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Can Pressure Treated Wood Be Painted?

Painter Spray Painting a Pressure Treated Wood Deck of a Home

Pressure treated lumber is superior to normal wood. Basically, when choosing treated wood for your deck, fence, or patio, your structure will last longer when exposed to the elements.

In contrast, untreated wood begins to rot or insects start eating it after a couple of years.

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Yes, pressure treated lumber can be painted. You can either use a brush, roller, or sprayer. Make sure to use a high-quality water-based exterior latex paint with its corresponding primer to protect treated wood longer from water and UV rays that cause decay.

How Long Should You Wait Before You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

How Long Should You Wait Before You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

You need to wait between 3 to 4 months to paint pressure treated lumber. What happens is that it takes around 3 to 4 months for your treated wood to completely reduce its moisture levels. Before painting, the wood must be dry both on the surface and internally. Otherwise, your paint will not adhere, and your coat of paint will eventually start to peel.

How Do You Know Your Treated Lumber Is Dry?

Observe the treated wood closely. If moisture beads up on the surface, it’s still too damp.


If the wood looks dry on the outside, one practical tip to know if the treated wood is ready to paint is when it absorbs water instead of repelling it. So, you can sprinkle your fence or deck with water, and if water is absorbed by the wood within 10 minutes, it’s ready to be painted. If it takes longer for the wood to absorb the water, it needs more time to dry out.

How Long Does Painted Pressure Treated Wood Last?

Pressure Treated Wood Deck Painted for Further Protection

The chemical preservatives used to produce pressure-treated wood minimize the wood’s natural vulnerability to insects and rot.

So, from here, treated wood is superior to untreated wood. The process to treat wood begins with an initial vacuum to evacuate air from the cylinder or chamber where the lumber is placed.

Later, the tank is filled with a solution containing chromium, copper, and arsenic. The next step is to increase the pressure to 140-150 psi for several hours. Because of the vacuum and the exerted pressure, the chemicals are carried deep into the wood.

Pressure treated wood can last from 25 years up to 40 years. And if you paint it, it definitely will last longer.

The following are the factors that will determine how long pressure treated wood will last:

  • The quality of the chemicals used in the pressure treatment
  • The project type
  • The wear, tear, and exposure the wood will endure
  • How well it is maintained

You can protect your treated wood against elements such as water and UV rays that cause decay by applying stains, paints and sealants. Just make sure the wood is dry enough before painting or staining.

Is It Better to Stain or Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Woman Staining Pressure Treated Wood

In contrast to painting, before applying stain, pressure treated wood only needs to be dry on the surface—not necessarily inside. So, if you have a deck, fence, or patio, it will be easier to stain it because you won’t have to wait 3 to 4 months.

The stain will adhere better than paint, seeping into the wood, and becoming a part of the deck rather than an added layer. This means that the stain won’t chip, crack or flake.

Paint or Stain Pressure Treated Wood to Increase Its Lifespan

Although pressure-treated wood can withstand outdoor conditions better than natural lumber can, adding paint, stain, or a sealant can extend its life further.

Just beware that painting before the pressure treated wood is ready can lead to poor adhesion and peeling.

If you live near Foley, AL and have further questions about painting treated wood or any other project you are working on, call OJM Painting & Sheetrock Repair LLC. We offer top-quality residential & commercial painting services in Gulf Shores, AL, Pensacola, FL, Orange Beach, AL, Milton, FL, and the surrounding areas.

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