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Thread: Painted yellow pine for outside use advisable?

  1. #1
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    Painted yellow pine for outside use advisable?

    I was going to use some kiln dried S4S full 1 inch thick clear yellow pine I just purchased (gloatable) at a local auction to build some wooden storm windows. I read online that yellow pine isn't the ideal outdoor wood but these will be well primed and painted to match or contrast with my house. Anything wrong with using yellow pine for this application? I have a two story house with a 30 inch + overhang so that provides quite a bit of protection from rain. Is there anything special I need to do to the wood to help it's longevity besides the painting or is this totally inadvisable? Thanks, Mike
    Last edited by Michael Weber; 04-05-2012 at 11:19 PM.
    You're never too old to have a happy childhood.

  2. #2
    I used untreated southern yellow pine to make porch railings and balusters for the front porch of my old house. After milling all the pieces I primed them, then installed, and then top coated them.
    There is a porch roof that shields much of the railing, and those parts have mostly held up OK.

    But the stair railings were completley exposed to weather and did not hold up at all. Any place where there was a nail eventually allowed water in and rotted the wood.

    There were also a couple places on the covered parts where it appeared sap would continually rise to the surface and cause the paint to bubble.

  3. #3
    \
    Michael - If you really want your storm windows to last, use Spanish cedar.
    Thanks John
    Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive anyway!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John A langley View Post
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    Michael - If you really want your storm windows to last, use Spanish cedar.
    I'm inclined to agree with John on this one - Spanish cedar is a much better choice. However, it should be said that yellow pine can be OK (just OK) but it really needs to be primed with BIN primer sealer to counter its pitchyness, top coated with 2 coats of a premium exterior paint. AND - make certain that all end grains are thoroughly bedded with paint or better yet saturated with thin epoxy - 2 coats - and then wherever you create a joint either use epoxy or bed the joint with a good adhesive caulk. This is good practice with any exterior joinery from doors and windows to lawn furniture. Make certain that the end grains are saturated with a good waterproof medium especially the stiles of doors and the feet of tables and/or chairs. I prefer to use epoxy. Tried Gorilla Glue but the foaming action of the adhesive is too much of a nuisance
    Sam

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  5. #5
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    john, thanks for sharing your experience with yellow pine. I don't think the windows will get much rain and there isn't going to be any exposed fasteners so hopefully it will be alright. Spanish Cedar would be fabulous to use but I have all this pine and not sure what else to use it for I made a test window today using the pine and just pocket screws to hold it together so I could put one on a window to get an idea of appropriate rail/style widths. Also how much smaller to make it than the window opening, how to weather strip it, and attach it.
    You're never too old to have a happy childhood.

  6. #6
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    The siding on my house is yellow pine that has lasted about 90 years so far.

  7. #7
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    All the 1940 and 1950's era houses in my area have windows made out of yellow pine.
    99% of these houses also have aluminum storm windows too, BTW.
    Even the ones that have been badly neglected are still in pretty good shape.

    Keeping them dry is critical.
    B*I*N will seal in pitch and sap, but, it's shellac based and won't tolerate any moisture coming from behind. If there is any standing water that gets into the wood, it will pop the BIN off and leave the raw wood exposed.
    A good slow drying (long oil) oil primer is a better choice. The oil primer will "breathe" and allow moisture vapor to pass through it.
    One note here - that's for the primer only. An oil based finish coat does not "breathe".

    Because of that breathing action, some pitch and/or sap may spot the finish.
    If/when that happens, spot prime just those spots with BIN.

    The most critical area is going to be where the glass meets the wood on the bottom.
    Brush a heavy coat of raw - not boiled - linseed oil and let it soak in a few days.
    Wipe off any excess and then proceed to putting in the glass and glazing the sash.
    Use Dap #33 oil based glazing and the glaziers points that have the "little legs" on them, not the simple triangle ones - those are for the pros, not the casual glazier.
    Pick up a "5 in one" tool too, BTW. It'll be on the rack with the putty knives. It has a curved cutout on the side of the blade for scraping paint off rollers. It also has a little hammer head on one side of the front edge for setting the points and a point on the other side for scraping out any debris.
    (Best of luck with the glazing. Better you than me! I believe I'd rather have another kidney stone than have to glaze another window! Glazing is worse than sanding drywall, IMHO. The only good thing about glazing a window is to take the window out and do the work on a table instead fo climbing a ladder. That way you can drink a lot of beer while you do it!! Then again,,,,falling off a ladder just might be preferable to glazing....I'll have to mull that one over )
    All kidding - well - some kidding aside....I used to dread reglazing more than anything else when I had my painting company. My partner was a fanatic about doing 5 color Victorian houses though and we saw more than our fair share of old windows... sans the beer part of course!

    In all honesty, unless you're trying to preserve the historical accuracy of the house, DIY windows are of pretty dubious value.
    They sure are purty though on the inside! I love the nostalgia of looking out of a yellow pine window that has an orange shellac finish on it and the trim.
    It makes me want to run to the TV and see if The Rifleman or Leave it to Beaver are on!

    Anyhow - bottom line - yellow pine can be used and it will hold up for decades if the windows are made right and they are maintained and they drain standing water away properly.
    Sorry to be so long winded..
    Another memeber here builds wood windows and w/any luck he'll chime in too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Engelhardt View Post
    B*I*N will seal in pitch and sap, but, it's shellac based and won't tolerate any moisture coming from behind. If there is any standing water that gets into the wood, it will pop the BIN off and leave the raw wood exposed.
    A good slow drying (long oil) oil primer is a better choice. The oil primer will "breathe" and allow moisture vapor to pass through it.
    One note here - that's for the primer only. An oil based finish coat does not "breathe".
    Have you found that to be the case when everything is back primed too? No matter what wood I use I back prime and seal all the ends with more than just paint. So far so good. Of course I haven't seen it all
    Sam

    ~ Hard to take a guy who looks like this seriously but his 2 is worth all of that ~

  9. #9
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    Based on field testing of paints on various wood species, yellow pine is known to be inferior in finish durability to other alternatives, such as redwood, cedar, and fir.

    Bob Falk, Forest Products Lab

  10. #10
    I live in the Pacific North West so am used to dealing with outdoor projects that have to survive in wet conditions. In my experience pine of any variety is not optimal in terms of its weather resistance (rot, decay etc) but if you're going to paint it, then it can be used. The trick is to use the best primer available - BIN or KILZ are the only two I trust out here. Of the two, I like KILZ a little better as I think it seals the knots better (no bleed through). I also think KILZ seals end grain a little better on porous woods like pine and fir. Two good coats of primer should do it - and make sure you cover all exposed fasteners, if any, really well as these are good areas for moisture to "wick" into the wood. I use 2 or 3 coats of primer, followed by a high quality color coat, and have had stuff made from decent hemlock last 15 years or more.

    In truth, I'd suggest spanish cedar or some other species that has better weather resistance, but if you coat it right pine can make it. Hope that helps -

  11. #11
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    Sam,
    Back priming helps a lot, but, it's not quite as good as using an oil based primer.
    It just takes a tiny pinhole to allow moisture in.
    The biggest issue with BIN is that it seals and sticks too well.
    Moisture in wood can wick and where it decides to come out, may be far from where it went in.

    When it (moisture) wants out, it will get out. It will, quite literally, push it's way out. If it's stopped by the BIN. it will tear the wood fibers apart.
    When moisture wants out through an oil primed surface with an oil based (non permeable) finish, it seldom tears out the wood fibers.


    Also - Zinsser specifies BIN's exterior use be limited to spot priming only. In all my ~26 years of both selling it and applying it, I saw enough failures of it on exterior trim I can't in good conscience recommend it.
    (Don't let that stop you though if you've had good success using it...it's one of those - just sayin kind of things)

    Based on field testing of paints on various wood species, yellow pine is known to be inferior in finish durability to other alternatives, such as redwood, cedar, and fir
    Bob,
    I don't doubt or dispute that.
    IMHO, the reason why so much of the >50 year old yellow pine used for exterior work has held up is because it's old growth, not the balsa- soft tree farm stuff of today.
    Every time I tear into a wall of one of the 1950's houses, I marvel at the skill and stamina of the carpenters of that era.
    I also give thanks that I have a pneumatic nailer! Those old pine 2x's are hard as a rock & I've bent many a nail in them.

    I believe we're all on the same page here.
    Just because yellow pine can be used, it doesn't make it the right choice & due to the labor involved in making the windows and glazing them, it's probably best to skip using it for the windows.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Engelhardt View Post
    I believe we're all on the same page here.
    Just because yellow pine can be used, it doesn't make it the right choice & due to the labor involved in making the windows and glazing them, it's probably best to skip using it for the windows.

    That's really the point & I'm sure the OP (Michael) gets it and will proceed taking all the precautions into consideration. Thanks for the good info Rich.
    Sam

    ~ Hard to take a guy who looks like this seriously but his 2 is worth all of that ~

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Engelhardt View Post

    IMHO, the reason why so much of the >50 year old yellow pine used for exterior work has held up is because it's old growth, not the balsa- soft tree farm stuff of today.
    I did some exterior restoration work on a 1920's house here in KC. I marveled at the condition of ALL the exterior yellow pine trim boards. Some of the boards had I swear 20 coats of peeling paint on them. Even the original sills, though bare wood in areas, and some surface cracking, were solid.

  14. #14
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    Great Information everyone. Very educational. Thanks. I'm going to use the yellow pine because I have it and I'll likely be gone before it ever becomes an issue. Again, this will be for wooden storm windows, not primary windows. They are going to a fixed upper pane and a fixed lower screen, both on the outside face of the storm window. Originally, I planned a interior removable lower sash on the interior face that could be taken off and stored during temperate weather. But, now I have developed a self storing lower sash idea that can be raised from the interior. It's doubtful they will ever be removed from the house once installed. Thanks again everyone, the priming and finishing suggestions were particularly interesting. Mike
    You're never too old to have a happy childhood.

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