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Fence Care spinoff. Pressure Treated lumber paint, type and size questions

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  • Fence Care spinoff. Pressure Treated lumber paint, type and size questions

    Reading the fence care thread (i.e. do you need to paint oak boards or not) I was wondering if anyone had experience with pressure treated boards? Before you tell me to do oak, I simply cannot get oak here--it isn't an option.

    For reference, I want to do a combination of 3 board, 4 board and no climb fencing (depending on the paddock).

    Does it make a difference in longevity if you paint pressure treated lumber? Also, a couple of the posts are damaged a little on the ground end. Should I dip them in something? I'm reading about people dipping fence posts in roofing tar and all sorts of things.

    Also, has anyone used deck boards? 16' x 2" x 6" seems like a good size, but I'm wondering if there are drawbacks.

    Final question: Has anyone used 4" rounds instead of 5 or 6" for 3 or 4 board fencing? I understand the reason to go bigger, but the cost jumps A LOT for that extra inch. The fence will be hot too, so I'm not anticpating a lot of contact, but I'm wondering if 4" rounds will look goofy.... any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    You will want to paint pressure treated boards or the horses will chew them. I use black asphalt paint and it works fine but the key is to be sure they are good and dry before you try to paint or it will bubble.

    I usually put the posts in and let them stand for at least a couple of days until they lose the green/damp look and then paint.

    I think TSC sells fence paint but I have never used it so can't give any feedback.


    • #3
      We've had pressure treated fencing for 33 years now, and never got around to painting or staining. It's actually lasted better than I thought it would, but it was treated with different stuff then. We never had a cribber, so none of the boards have ever been chewed on. I think ours prefer grass or hay. Most of our fencing is 2x6x16s on 4x4 posts 8' apart. I may have replaced 2 boards in those 33 years, but did go back and replace nails backing out with screws. There are much better screws available now than 30 years ago.

      I bought the 2x6s by the bundle, hand picked them as we put them up, tossed the rejects to the center of the trailer, and carried the rejects back for refund. I am used to selecting lumber though, since I'm a hands on builder.


      • #4
        My horses have not chewed on my fence at all.

        We had our kids start painting it with asphalt paint. They made it about 100', used a fortune in paint, and most of that has flaked off.


        • #5
          4” rounds will work just fine for horses that will never really “test” the fence. I am not a big fan of using 4X4 pressure treated they don’t seem to have as good shear strength. The problem with using round posts is the fact there is not a lot of “face” to nail to. So you have to be really accurate with your layout. IMO if you are going to go with a none standard post, in my neck of the woods standard is 4X6, this biggest bang for the buck are the “landscape timbers” sold at Home Depot and most likely Lowes. They are round but flat faced on 2 sides, treated, 8’ long, $3.97. Though I just missed picking them up on sale for $2. Don’t think I would use them for young horses but one year a couple of yearlings spooked and went through a section with 4X6 pressure treated pine post with nailed 4 board oak. None got hurt and they snapped 2 posts. Go figure. IMO “deck boards” will work just fine but oaks is far better.
          As I said in the “other” tread I have not found painting to add that much more to longevity. To each their own on this. I have used deck boards for interior trim “cut to size) because they are 5/4 which means they are 1 inch thick. At $6.50 for a 6”X16’ board they are a huge bang for the buck verses a standard none treated pine 1X6 board which is actually only ¾ inch thick and looks “cheesy” and costs around $30+ depending on grade. They hold paint just fine when primed and painted and used interior. I am not to sure how they will hold latex paint in an exterior application. If I were going to “paint” them I think I would use a colored stain that is marketed for deck boards.
          Around here in quantity 16’ oak boards go for around $5+-. If you are putting up a lot of fencing you should be able to buy from my one of my suppliers and have it shipped for around the same cost as deck boards. Maybe worth checking into.
          Horses will and do chew on pressure treated pine boards. Their shear strength is not near that of oak. But a hot wire takes care this. We use white poly rope when needed.
          The history of “black” fence paint started in Lexington KY where there is more board fencing per mile then any place else in the country. Considering that the most valuable horses in this country and the world are kept in oak fencing says a lot. Though “V mesh” metal is used quite extensively. Very expensive. When the hassle and expense of white painted fences wore off and the perceived need for longevity other then esthetics, which I am a fan of, farms used “thinned” driveway sealer. There is a company in Lexington that came up with a better sprayable version. Tractor Supply sells a version of it.


          • Original Poster

            The 3 board is probably about 400' and is partially "for looks" along the driveway and road frontage. I was going to run two strands of hot fence on the inside, as this will continue around the entire paddock (5 strands of poly coated wire on the sides where there is no board). Since it is for looks I was thinking I would have the boards on the outside and use a face board over the "seams." I know the boards go on the horse side, but the hot fence should back them off. This is not a main turnout either. The field fence is with a board on top & bottom is for about 200' of that paddock that wraps around the side and backyard by the house and is more for keeping dogs in than anything else.

            4" pressure treated rounds are $8 + tax and the 5" rounds are $12 (6" are $16 each). That's at TSC which is cheaper than anywhere else I've found by a buck or two per post. I have bought posts there before and I took my time picking them out by hand.

            I had read in a couple places that landscape timbers fall apart after a couple years when used as fence posts? Something about they aren't treating them the same anymore and also that there are different grades? They are definitely cheaper, but I don't want to redo this in 4 years.

            I can talk to the lumber mill my contractor friend uses. That's where I bought my jump lumber (they cut it and delivered it to his house for free since he's a good customer). They may have some insight on oak boards. The only oak you see here is for interior trim. It simply isn't used outside on anything. We have PT pine and cedar for exterior use. I'm 1000 mi from Lexington

            Tom, does the new PT lumber eat screws--someone told me there was a certain kind you had to get with the new lumber treatments. I assume you predrill your holes for the boards?

            Thanks for all the responses. This is a very expensive undertaking (particularly when you get to all the fencing I'm not even talking about in this thread) and I really appreciate the feedback.
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              Don't use landscape timbers for posts - it won't take much for them to break off at the base. The only place I would use them would be a riding ring fence but never any where a horse could lean/scratch on them.

              I used treated 4x4x8s and have never had a problem - attached the boards to them with decking screws but don't remember how long they were. If you use screws, predrilling the holes will make things go much faster.


              • #8
                We recommend using coated deck screws...the key word is coated. You might check with American Timber and Steel...they make a nice turned post and believe they are headquartered in Ohio with stocking locations throughout the
                country. Check out their website, www.americantimberandsteel.com.

                It is recommended post tops be cut at a slight slant so the water drains off and
                doesn't pool. Something like Thompson's Water Seal which is clear applied to the tops also helps.

                There are two big wood fence companies in Kentucky whose sales staff has been
                very helpful when I called with some questions. They are Shuck Fence and Penrose Fence and have internet sites.


                • #9

                  Don't use landscape timbers for anything where you need strength or longevity. They are made from the very core of a pine log and will have no strength. They are not dried before they are treated so the retention of chemical is very low. They are really just treated to make them green. They will also twist like a pretzel when they do start to dry out.

                  When building your fence for the long term, understand that the chemical process does not go through the entire piece of lumber. It is actually like an egg shell. So when you cut an end or pierce the face with an nail or screw, you should apply some type of sealant to that area. This is why fence boards will usually start to weaken around the nail holes. You can cut a foot off of a treated 4x4 and you will see the untreated area. Also that long warranty some offer with treated lumber will include some fine print about being voided if you alter the lumber without treatment.


                  • #10
                    The only screws to use these days are "star drive". Home Depot sells a good Deckmate screw with star drive. You can buy better ones online, but I've had great luck with the ones from Home Depot. It's worth the trouble to drill holes for the ones on the ends of the boards.

                    When we're fencing, I use a 20 foot trailer, get a bundle of boards on one side, and a bundle of posts on the other side. Rejects get rolled to the center of the trailer and returned. On each end of the trailer are an impact driver and drill. One man for each end of the board.