 how to paint treated wood

How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood Like an Expert?

You’re on a budget and don’t want to spend much money on regular lumber? Then pressure-treated wood is the type of wood you want to get for your project.

Pressure-treated wood is handy if there’s a good chance for moisture to reach the piece of wood. Especially if there is direct contact between the wood and anything that could damage it, pressure-treated wood comes like a charm.

Learning how to paint pressure treated wood is not that hard. Most people think that it takes a lot of effort and they get turned off by that idea but we’ll show you that it’s not that hard, as most people make it sound.

Here, you will learn how to properly paint pressure treated wood. So, by the time you’re done reading this article, you should know how to paint pressure-treated wood like an expert.

When Should You Use Pressure-Treated Wood?

when is pressure-treated lumber ready to be painted or stained

The chemicals applied to pressure-treated wood are harmful to the environment, as the concentrated liquid state is made with highly toxic chemicals. And you also know the system to check the quality of the pressure-treated wood.

Unlike regular wood, pressure-treated wood has been treated with preservative chemicals to extend its lifecycle.

You should only use pressure treated wood for outdoor projects, and regular lumber for indoor projects, as treated wood can irritate the eyes.

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Yes, you can paint pressure-treated wood but before you start painting, there are a couple of things you need to know.

The chemicals used for pressure treated wood are toxic if you inhale them. So always wear gloves and a dust mask when working on pressure-treated lumber.

You can’t just paint treated wood right away. You need to wait for it to breathe out. So, when can you paint pressure treated wood? This process usually takes up to 3 months from the moment it it is pressure-treated.

Even if you buy pressure-treated wood, you should know that it is not completely dry and therefore, you should let it dry before you start painting. It takes about 3 months before it’s fully dry. However, this heavily depends on the weather, a few weeks of good weather should get it dry enough to take a finish.

But just to make sure that you don’t ruin your wood, get a moisture meter to determine if the material is ready for use. You can also sprinkle the wood’s surface with water if water beads up, the wood is too wet, and you should wait before applying a finish.

Another thing to keep in mind is that pressure-treated wood needs to be maintained regularly, just like regular lumber. While it may be true that treated wood can withstand any weather for a very long time, that does not mean you should forget about the upkeep.

If you decide to paint the wood before it’s dry, do keep in mind that the paint will crack and not adhere correctly, so you’d just be wasting both money and time.

Advantages of Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood has many things to offer. Here are some of them:


Pressure-treated wood is notably cheaper than regular lumber, such as redwood, cedar, and many more. It is an excellent choice if money is tight.


Another significant advantage that comes right out of the box with pressure-treated wood is that it is strong compared to other types of wood. It will last for decades as it is more likely to resist dents, scratches, and moisture.


The chemicals used in treating this type of wood will make bugs go away. If a bug tries to bite into the wood, they are not going to have a fun time. And that’s all you get simply from learning how to paint a treated lumber!

Cons of Pressure-Treated Wood

Even though pressure-treated wood is so useful but it also has some significant drawbacks, such as it being harmful to the environment and irritant to the eyes.

Burning this type of wood will release toxic chemicals into the air, and because of that, pressure-treated wood is not considered to be environment friendly.

How to Paint Treated Wood: Full Guide

We went through a lot of information about painting pressure treated wood. And while that might have been quite boring but it is essential to know all of that if you want to paint pressure treated wood like a pro.

Now that we know what we need to start painting treated wood and what we shouldn’t do, we’ll walk you through a couple of methods that will teach you how to paint treated timber.

1. Washing with Soapy Water and Brush

Before painting the wood, we need to clean and disinfect the surface, and this is where soapy water comes in handy.

Things You Will Need

  • Soapy water
  • A brush

Steps to Take

  1. Pour the soapy water all over the pressure-treated wood
  2. Use the bristle brush to scrub soapy water into the wood
  3. The harder you brush, the easier the dirt will come off
  4. Keep scrubbing until the surface is clean and fresh

2. Use a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are incredibly fun to use and show such quickly results than manually spraying water all over the surface. But because of the high pressure they produce, you need to understand how to properly use one before starting.

Using a pressure washer is an excellent choice if you’re painting any treated wood for a large project. But if you’re working on a simple project, then you may not need a pressure washer.

The high pressure of the water spray can damage your property, harm the concrete, break your window. And it can also cut through your flesh and cause severe injuries such as nerve damage and amputation.

So, it’s vital to wear protective gear when using a pressure washer.

Pressure washers are also expensive, so we recommend just renting one. But if you plan on doing this more often, you may want to buy one.

Things You Will Need

  • A pressure washer
  • Wood brightener

Steps to Take

  1. Read the manual. There are many differences among pressure washers, so reading your owner’s manual from front to back is the first step to prevent any risk.
  2. Wear protective gear (safety goggles, boots, long pants, and gloves).
  3. Do not spray it on anybody.
  4. Make sure your water supply can deliver enough water.
  5. Run water through the washer for one minute to remove any air in the system.
  6. Shake the wood brightener before using it.
  7. Mix 1 gallon of wood brightener to 3 gallons of water.
  8. Apply brightener on the surface using a brush or a roller.

3. Let the Wood Dry

Before you start doing anything please let the wood dry so that these products can set properly. This may take a few weeks, depending on the type.

  • Place it in a warm and dry environment so that it can get used to it.
  • Don’t over-dry lumber, this can lead to cracking.
  • Pour water onto the wood, if the water beads up, then you should wait before painting pressure-treated wood.

4. Applying Latex-Based Primer

You need to use a primer before you even think about painting the wood as it is hard for paint to hold onto the wood. After applying the primer, let it dry. This usually takes about two days, depending on the primer.

Make sure you buy paint that is specifically made for exterior use on pressure-treated wood as well as the primer. Do not purchase oil-based paints as they don’t hold well onto the wood.

Steps to Take

  1. Prepare the brush
  2. Dip the brush into the primer
  3. Apply the primer
  4. Start just a little bit away from the corner and work your way in

5. Let the Primer Dry

Can you paint treated lumber? Yes, you can. But you need to wait at least 24 hours for the primer to dry thoroughly. Primer helps create a smooth surface for the finish coat, which cannot be done if the primer is still wet.

High humidity and cold temperatures prolong drying times. If you’re using an oil-based primer, this process may take up to 24 hours unlike latex-based primer, which usually takes about 3 hours.

Keep in mind that if you decide to paint the wood before it is dry your wood will crack, and the paint will most likely come off.

You can this article: How to fill the cracks in wood?

6. Applying the Paint

Applying the Paint

The key to any successful finish is appropriately preparing the surface as we’ve done so far. But before we open the can, there is just one more thing that we need to protect the surrounding areas. If you can, move out the furniture and cover the entire floor with a rag.

Now it’s time to apply the first coat.

Things You Will Need

  • A brush
  • Several rags to cover the floor
  • Paint

Steps to Take

  1. First, prepare the brush by soaking it
  2. Dip the brush into the paint
  3. Get rid of dripping paint
  4. Apply the paint
  5. Flex the brush on the surface
  6. Make a smooth stroke with the brush
  7. Use the tip of the brush to remove any bubbles of paint
  8. Let the first coat dry completely before applying a second layer
  9. The paint should dry within 4 hours

Final Words

As you can see, learning how to paint pressure treated wood is not that different from painting regular lumber. It does take a few different steps. But overall, there isn’t much difference.

You can also Read:

  1. What are the Paints Used for Hiding The Flaws?
  2. Which Deck Paint to Select for Your Old Wood?
  3. Beginners' Guide on Clear Coat to Apply on White Paint
  4. How to Select Perfect Paint for Your Wood?
  5. How to Clean Up Acrylic Paint from Your Wood?
  6. What is the Proper Way to Apply paint on Your Mirror?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top