Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood? (Detailed Guide)


Can you paint pressure treated wood? That is a question that is frequently asked when dealing with pressure-treated wood.

Many people prefer the rustic look of pressure-treated wood and they don’t want to paint it. The natural color of the wood often makes a notable appearance.

However, some are confused about whether they should perform the painting on it or not. They think about the benefits the painting may or may not bring in.

If some people find it perfectly fine to paint the pressure-treated wood, some will argue and point out the disadvantages of the same.

To give you an unbiased idea, we have created this well-researched article. Consider the following information carefully before making a decision about the exposed wooden structure of your property.

We will discuss the pressure-treated wood, the painting options, and the ways of doing so. Continue reading to find answers to all your queries.

About Pressure-Treated Wood

“Treated wood” is a term that refers to wood that has undergone a chemical preservative treatment. Most of the time, treated wood is the same type of untreated piece of wood that is readily available wherever you are purchasing it.

Using a pressurized cylinder, preservative-treated wood was impregnated with waterborne preservative. Preservatives get deep inside the inner structure of the wood, keeping a chemical residue behind that prevents fungi from infesting the wood in the future.

class=”gb-headline gb-headline-bbc6d865 gb-headline-text”>There Are Mainly Three Types:

An oil finish or copper quaternary (ACQ) is a type of finish that is applied to wood. Paint over the top urethane layer, which makes its protective layer.

This process is more time-consuming, but it provides long-lasting protection against water damage and other environmental factors.

EP boards are pressure-treated boards that have been ethanol coated and are made from recycled materials like plastics.

Where Are Pressure Treated Wood Used?

The use of pressure-treated wood in the construction of outdoor wooden buildings ensures that they will withstand the harsh weather conditions they will encounter.

High pressure and chemical treatment prevent deterioration, insect infestation, mold, and water damage to the wood.

A depressurized holding tank pumps out the air and brings a chemical preservative into that place, loading the wood into the tank.

Fences, decks, wooden docks, and other outdoor structures like ramps and pathways are common uses for pressure-treated wood.

It can also be found in pergolas, stair stringers, arbors, above-ground garden beds, and wooden swing sets. Pressure-treated wood should not be used for indoor purposes because it is made with several harmful chemicals.

Wearing gloves, goggles, and a dust mask are all recommended while working with treated wood. Pressure-treated wood should not be burned because of the chemicals it contains.

Above Ground

At least six inches above ground level, this product is best used in areas where the wood can be easily maintained and replaced and where appropriate ventilation and drainage are available.


Used in areas where wood is in direct or intimate contact with the earth, or in areas where it is difficult to maintain or replace the material.

Retention of chemicals is increased in the wood to withstand severe and wet environments.

What Is The Right Time To Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Before painting or priming pressure-treated wood, it must first dry out. It will take 3-4 months for the moisture levels to completely decrease. It’s still too wet if water is beading up on the surface.

When the treated wood absorbs water, it’s ready for painting. In most cases, pressure-treated lumber purchased from a hardware shop will be too moist for immediate usage.

As well as glue and pitch, the wood contains other compounds that must be allowed to dry. If you paint before your wood has had a chance to dry correctly, you run the risk of premature disintegration and deterioration.

Depending on where you live and the climate, the drying process may take longer. It will take a lot longer for treated wood to cure in high-humidity areas.

Arid and dry climates like Sacramento’s will pace up the process considerably.

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Yes, you can paint pressure treated wood. No extra treatment is needed to preserve new pressure-treated wood that has been exposed to the weather.

Pressure-treated wood’s lifespan is influenced by factors such as maintenance, climate, wood species, and project type.

Maintaining a generally dry environment and applying water repellant to pressure-treated pine can extend the life of the wood by 20-40 years.

If the copper treatment on pressure-treated wood has worn off, a coat of exterior-grade paint might help keep the wood looking excellent for longer.

Prepare The Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood should be prepped prior to painting in order to extend the life of the finished product. To get you started, here’s a simple guide:

Complete Drying Is Necessary

The first step in painting pressure-treated wood is to ensure that it is completely dry. Do not begin painting the wood right away, even if it has been exposed to direct sunshine.

After you’ve installed it on the deck or porch, it isn’t even dry. Figure out the best paint for your porch. During the pressure treatment, chemicals add moisture to the air.

Allow some months for the treated lumber to dry completely. And finally, a word of warning: be very careful. Although you must let the wood dry, don’t dry it too much.

If this occurs, the wood will crack. So, periodically inspect the wood’s surface for dampness.

How To Understand If The Wood Is Dry

There are a number of indicators that the treated wood is all set for painting in this section.
Pressure-treated wood can be dried in numerous ways:

Feel Test

Using your senses of sight and touch, you can assess the condition of the wood for this test. If the wood fails this first test, there is no point in continuing with the other two.

Try pressing into the wood with a paper towel to check if you can feel any dampness. Moisture oozes out of wet wood like a sponge.

While this test can tell you whether or not your wood is still wet, it cannot tell you whether or not the wood is ready to be painted.

The reason wood takes so long to dry is because it is a sponge-like material that is extremely absorbent.

Water Test

A second method is available if the first test fails to identify any humidity in the wood. Place a few droplets of water.

If the water seeps into the wood, the wood has dried sufficiently to be painted. If, on the other hand, the water pools on the wood are saturated.

It’s possible that a portion of the board has dried sufficiently, but is that the case throughout? It would be counterproductive to wet the entire board, so how do we proceed?

Digital Moisture Tester

A digital moisture meter is your final option for determining the treated lumber’s moisture content.
With two prongs on the digital moisture meter, you may check to see if there is any moisture present in the wood.

Make sure your digital moisture meter is calibrated before using it. You can also average your results by testing more than one area of the board at a time.

Let’s take a look at what happens if you apply paint on pressure-treated wood.

Clean The Wood

Dealing with treated wood takes time, as you may have anticipated. It is ready to proceed if it passes your water test. Clean the surface before bringing out your painter’s whites and brush.

Surface filth and grime can be removed using soap, water, and a hard brush. For the paint and primer to adhere correctly, they also eliminate chemicals from the surface.

Using a powerful pressure washer can damage the wood and cause it to take longer to dry, so I advise against it. A second drying step is required after the wood has been cleaned and disinfected.

Because you will be putting added liquid along with the chemicals that have already been administered, this could take many weeks.

When you drop water on the wood during your test, it absorbs it.

Use Primer

Prior to painting or staining, unfinished wood should be primed. It is because of the high solids content in primer that it produces a smooth surface on which the paint can glide.

It also serves as a protective layer, as wood absorbs a lot of paint, resulting in additional work and expenditure that could otherwise be avoided.

The primer you choose should be stain-blocking or oil-based, depending on the type of paint you want to use. Oil-based paint requires an oil-based, stain-blocking primer.

Primed wood is versatile enough to accommodate any option. Check out our prior post for advice on picking the best primer.

Process Of Painting Pressure Treated Wood

Get yourself equipped with your painting supplies ready before you begin painting pressure-treated wood. You’ll save both energy and time this way.

Premium Exterior Latex Paint

Completely cover the surface with two layers of latex paint Why does pressure-treated wood need two coats of paint?

Two coats of paint will give you a long-lasting finish, but the first coat will only last about six months. Paint made from latex is the finest for painted wood.

Before applying the second layer of paint, make sure the first coat has cured. It’s important to keep in mind that curing typically takes the better part of a day.

Water-based latex paint is preferable to oil-based paint for exterior use. For smooth wood surfaces, it is more effective. Try not to use oil-based paint at any cost.

Horizontal surfaces are typically more exposed than vertical ones, so keep this in mind as you paint. It’s also a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when painting pressure-treated wood.

Water Repellent Coat

A finish containing the ultraviolet stabilizer can be applied after applying water-based paint. The paint will not fade or change on the surface as a result of this.

That’s all there is to it! Your deck probably looks and feels brand new. Even after painting pressure-treated wood, you can additionally stain it for extra protection.

Damage and decay are less likely to occur on wood that has been stained.

Final Verdict

When painting treated wood, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure the wood is completely dry. Consider where the wood was stored, whether it was kiln-dried, and its thickness to determine if the treated timber is completely dry.

Drop a few water beads on the board’s surface and see if the water absorbs; if it does, the board is all set for painting. It takes time to paint treated wood.

A lot of time and effort is wasted if you don’t take enough time for the procedure.

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