If you’re building a deck, here’s how to avoid having unsightly ink stamps spoiling the expanse of fresh lumber: Install the boards with the stamped side down.
You might want to remember that if you’re building a deck because removing the exposed stamps can involve extra work.
Ron Bryant of Norwood emailed after last week’s column on decks and asked how he could remove the inked stamps from decking boards he’d just installed.
“Best I can tell, it is indelible ink,” he said. “None of my solvent attempts removed it. My wife called Lowe’s, and they told her that I should have installed them with the print down. I would have, if (the treatment company) had put the *%@^*! print on the correct side! So, what is one supposed to do about this?”
Well, one can call Archadeck in Charlotte and ask the pros. The company has built hundreds of decks and won prizes for its work.
“The best idea,” said David Block, Archadeck’s vice president for operations, “is to have the correct attitude for outdoor decks. Don’t get too hung up about the marks.”
Or, be patient: The stamps will fade as the boards weather.
In a longer answer, Block said there’s new industry advice about an issue that Bryant touched on. Bryant mentioned “the correct side.” Lots of us, including Bryant, learned to check the curve of the grain on the end of the board, then install the board with the dome, or outside curve of the grain, up. That, in theory, would reduce cupping. The edges of the board would be less likely to curl up, catching water.
These days, Block said, lumber experts recommend simply installing boards with the best side up, whatever the grain.
“Treated lumber has a mind of its own,” he said. “It will curve any way it wants to.”
Heaven knows, that’s true. A treated 2-by-6-inch board can be more willful than a half grown Labrador retriever.
But what’s the solution if you put the best side up – and there’s a stamp on that side?
You can sand – with the proper face mask and other precautions – but any sanded spot is likely to show, too. Anybody who objects to the ink stamp is likely to be put off by the light spot. Block agreed on both counts.
Online, some sites suggest scrubbing the stamps with strong solvents, such as lacquer thinner. Others suggest Brillo and soap.
As Bryant learned, those tips might not work.
If you have faced this problem at your house and discovered a way to remove those stamps, drop me an email and share the secret.
If you’re building a deck, check the ink instead of the grain. And install the boards with the stamps down.
Special to the Observer: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less