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Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

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Pressure-treated wood can look beautiful and rustic as it is, but for some people, it might look even better if it had a nice paint job done to it. Can you even paint pressure-treated wood? Is it harmful to this type of wood to be painted on?

You’ll be happy to know that you most certainly can paint pressure treated wood if you choose to do so. Whether you’re opting to handle the painting yourself or you prefer to use the services of trusted painting companies, you should be able to rest assured that your pressure-treated wood is going to be in good hands and look great when it’s done.

Ready to make your porch or deck look phenomenal again? You can go right back to that happy place with the right paint job on your porch or deck made out of pressure-treated wood.

All you need to do is make sure you’re caught up with some tips on how you can properly paint and take care of your pressure treated wood.

How Do You Paint Pressure Treated Wood the Right Way?

If you want to take on the world and paint your pressure-treated wood by yourself, then there are a few things you should know. You should always remember that pressure-treated wood needs the right amount of time to be thoroughly dried out before it can be painted.

The drying process for pressure treated wood can take a good deal longer than normal lumber.

Also, you want to make sure you’re using the proper paint and primer when you’re painting pressure treated wood. You should try to stay away from oil-based paints for this type of wood, sticking instead to latex primer and latex paint, which can also be known as water-based paint.

To properly paint your pressure-treated wood:

  • Start by prepping the area. Clean it up thoroughly by using soap and water, being sure to get rid of any left behind debris and dirt.
  • Power wash the deck or porch with a power washer if it needs cleaning. Before you begin painting, ensure the wood is nice and dry.
  • After the wood has completely dried, you can begin applying your primer onto the porch or deck.
  • Once the primer has cured, you can apply at least two coats of your latex primer. Make sure you read the instructions from the manufacturer, as it will tell you the best amount of time to wait between applying coats of paint.

Pressure-treated wood can look great with the right paint job, and you’ll be happy to see with these simple steps that the decision to do it yourself or hiring professionals really just comes down to the amount of time you have and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on the painting project.

Hiring the Professionals vs. Doing it Yourself

With something as simple as priming and painting your deck or porch, the temptation might be strong to handle the painting process yourself. After all, all you need to do is measure the dimensions of the porch or deck, figure out how much materials you will need, and take a drive to the hardware depot.

Of course, there are also going to be people who prefer to hire outside parties to handle around the house projects. This is fine, too, as not everyone has the time or the know-how to properly complete these tasks.

What are the main upsides to hiring professional painters to handle painting your pressure treated wood porch or deck?

Hiring professionals frees up your time

If you hire professionals to do the job, you’ll save a lot of time, time that you can dedicate to something else.

Hiring professionals get you quality materials

Professional painters tend to keep high-quality material on hand, so you’ll know that you’ll be getting only the best materials and equipment on the job if you choose to hire a professional painter.

The main thing that is better about doing the job yourself is that you will most likely end up saving a few hundred dollars when you handle everything alone instead of hiring movers. It’s safe to say that you’ll be worn out and tired by the end of the project, however!

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Pros and Cons of Pressure-Treated Wood


The major reason for using pressure-treated wood for constructing wooden decks, fences, and others is to maintain beautiful outdoor structures for a long time. It also offers protection to the structures against insects, rotting, and fungal activities. Let us discuss how pressure-treated wood is made, which enables it to resist nature as well as the uses of pressure-treated wood.


Pressure-treated wood takes in a great quantity of moisture, which makes it remain wet even when it gets to the store. That is why it takes longer to dry up, and the preservative agents stay in the wood even after evaporation.

Types of Pressure-Treated Wood

  • Above-ground pressure-treated wood: This is useful when the wood contains adequate ventilation and drainage. It can be used in places where it can be easily maintained or replaced, or in places that are over six inches from the ground level. It is only useful when there are enough ventilation and drainage in the wood.
  • Ground-contact pressure-treated wood: It is useful in any application that is above the ground level. Its chemical retention level doubles and is only useful where wood maintenance or replacement is difficult.

Uses of Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated woods are mostly used for fences and decks to promote wooden docks, outdoor structures, ramps, and walkways longevity. It is also used in stair stringers, pergolas, above-ground garden beds, arbors, and wooden swing sets.

  • Pro Tip: Do not use pressure-treated wood for any indoor applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Never painted your pressure treated porch or deck before? Here are some common questions about the topic, along with their answers, to help you with any inquiries you may have.

What are pressure-treated woods?

Preservatives are added into the wood in a block of pressure-treated wood, which means it uses high pressure and preservative agents deep into the wood to ensure its longevity. Copper azole (CA), copper quaternary (ACQ), or Micronized copper azole (MCA) are the ingredients usually used in pressure-treated wood.

These ingredients blend with wood in order to reduce the decay and give it properties to tackle moisture, rotting, fungus, and degradation.

Are you recommending painting-treated wood?

We do not recommend painting treated wood even though it offers an easy-to-print surface. You don’t need to protect treated wood from the elements. But if you would love to paint your treated wood, make sure it properly dry before painting. Test its dryness by pouring some water on it and wait to see it absorbs it or not.

Why is painting the pressure treated wood seen as the best option?

As discussed earlier, preservative agents are passed into pressure-treated woods in order to protect it. The wood is positioned in a holding tank that depressurizes and replaces the air it removed with preservative agents.

Pressure-treated wood is seen as the best option because of its protection against insects and harmful rot. Still, it also has its downside, which is its inability to prevent weathering and corrosion, which can be prevented by applying paint or stain.

What time should I wait to paint pressure treated wood?

You don’t need to wait before you paint a kiln-dried pressure-treated wood; however, if the wood is not kiln-dried, you should hold on for it to fully dry take from two to four months. Yes, patience is a major key to this project.

What are the types of paint I can apply to pressure treated wood?

The exterior latex paint is the only paint that is perfect for pressure-treated wood, and it is also known as water-based paint. Make sure you get the one of the highest quality. However, if you will apply the wood indoors, then consider the interior latex paint.

What will happen to a pressure-treated wood painted too soon?

There are a lot of chemicals used in the wood during pressure treatment. The treatment is done in a lot of water. This means that there are chemical and moisture that penetrates deep into the wood’s pored. If we paint the wood without waiting for at least two to four months, the wood’s chemical and moisture content would try to find their way outside the wood as the wood dries out.

However, the moisture and chemical will be trapped in the timber if you’ve painted it without allowing it to dry out. This will cause damage to the wood and the painting. The moisture will cause warping of the wood, and the chemicals will peel off the painting as they try to evaporate.

How do you get a pressure-treated wood ready for painting?

Now that you are certain that the wood is completely dry and is set for painting. The first step to take is to coat the wood in a high-quality primer before you commence painting. You may be wondering why the use of primer is so important. It is important because it helps improve the paint’s adhesion to the surface of the timber.

Additionally, the primer prevents the paint from soaking into the wood and flaking away in the long run.

Are you able to stain pressure treated wood?

Along with painting, many people wonder if pressure treated wood can be stained. The answer is an easy yes, since staining can actually be simpler in some cases. With stain, though, you won’t have as many options when it comes to color.

What is the best paint to use for pressure treated wood?

You should do your best to avoid any oil-based paints on pressure-treated wood since this type of paint is resistant to the surface of the wood. For best results, use latex-based paints.

How do I know when my pressure-treated wood is dry?

Try sprinkling some water onto the wood. If it soaks right in, then it is dry and ready for paint. If it doesn’t, then the pressure treated wood is still too wet for painting and will need more time before you can begin the painting process.

Paint and Stain Away

For people who have never done it before, thinking about painting pressure treated wood on your deck or porch might be confusing. Many people don’t know the differences between various types of wood and how to properly care for them.

For people that do know these differences, they probably have the ability to comfortably handle these kinds of home projects themselves.

For the rest of us, picking up the phone and calling a local painting service to get the job done is the best way to go.

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