Choosing a multitool; deck nails
Q and A with Steve Maxwell
it comes out. If you were to paint now it would look OK for a while, but almost certainly flake off later as the moisture migrated outwards.
The best approach is to wait until late summer next year, then go over the wood quickly with a six-inch random orbit sander spinning an 80-grit disk. You won’t remove all the saw marks, of course, but the extreme roughness and prickliness of the rough-sawn surface will come off easily and quickly, leaving you with a nice surface for painting. I’d use the best primer you can find, followed by two coats of the best exterior latex you can find. Don’t skimp on cheap stuff because it won’t last as long. Even with great paint, eventually the posts and beams will start to peel and need to be stripped back before repainting. Depending on the design and look of the carport, you might consider an oil finish instead of paint. It would create a wood grain appearance, but oil never peels. You just add more coats.
Rusting deck nails
A: I’m afraid there’s no easy fix. Daubing on some zinc-rich primer to the bare heads of the nails before re-staining will help, but I suspect the rust will return in time. Pulling the nails and replacing them with hotdipped galvanized or stainless steel screws is the only thing that will work for sure. Removing the old nails with a mechanical nailer puller will dent the wood slightly around each head, but with the right tools, I’ve seen it done reasonably well. Some kinds of rustproof deck screws have larger heads than others, and you’d want to choose the largest head size you can find. The bigger the head, the more of the old nail hole and denting it’ll cover. A good nail puller costs about $50, so it’s a reasonable price for freedom from rust forever.
Multitools like these are made my many companies and are helpful for cutting and sanding in close quarters during renovations.