Anyone ever pre finished their decking before installation?

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Forum topic by Hugh Anderson posted 08-18-2011 01:04 PM 2029 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2717 days

08-18-2011 01:04 PM

Today sees the arrival of my 56 lengths of cedar for the newly built deck frame. I was wondering, has anyone finished the boards before installing them?

My thoughts on this are twofold:

1. I can apply the finished on all sides of the boards. The very low level of the deck will not allow access from beneath, so once the wood is screwed down I will only have top access

2. I can apply the finish in the garage. No bright sunlight, or schizophrenic Michigan weather changes.

Am I crazy????

Oh, should this timber be laid out for a few days before screwing down?



6 replies so far

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Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 08-18-2011 03:25 PM

that’s convincing enough for me!

Thank you!


View patron's profile


13607 posts in 3367 days

#2 posted 08-18-2011 03:31 PM

made my deck and framing from standard framing (hem/fir)
rolled copper sulfate on all surfices
(the same stuff as PT)
and dabbed the ends as i cut them to fit
another coat after the screws on top

doesn’t stop the sun and weather from working them over

but i fell better knowing i did what i could to stop mildew and moisture
and bugs

might do some deck paint when i get closer to finished
(hand rails and barbeque)

exterior wood needs all the help it can get
WR cedar is better for that
but will still turn to barn boards
if left untreated

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10535 posts in 3454 days

#3 posted 08-18-2011 03:58 PM

We pre finished our redwood before installing it.
Used Sikkens. Great stuff.
Felt it necessary as the plant irrigation system will spray the underside.
BTW, check out the Trex installation system. No face screws. Real easy to use, too.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2876 days

#4 posted 08-18-2011 04:03 PM

I think it would be marginally helpful to finish both sides of the board; better still if you could dip them and get more end-grain absorption.

If you do finish it, you will always have to refinish it. If you don’t finish it, you’ll never have to refinish it.

As for moisture, a meter would be best. Any meter-equipped LJs close enough to help?

The baords will shrink significantly in width if they are humid.

Adjust your spacing if you think they are going to get small.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3111 days

#5 posted 08-18-2011 05:24 PM

Unless you are using something like purple heart, the wood is going to weather and dry out, if it is not
pressure treated lumber, then give a a good protective coating, both the deck and the supporting joists.
As Gene mentioned Sikkens is a great product. Just my humble opinion.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Hugh Anderson's profile

Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2717 days

#6 posted 08-18-2011 08:49 PM

Gentlemen, thank you very much for the info.

The boards were delivered a little while ago and I took them straight into the garage.

My concern was laying all, or some, of the timber and it getting a soaking before I am able to treat it. Here in Michigan it’s blisteringly hot one minute, and a torrential downpour the next. And the weather forecast seems a hit or a miss.

I suppose I will have to cover the deck during work until it’s all done

Thanks again!


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