good to know!
Our problem is that the structure is so large, it's going to take a painting crew to come in and paint. That's included in the contract for a one time deal, but I cannot see them coming back after a couple of weeks and reapplying. Other than getting the columns painted (and maybe the screened porch,) I am thinking it may be best to let the structure sit until early summer next year and then have the whole thing done in the solid oil stain where it will soak in easier. Oil will have a tad bit more sheen that the Latex stain will not, and more of a look that I want. That's the reason that I want to paint the porch. I like sheen!
Here are the two wood types that we have. The darker - the heart of the cedar - is on the pergola. The lighter is the store bought cuts that have really been planed smooth. They have very little cedar smell, unlike the other wood that smells the whole neighborhood up. lol So, seeing the below wood types and seeing my screened porch railings in the above photo, you don't think it a good idea to use a Latex PAINT on those railings because they are horizontal? I wonder if I sanded them a little to roughen the surface if that would let the paint stick. hmmm We are in TN and the weather is not quite as intensive in the winter as yours.
I plan to take my wood samples to my local Benjamin Moore store tomorrow and ask their opinion. They are top notch down there. I would have used them to get the paint from - and still may - had it not been for the gift card I won through Gardenweb. I still have over $200 on it. Seemed silly to go anywhere other than SW. Where can I buy Cabot stains?
"Pergola is almost perfect after 5 years of Illinois weather. It gets streaks where rain water runs which I pressure-wash each spring. Otherwise it hasn't required any maintenance.
I did see some close-up pics of your streaking. That's from the dirt, right? I am surprised that you can pressure wash and not have the stain come off. I was planing on using a telescopic brush and use regular water hose pressure to clean my pergola in the future.
Funny you should say that. The pergola was mainly for aesthetics off the back of our house, and to provide a sense of privacy from our neighbors that look down on us. The pergola is actually only providing a bit of shade, early to mid afternoon. lol We get the morning sun from the left, and the intense high and setting sun to the right of the pergola in the late afternoon and evening. I wanted to add more slats and may still get my way (they are 2x4's 12" on center,)but DH doesn't want to. He said nothing will protect us from the setting sun. I mentioned that we could do shades like you have. We are thinking on that for that right side. What did you use for a material?
|I've been away today so just reading your replies now. Seeing the photos of your wood, I'd say you have a premium wood for your pergola build compared to what I used. That said, I still can't advise further regarding latex paint applicability. My judgement is that wood expands and contracts with temperature/humidity and paint will crack, allowing water to penetrate. Thus my reasoning for oil-based stain. |
We have been wanting to retake photos for a couple years. Plantings have grown and other changes made such as the solid stain. Actually you may be the first poster to have seriously examined our pergola. Sorry about any absent information.
Our BM dealer here also carries Cabot stain so maybe you'll be lucky. Most of the local pros buy there. Surely they will give sound advice. SW here offers no oil based product but wants to push what they have and for the most part the help isn't old enough to offer seasoned experience.
When pressure washing, I don't use the full power so as to not remove the stain. A bit of the streaking remains but after a rain storm it's going to return anyway. Yes, it's just dirt, not mold.
I know you'll have a nice looking structure, too bad the need is for privacy. The shadow "footprint" is very symetrical. I installed lattice atop ours to get about a 50% shade. We made new fabric shades a couple years ago from Sunbrella fabric. The original ones, which you've undoubtedly seen in photos, were an outdoor fabric which wasn't as color fast or shrink resistant so we replaced them. The Sunbrella hasn't exhibited any fade or shrink so it was a better choice.
|You may have misunderstood, but we ARE planning on using the Oil Based Stain for the pergola, but do wish to try a paint on the screened porch. Latex or Oil, I haven't a clue. I will ask tomorrow. Hopefully, our BM will carry the Cabot's too. |
That's so weird that you mentioned the sales people at Sherwin Williams as being young. Yes, they are all young at our store. That's something to remember when listening to what they have to say. he was pushing the Latex. I am glad that I only bought the one gallon.
I told DH tonight that I wanted to add more strips of cedar to the pergola top. I placed one extra strip on top to make a third layer. Tomorrow, I want him to see what it looks like when the sun is straight overhead. I am a little scared to ask the contractor and carpenter to add more. As DH says, it's going to cost more! lol Will be harder to paint, too.
Went out and bought shades by Coolaroo this evening. We will use them to give that privacy and also to block that setting sun from the right of the pergola. DH didn't want to get them, but I told him I would try hanging one and see what he thinks. We can always return them.
Thanks again for your help!
|Found out today that our local BM store has closed down. Boo! |
Miguel, the contractors painter uses Pittsburgh paint and he says it's OK to paint/stain the wood now. I asked the contractor if I could have that in writing. He said no guarantee. lol
We are adding 16 more 2x4's to top of pergola to form another layer. Cost of that additional wood and labor?...$1600 big ones!
So, I am back to square one! Ugh!
|Nothing is easy it seems. Sorry BM has left your area. |
Give a try over on the Paint forum and ask Faron79 for his receommendations. He sells high end paint and might be able to offer timing tips for coating cedar. Quite a few pros comment there too.
I did understand that you're considering paint for the porch. That space will be unconditioned won't it? If so, still subject to temperature and humidity extremes. And good lumber is VERY pricy so one needs to take care of such an investment.
Keep me posted, I'm vested in this with you now. Good luck.
|OK, I'll look for the Paint forum tomorrow and post my question. We talked to the contractor tonight and we all think that waiting will be the answer. |
I'll also check with the BM store in the next town over.
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