can you paint pressure treated wood

Many people are curious if painted pressure-treated wood is possible. Yes, but for the most significant outcomes, there are a few crucial factors to consider. Different procedures are not required when using standard timber.

Before painting, pressure-treated wood must thoroughly dry. Your best bets for a great and long-lasting result are to be patient and use the right paint and primer.

What Is Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treating wood, which includes chemically treating softwood lumber, frequently southern yellow pine, to resist rot, decay, fungus, and termites, has been used for over seven decades. The wood is therefore suitable for outside projects like decks, fences, sheds, and others. you need to remove stains from your wood decks before painting for best results after your new paint job.

What Are The Benefits of Treated Wood?

Let’s discuss why pressure-treated wood should be painted properly to ensure that your outdoor projects are both visually beautiful and long-lasting now that you know the correct answer to the question, “Can you paint pressure-treated wood?” Pressure-treated wood has the following advantages:

  • Moisture, Fungal, Insect Resistance – Any natural wood exposed to moist or damp circumstances will deteriorate, making it easier for bacteria, fungi, and other germs to gradually eat away at the wood. On the other hand, pressure-treated wood contains one of many copper-based chemical compounds that function as a natural biocide!
  • Cost and Durability – You might think, “Wait, but pressure-treated wood is more expensive than natural wood,” and you would be right. If fundamental math is correct, one more expensive purchase and professional installation are more cost-effective than several purchases of a less expensive choice that need to be replaced frequently due to exposure to the elements.

Given that pressure-treated wood has significant advantages over untreated wood, why wouldn’t you make an effort to paint it properly? Applying paint on pressure-treated lumber in the right way may add an extra layer of security, assuring you that your outdoor project will endure.

When Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood? 

Before priming or painting, pressure-treated wood must cure. The moisture levels must be reduced entirely within three to four months. Moisture that condenses on the surface stays too wet. When treated wood absorbs water rather than repels it, it is suitable for painting.

It’s probably too wet to immediately utilize the pressure-treated wood if you purchased it from a hardware shop. The wood also contains other elements, like glue and pitch, that must cure. Painting wood before it has thoroughly dried runs the danger of causing it to rot and deteriorate more quickly.


Depending on where you reside and the conditions, the drying out procedure could take longer. In humid areas, the curing period for treated wood is substantially longer. Cities with dry, arid climates, like Sacramento, will speed up the process considerably.

Checkout: can you use acrylics on wood surface for good results

How To Paint Pressure Treated Wood?


The wood has to be thoroughly cleaned before painting. Use soap and water to clean the wood of any dirt and debris. You might need to scrub with a clean rag to be thorough. Wipe it down with a dry cloth and let it dry thoroughly.

Let the wood dry 

Drying time is required in addition to the chemicals used to cure the wood and the water used to clean it. This procedure might take a few weeks to many months. After pressure treatment, kiln-dried wood will dry out considerably more quickly. Choose kiln-dried wood if you need to finish a project fast.

Apply a coat of primer

You can apply a primer after determining the wood’s moisture content and that it is dry. We advise choosing a good primer for both treated and exterior wood.

Apply paint or stain 

The paint or stain is applied once the priming coat has completely dried. While the stain is simple, paint gives more colour selections and can fill in gaps. Pressure-treated wood may have its appearance changed and flaws covered by painting.

We advise using at least two coats of paint if you decide to do it. On treated wood, avoid using oil-based paints since latex adheres considerably better. Although it can take a little longer, the other sun and weather protection a double coat provides is worth the added time.

What’s the Big Deal About Painting Your Wood After It’s Dried?

When you initially purchased pressure-treated wood, you undoubtedly noticed that it was heavier and felt a little moist to the touch. Because treated wood is sent while it is still “wet” or saturated with liquid chemical preservatives, this is the case.

The treated timber is practically saturated with the chemical, and it is all slowly evaporating out as part of the drying process. It also feels damp to the touch and has a greenish-brown hue. It’s possible that the water-borne chemicals that are seeping would reject primer and paint if you applied them straight away.

painting pressure treated wood

Therefore, it is strongly advised to allow the treated wood fully cure before painting. You may have to wait two to four months, but it will be worth it.

Pressure-treated wood must be stored carefully to prevent warping since the treatment takes time to cure fully. Take into account the following:

Use Stickers

Stickers or thin wood strips are great to stop your wood from twisting as it dries. Place the stickers under the bottom piece of wood at intervals of four feet down the length of the board. Repeat the procedure as you move upward. As long as they are the same thickness, paint stirring sticks or any other form of stick work nicely for this.

Weather Conditions

Pressure-treated wood should be kept warm, dry, and low in humidity. Wait until the summer is warm and dry and at least one month after the last rain if a storage shed is unavailable.

Kiln Drying

Kiln-dried pressure-treated wood is an alternative if you don’t want to wait around as long for the wood to dry before painting. To hasten the drying process, wood is stacked in a kiln and heated. Speciality timber vendors sell kiln-dried pressure-treated wood, sometimes referred to as KDAT (Kiln-Dried After Treatment).

Assess Moisture Content

To determine whether your pressure-treated wood is prepared to be painted, pour a little water onto the surface and see what occurs. Water will form beads on the surface if treated wood is not sufficiently dried. The water will sink into the surface of the wood is sufficiently dry and is then ready for painting.

A Clean Surface Is Necessary Before Painting Treated Wood

Applying primer and paint to pressure-treated wood requires that the surface be clean and dry, as with any painting process. But dirt and grime may accumulate throughout the two to four months needed for the wood to cure correctly. Remove any chemicals that could have seeped into the wood’s surface while it was healing before painting. It’s easier than you think to do this, so don’t panic if you’re unsure how to do it.

pressure treated wood painting preparation


The best approach to clean pressure-treated wood is through washing. It is necessary to have a pail of water with a bit of detergent, a stiff-bristled brush, and a garden hose with a jet nozzle (avoid pressure washers, as the increased water pressure might scrape the wood, limiting the efficiency of the pressure treatment). That is all that is required, and the method is relatively straightforward:

  1. Initially, moisten the area.
  2. Clean the wood with a brush and soapy water after thoroughly saturating the area.
  3. It’s easy to clean; spray some water on the surface.

Although you might be tempted to skip this step to save time, it is necessary for ideal outcomes. The last thing you want is for someone to point out a few spots where the painted-over dirt has peeled off, exposing the treated wood below in a greenish-brown colour.

Prime the wood

The wood has been carefully cleaned, dried, and prepared for priming and painting. Hooray! Before painting, it is usually a good idea to prepare the surface. If you have attempted to paint a wall without priming it first, you know that the colour typically applies unevenly and looks sloppy. The same is valid for painting pressure-treated wood. Thus a top-notch primer is strongly advised to ensure that the paint adheres uniformly and doesn’t peel off the surface of the wood.

Choosing The Right Primer

Ensure the label reads “outdoor” when selecting the proper primer for your pressure-treated wood. Next, decide whether to use a white primer for lighter shades or a tinted primer for deeper tones.

How To Apply Your High-Quality Primer

Every surface of the wood that will be painted should be primed with an excellent exterior primer, which should then dry for at least a day before painting. Use a paint sprayer or a paintbrush to get into the corners, crannies, and spaces that paint rollers can’t access.


You are fully equipped and ready to start painting! But what kind of paint should be applied to pressure-treated wood? That is simple! Exterior latex paint of the highest calibre is ideal for pressure-treated lumber (avoid using oil-based paints). Pressure-treated wood can be painted with water-based latex paint. Think large when picking a colour—don’t be scared! Choose the most delicate type and colour of paint for your outdoor project with the assistance of our experts.

Tips for using pressure-treated wood

The following advice will help you paint over pressure-treated wood.

  • With the bark side facing up, fasten the boards.
  • Drill small pilot holes along the edge of the board before adding screws.
  • Deck boards should be joined together if the wood gets damp.
  • Make use of the proper fasteners.
  • Creating a space between the boards
  • Wear protective glasses and a dust mask when working with wood.
  • After cutting wood, use a wood preservative to seal the ends.
  • Use water-repellent sealers/preservatives that include a mildewcide when building pressure-treated wood fences.
  • Despite the durability of pressure-treated wood, you should examine your fence once a year. Check the quality of the nails and screws and replace any broken boards.
  • Waterproof wood glue can be used to patch up fractures. Additionally, clean your fence every three years to get rid of any accumulated dirt or mildew.
  • If you decide to build one, a penetrating semi-transparent exterior stain or a water-repellent sealant is the perfect finish for a deck.
  • if your wood has acrylics painted on them then it should be removed easily before you start painting new paint job for good end results on pressure treated and normal wood items.



  • How may the drying process be accelerated?

You may be asking how to hasten the drying process of pressure-treated wood, given how long it takes to dry.

Of course, here are two ideas:

To let the wood air dry, arrange it in a crisscross pattern. Use kiln-dried wood if you don’t have much time to ensure that the treated wood is dry. Instead of being dried by the air, this wood is baked to cure it. So, when speed is essential, kiln-dried wood is the best option.

  • What happens if pressure-treated wood is painted too soon?

Pressure-treated wood will deform if painted too soon due to its high moisture content. Pressure-treated wood must be permanently cured completely before being painted. By following these steps, you can ensure that your paintwork lasts as long as possible and avoid having an uneven surface or a peeling finish.

  • How can pressure-treated wood be determined to be dry?

A moisture metre is the most effective technique to confirm that pressure-treated wood is dry. It is a cheap tool that may also be applied to outdoor wood. Moisture metres are also wise enough to distinguish between damp and dry sections of your deck or porch.

  • Which paints are OK for pressure-treated wood?

The best paints for pressure-treated wood are those that endure a long time. The three categories are penetrating oils like linseed and tung oil, exterior enamels, inside paint and stains, and exterior enamels. If you spray these paints around in an open workplace too quickly, you won’t get blisters on your hands since they dry quicker and sink deeper into the pores of a surface. checkout differences between gloss and satin finishes for choosing the best one for your wood objects.

  • How long must I let pressure-treated wood cure before painting it?

Allow pressure-treated wood at least six months to dry before painting. This will give the chemical treatment enough time to carry out its task by penetrating deeply into the pores of the surface fibres. Although it may seem like a long time, the results will be considerably more satisfactory after the wood has completely dried.

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