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Old 11-13-2008, 01:08 AM   #1
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SW Tread plex & over helpful contractor

Have new douglasr fir 4 x 12 stair treads installed on exterior stairs exposed to sun and rain. Bought SW Treadplex upon recommendation of local SW store. Upon returning, found out contractor had put two coats of Zinser brand exterior,stain blocking, self priming satin finish paint.
I sanded lightly, wiped dust off, put 2 coats treadplex. A few days later I discovered spots of pine resin on surface of treads.
Bought BIN brand lacquer primer, intended to clean and spot prime resin bleeding areas which are just a few cracks on each tread.
Return home today, find that upon adjusting new treads, contractor has covered entrie surface of painted treads with the BIN lacquer primer.
Recap so far:

3 Treads now have 2 base layers of self priming ext satin paint. Also 2 layers of Tread PLex. One or possibly 2 layers of lacquer primer over that.
3 treads now only have two layers of lacqer primer.

Can I put any more tread plex on, mainly to get desired color (blue-grey) back, as treads are currently white and are a lacquer primer top layer? 3 treads already have 5-6 coating layers.
Have read that lacquer primers do not hold up to sun. Also read acrylic primer is too “soft” to go under paint used for decks and porches.
Should a layer of alkyd primer be put over the lacquer primer before tread plex?
Should anything be removed or sanded on the 3 treads / 5-6 coating layers?
Should I tint alkyd primer, thus allowing for a single layer of tread plex? It is a blue grey custom color.

Thanks in advance for anyone who comments.


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Old 11-13-2008, 04:15 PM   #2
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You now have 2 serious issues here:
1) The steps should have been primed with an alkyd based primer rated for foot traffic
2) BIN shellac based sealer is way too hard to be used as a primer outside (spot primer only)

I'd pretty much assume it's doomed to fail, along with whatever you put on top now
But, having said that, it's never always a done deal, and "high chance of failure" does not always mean "will fail"
So I'd have to say it has a huge chance of failure
Enough so that I'd suggest the helpful contractor replace the treads, and start over

Or you could just put your coating on and hope for the best
If it fails, then replace the treads and do it properly


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Old 11-13-2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Thank you for the confirmation....

I also found something today that said BIN lacquer primer will soften in direct sun...which most of the treads receive in the afternoons. Plus, my custom color tread plex is already on the porch, I don't want to change it at $79 a gallon when not on sale. It is on the dark side.

So I have resigned myself to sanding the top and front of all treads to bare wood, except where the knots are. Re-prime with alkyd primer.

I am going to top coat the back and bottoms and hope for the best. Should I cover the BIN with Alkyd primer anyway before topcoating?

Reason I am not going to ask contractor to replace treads is they are these hunks of 4 x 12's, plus this was a callback where the tread height difference was out of code. He replaced 3 treads to fix that. It is a terrible waste of good wood, plus something else may get screwed up.

Is it hopeless to use a palm sander, or should I invest in a belt sander? The treads are 42 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep. I have a cordless bosch planer but think that would be overkill.

Comments and suggestions are still welcome.
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