How to paint cedar and pressure-treated pine


I recently built a fence from white cedar (pickets) and pressure-treated pine (posts and rails). I have been told that I need to wait before painting or staining the fence in order to give the cedar oil and treatment a chance to dry out, but how long should I wait? (People have told me everything from a few weeks up to a year.)

Is it best to stain or paint? If I paint, should I use a primer first, or can I go ahead with the first coat of paint? Should the pressure-treated pine be oiled or treated in some way before staining or painting?

Best Answer

I don't know about the cedar, but I built a screened porch a few years ago using standard PT lumber for posts and railings and painted it with a coat of primer and a coat of exterior latex pretty much as soon as it no longer appeared damp. Of course the 6X6 posts had been up and drying for a while at that point, probably 6 months or so. The railings were installed last and were probably only up for 2 or 3 weeks when they were painted. When we moved from that house earlier this year there were no problems with the paint, and that was after about 2 years.

Interestingly, the only paint-related issue we had was some peeling on the existing deck railings, about 4 years old and never painted at that point, that I painted at the same time to match the new railings around the porch. I have no idea what caused it, but I can say that I didn't prepare this older wood at all and it probably could have used at least a good pressure washing prior to painting.