How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated wood is stunning and rustic as is, but for some people, it will look much better with a good paint job. Is it possible to paint pressure-treated wood?

You’ll be pleased to learn that you can, in fact, paint pressure-treated wood if you so desire. All you have to do is make sure you’re up to date on some tips on how to properly paint and care for your pressure-treated wood.


How to Paint PressureTreated Wood

Here are the steps to paint pressure treated wood:

1. Washing with Soapy Water and Brush

We need to clean and disinfect the surface before painting the wood, which is where soapy water comes in handy.

  • Pour soapy water into the pressure-treated wood.
  • Scrub the soapy water onto the wood with a bristle brush.
  • The dirt would come off better if you brush harder.
  • Scrub the surface until it is clean.

2. Use a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are a lot of fun to use and achieve results much quicker than manually spraying water all over the surface. However, because of the high pressure they produce, you must first learn how to use one properly before you begin.

If you’re painting treated wood for a big project, a pressure washer is an excellent option. However, if you’re working on a simple project, you do not need a pressure washer.

The high pressure of the water spray can cause damage to your house, damage to the concrete, and even break your window. It can also cut the flesh, causing serious injuries such as nerve damage and amputation.

3. Let the Wood Dry

Before you begin, allow the wood to dry completely so that the paint can properly set. Depending on the type, this could take a few weeks.

Place it in a warm, dry environment but remember that over-drying lumber can result in cracking. If the water beads up on the wood, you can wait before painting pressure-treated wood.

4. Apply Latex-Based Primer


Since paint has a difficult time adhering to wood, you should use a primer before you even consider painting it. Allow the primer to dry after you’ve applied it. Depending on the primer, this normally takes two days.

Make certain that the paint and primer are both built for exterior use on pressure-treated wood. Oil-based paints should not be used because they do not stick well to wood.

5. Let the Primer Dry

The primer aids in the creation of a smooth surface for the finish coat, which cannot be accomplished when the primer is still wet.

Drying times are slowed by high humidity and cold temperatures. This process can take up to 24 hours if you use an oil-based primer, as opposed to 3 hours if you use a latex-based primer.

Bear in mind that if you paint the wood before it is fully dry, it will crack and the paint will most likely come off.

6. Apply the Paint

The secret to any good finish is properly preparing the surface, which we have done thus far. But, before we open the can, there is one more thing we should be aware of: we must protect the surrounding areas. Remove all furniture and cover the entire floor with a rag if necessary.

Now, you’re ready to start applying the first coat.

Staining vs. Painting Pressure Treated Wood

Since pressure-treated wood can be stained or painted, you can use either process after the primer has dried. However, each choice has advantages and disadvantages, so it is best to consider the options.

Staining The Wood


You may use a stain to change the color of your wood. This technique penetrates the wood deeply and is easier to apply; however, it will not fill in cracks or imperfections in the wood as paint would. You will also not have as many color choices to choose from.

Painting The Wood

Painting your pressure-treated wood will help revive it with vibrant new color. You’ll have a lot of color choices with paint, which can make a major difference in the look of the wood. It also allows you to use lighter colors, as opposed to staining, which only comes in brown shades.

Paint can also help fill in cracks and imperfections in the wood, giving it a cleaner overall look that stain cannot. This method, however, will take a little longer to complete and will not soak into the wood as well as stain.


Pressure treated wood is a construction material that is often used in outdoor applications because it is resistant to rot and insects. The wood is treated with chemicals that help to extend its lifespan. However, one downside of pressure treated wood is that it can be difficult to paint. The chemicals in the wood can cause paint to chip and peel. As a result, many homeowners choose to stain or seal pressure treated wood instead of painting it.
While stained and sealed pressure treated wood will last for several years, painted pressure treated wood will only last for one or two seasons before it needs to be repainted. In conclusion, while pressure treated wood is a durable construction material, it is not ideal for applications where a long-lasting paint job is desired.

The easiest way to test the moisture level of the wood is with a moisture meter. Simply insert the probe of the meter into the wood. If the reading is above 20%, the wood is still too wet and should not be painted. Once the moisture level has dropped below 20%, the wood will be ready to accept paint.

Another way to test the moisture level of the wood is with a moisture meter. Simply insert the probe of the meter into the wood. If the reading is above 20%, the wood is still too wet and should not be painted. Once the moisture level has dropped below 20%, the wood will be ready to accept paint.

While pressure-treated wood is durable and long lasting, it is not immune to the elements. Over time, the sun and rain can cause the wood to fade and warp. To help protect your investment, it is important to regularly maintain your pressure-treated wood.

One way to do this is to sand the wood before staining. This will remove any roughness or imperfections on the surface of the wood, creating a smooth finish that will help to repel moisture and dirt. In addition, sanding will also help to restore the wood’s natural color. For best results, sand your pressure-treated wood at least once a year.