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Written By AB Williams

Welcome! My name is AB Williams. Wood working is my passion.It became my passion after I’d finished college. Since then I’ve gained strong knowledge and skill set of woodworking and wood finishing.





You have a table, stairs, or other structure made with pressure treated lumber, you may not like the look of the brown or green wood exterior created by pressure treatment. You may be thinking, can you paint pressure treated wood?

Related Article: Best Paint for Woods.

The short answer is yes you can use it, but it’s a little more complex than the regular painting wood. There are a some things you need to know about how to fix the wood before you get out the paint and paintbrush. 

What Exactly is Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treating the wood is a process done at the lumber mill to gain the wood more resistant to rot and fungus attack. When lumber is treated, it is swamped in a vat of chemicals and put under tremendous pressure to get the chemicals to thrust deeply into the wood grain. After that, the wood is set on racks till it is dry to the touch.

How Pressure Treating work

There are various chemicals used for treating lumber. The most basic are chromated copper arsenate, or CCA and alkaline copper quaternary, or ACQ

The copper is what often gives pressure handled wood a slightly green tint, although the ACQ treatment makes the ultimate product come out a brown color.

If you look deeply at the surface of pressure treated lumber, you will see small indentations spaced over the board. These help the chemicals stick better into the surface of the wood, and their appearance is a sure way of determining a piece of wood has been pressure treated, no matter what the color is.

Here are the steps to paint your lumber

Stack of of lumber plank or boads in woodworking warehouse

1. Dry the Lumber

Unless you practice kiln-dried pressure treated wood, one difficulty with placing a coat of paint on this kind of wood is that pressure-treated lumber is not wholly dry for quite a significant time after the chemical pressure treatment. Require to wait three to four months for new pressure treated wood to cure before painting it altogether.

While you can examine new pressure treated boards externally noticing the chemicals on your gloves, there is still damp, pitch, and resin inside the wood, which requires time to dry out before you paint it.

Enabling the wood to completely dry before painting is one secret to a great paint job on this type of lumber.

Because it is not completely dry, new pressure-treated lumber can instantly warp and bend if you don’t handle it correctly. After you buy further pressure treated lumber, make with it right away, or keep it piled flat in a dry place and wait at least 60 days to four months before painting it.

Weather Conditions

Besides creating sure your pressure treated lumber is dried out from the process, it’s also necessary not to paint any wood if it’s wet from rain or snow.

Do your painting during heated, dry weather and low humidity conditions. If your lumber is outside, wait at least a month after the last rain so you can paint.

If the chemicals are thoroughly dried out before painting pressure treated wood? There’s a simple test you can use.

Just pour a small amount of water onto the wood and observe what happens. If the water beads up on the surface, the wood is not dried out enough. If the water sinks into the wood grain, it’s dry enough to get out your paintbrushes.

2. Clean the Wood

Painting a pressure treated structure outdoors, the wood may have dust and dirt on it, which require to remove before painting. Also, you needed to wash off the chemicals on the surface of the wood before apply paint.

You will need a hose with a jet nozzle, a stiff brush, and a container of water with a moderate detergent. Wet the area, scrub with the brush and foamy water, and use the spray of water to wash it off. Don’t use a pressure washer because this can gouge the wood, decreasing the effectiveness of the pressure treatment.

After cleaning, you’ll need to wait for the wood to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

3. Prime It Thoroughly

Final paint job to thoroughly cover the color of the pressure treatment, it is necessary to use a high-quality primer before you paint on the shine coats. Be sure the label on the primer says you can use it outside. Using a primer will further ensure the finish coats of paint adhere to the wood surface outwardly peeling.

Apply a coat of primer to all surfaces of the wood you intend to paint and let it dry for at least one day before moving on to the next step.

You can use a paint sprayer or a paintbrush to apply both the primer and finish coats. Only paint rollers probably won’t get paint into all of the crevices on the surface of the largest pressure treated wood.


4. Top Paint Coats

The best paint to use for pressure treated wood is high-quality, surface latex paint. If you are connecting lumbers in an indoor location, you can use interior paint.

You can choose color you like, but lighter colors may take more coats to hide the green or brown color underneath entirely unless you use a primer. Whatever color you use, plan on doing at least two finish coats over the primer, and wait a day between coats so the paint can dry thoroughly.

It does take a bit more work and patience to paint pressure treated wood than painting untreated lumber. 

Related Article: Best Paint for Woods.

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