Staining Pressure Treated Wood- Simple Steps To Follow

When discussing the pressure treated wood it has preservatives that keep it protected from insect damage and rot. But on the other side this remains unprotected from wind, sun, moisture, and dirt.

The pressure treated wood when stained properly will certainly increase the life and enhance the appearance of decks, picnic-tables, fences, retaining walls, and other outdoor wooden projects.

Expert Advice: While dealing with pressure-treated wood wear gloves.

You Need To Possess A Certain Set Of Tools Before Staining Pressure Treated Wood:

  • Scrub brushes

  • Paint mixers and stirrers

  • Paint brushes

  • Pressure washers

  • The wood sealer or deck stain to apply

Step 1: When Can The Pressure Treated Wood Be Stained?

Chemical preservatives are forced deep into the wood by water while pressure treating. If any lumber is recently pressure treated then it is bound to have moisture content that’s high and may involve many weeks to dry.

If wood is wet then it’s of no use to stain the pressure treated wood.

  • Wet-treated” wood takes more time to dry over the other wood types.

  • If it is Kiln-dried wood then it’s dry enough to be stained immediately after purchase. You may get it with some tag like ADAT- air-dried after treatment or KDAT kiln-dried after treatment.

  • Water repellent pressure treated wood don’t have the ability to absorb either a water-based deck stain or an oil-based exterior stain.

  • For determining the dryness of the wood, you need to do a sprinkle test with water on the wood, if it absorbs in 10 minutes, they stain it immediately.

  • The wood sealer or deck stain to apply

  • If water droplets tend to bead on the wood surface then it will probably take more time to dry.

staining pressure treated lumber

Step 2: Selecting The Stain

staining new pressure treated wood

You get a huge variety from transparent to solid to semi-transparent stain.

  • The transparent stains don’t possess pigmentation or have very little of it whereas the semi-transparent stains have more pigmentation and that adds more tone and color.

  • For new wood structures, you should go for lighter-colored stains and this will keep you free and flexible to add darker tones in the future. For hiding, the imperfections of the older pressure-treated wood solid deck stain will complement the most.

  • If the deck receives a lot of sunlight in routine then choose a lighter stain over the dark one as it will reflect heat and absorb less of it.

Step 3: Washing The Wood

  • To avoid any imperfections, you need to clean the surface thoroughly in order to keep it free from mildew or dirt before you start staining. If its entirely new then you may start straight. Before you stain the wood allow it to dry properly after washing.

  • You can use a deck cleaner, or a scrubber with a brush to wash the pressure-treated wood. for tough stains pressure washer is the right tool.

  • A time of 10 minutes should be allowed to the wet cleaner to soak into the wood. manufacturer’s directions should always be followed.

  • For rinsing purpose use a pressure washer or a garden hose.

  • Before applying the stain allow the wood to dry for at least 24-hours.

can you stain treated wood

Step 4: Preparing The Stain

  • Avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight as it will need time to absorb into the wood and dries rapidly.

  • It is recommended to use a painter’s tape or tarp in lieu of protecting the areas like sidings, plants, and more.

  • Any leaves, dust, and dirt might have settled while the cleaner was doing its job. So, use a dry brush to remove all the mess.

  • Before you proceed for application and pour the paint in the tray, stir the stain thoroughly.

  • You can do a patch test for checking and confirming the appearance and color. As later the color difference may cause dissatisfaction to you as user.

can treated wood be stained

Step 5: Applying The Stain

  • By using a paint pad applicator, you can stain the pressure-treated wood with ease. This will prove to be easier than brushing while tackling large decks and more accurate than a pressurized sprayer.

  • A paint brush can be used to stain between problem areas and cracks, if any.

  • One coat is enough except the butted ends of lumber that tend to accept more stain.

  • While you stain the deck rails, fence posts, or any vertical spaces, you should start from top and end at bottom.

  • One day at least, allow the stain to dry up.

staining wet wood

Step 6: Painting on Pressure Treated Wood?

Exterior paints are less likely to hold on to pressure-treated wood and more likely to flake or peel. The underlying reason is the pressure-treating process. Even it is recommended by some experts to go for sealing or staining than paint.

By following some extra precautions, you can apply paint successfully.

  • The wood should be allowed to dry completely. And follow the similar ways as mentioned above.

  • Use a bristle brush for coating the surface and this will help the paint to bond nicely. Make use of the primer which is specially designed for exterior use on any pressure-treated wood.

  • At least two coats of latex paint should be applied by a brush to se best results.

pressure treated wood staining

Step 7: Sealing Pressure Treated Wood?

how to stain treated wood

  • Some sealant is a part of most of the exterior paints. This acts as a protective layer for wood against moisture.

  • If you like that the natural wood grain and color should display then your choice should be a clear sealant. Just ensure that it gives the required protection too.

  • Both pigmentation and protection are being added by the combination of sealer and stain. You cannot use the sealants on top of wood that’s stained.

  • Just keep in mind that when you are to seal a pressure-treated wood than a product that is UV repellent should be chosen.

  • The way you apply stain the same way you should go for the sealant.

Many building codes need to be followed when dealing with pressure-treated wood in ground contact lumber, retaining walls, or any other exterior wood projects. Staining adds life and beauty to pressure-treated wood of decks, fences, and other surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can Pressure-Treated Wood Be Stained?

Ans. Any wood that is recently pressure-treated will have a moisture content that’s to high. Many weeks may be involved for it to get dry. It will be absolutely ineffective if you stain a pressure-treated wood that’s still wet. This is due to the water repellent that won’t let the wood absorb oil-based stain or a water-based stain.

Q2. Stain Or Paint A Pressure-Treat Wood, Which Is Better?

Ans. Exterior paints tend to bond less with the wood due to the pressure treating process. In turn they may peel or flake. It is recommended by some experts that sealing/staining will prove better than painting. Though with certain precautions you can paint and accomplish your task properly.

Q3. When Is The Pressure-Treated Lumber Ready To Be Painted Or Stained?

Ans. The opinion differs in this context as according to some it is a wait of six months and for others one year before you stain or paint a pressure-treated wood.

The rule of the thumb is that the drier the wood the better it is. You can go for a sprinkle test and if the wood absorbs water fast then its ready to be painted/stained.

Q4. What Are The Consequences If Pressure-Treated Wood Is Stained Too Soon?

Ans. The too soon action may lead to damaging the wood. the wood may swell-up before drying and may shrink later. This swelling and shrinking may cause the cracks, splinters, checks, or splits to develop. UV protection is also necessary that takes care of warping, discoloration, and fading.

Q5. What Will Happen If Wet Pressure-Treated Wood Is Stained?

Ans. If the wood is wet then it won’t be a good idea to stain it as this will lead to no results the wood and will be completely ineffective. The proper absorption of stain will not occur because of the high-moisture content of the wet pressure-treated wood.

Q6. Can Pressure-Treated Wood Be Stained Right Away?

Ans. The answer comes with a big no, and until and unless the wood is completely dry it is advisable not to stain it. Drying time of different locations also varies due to the climate and weather of a place (few to several weeks). Even the stains contain additional chemicals that may leave moisture behind.

Q7. What Is The Time Required To Wait For Before Staining Pressure-Treated Wood Fence?

Ans. This depends on the humidity levels of the area you stay in. Prior to staining posts or fences an average of 4 to 6 months’ time is required to wait. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions if any queries prevail if you are unfamiliar dealing with pressure-treated lumber.

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