Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood? 

Posted on: October 5th, 2021

Can you paint pressure treated wood?

People often wonder: can you paint pressure treated wood? The answer is, yes, but there are some important things to consider for best results. There are extra steps you need to take that aren’t necessary with regular lumber. 

Pressure treated lumber needs time to dry out completely before it’s painted. Showing a little patience, then applying the proper paint and primer will be your best chance at a successful and long-lasting outcome.

How Long Should you Wait Between Coats of Paint

When Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood? 

Pressure treated wood needs time to dry out before it’s primed or painted. You can expect 3-4 months before the moisture levels fully go down. If moisture beads up on the surface, it’s still too damp. You’ll know the treated wood is ready to paint when it absorbs water instead of repelling it. If you picked up pressure treated lumber from the hardware store, chances are it will be too wet to use right away. There are also chemicals in the wood such as resin and pitch that need time to dry out as well. The danger in painting too soon is that your lumber could decay and deteriorate much faster than if given time to properly cure. 

The drying out process will obviously take longer depending on your location and the climate where you live. Areas with extreme humidity will take treated wood much longer to cure. Cities such as Sacramento with a more arid and dry climate will speed up the process significantly.

How To Paint Pressure Treated Wood 


Before starting to paint, the first thing you should do is give the wood a good cleaning. Use soap and water to wash away any dirt and debris on the wood. You may need to scrub with a clean rag to really be thorough. When finished, wipe down with a dry rag and let it completely dry.

1. Let the wood dry 

As mentioned earlier, between the chemicals used to treat the wood and the water used to clean it, the lumber needs time to dry out. This process can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Pressure treated wood that is kiln-dried after treatment will dry out much faster. So if you have a project that can’t wait, opt for kiln-dried wood. 

2. Apply a coat of primer

Once you’ve tested the moisture of your wood and are certain it’s dry, you can apply a coat of primer. We recommend using a primer that is listed on the label as suitable for both treated and exterior wood alike.

3. Apply paint or stain 

When the primer coat has had plenty of time to dry, the next step is to apply the paint or stain. Stain can be easier to apply but won’t fill in the cracks or give you the color options paint has to offer. Painting pressure treated wood can really change the look and fill in any cracks or imperfections. If you take the paint route we recommend applying at least two coats. Stay away from oil-based paints for treated wood as latex adheres much better. It may take a little longer but the extra protection a double coat gives from the sun and elements will be well worth it. 

Conclusion on Painting Pressure Treated Wood

If you live in the Sacramento area and have further questions about painting treated wood or any other project you are working on, give PaintRite Pros a call. We offer a variety of top-quality painting services to people throughout Elk Grove and the surrounding areas. We’ll do everything we can to make sure you love the work we do. We serve the entire area including El Dorado Hills, Roseville, Stockton, and Davis.

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Painting Services

Have questions about your residential or commercial painting needs? Contact us online or give us a call at 916-667-8050 to request a free estimate appointment.

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