Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood Easily? [7 Benefits]

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Pressure-treated wood can be lovely and rustic on its own, but some people think it would look much better with a fresh coat of paint. Is it possible to paint pressure-treated wood? Is it dangerous to paint on this sort of wood?

You’ll be relieved to learn that you can completely paint pressure treated wood if you so like. If you want to do the painting yourself or hire a professional painting company, you can rest assured that your pressure-treated wood will be in good hands and look fantastic when it’s done.

Are you ready to give your porch or deck a new lease on life? With the right paint job on your pressure-treated wood porch or deck, you will return to the happy place in no time. 

All you have to do now is make sure you’re up to date on some tips for painting and caring for your pressure-treated wood. But first, let’s look at what pressure-treated wood is.

Pressure-treated wood

Pressure-treated wood has undergone a procedure in which a solution of water and preservative agents is forced deep into the timber using high pressure to help increase its useful life. Certain pressure treatments can also make the wood fire-resistant. Pressure treated wood comes in a number of varieties, each of which can be used for a variety of purposes.

Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), copper azole (CA), and micronized copper azole are typical active ingredients in treated wood (MCA). These compounds react with wood fibres to delay natural decay and have properties that make them resistant to termites, fungi, moisture, and other factors that cause rot and structural decay.

Since pressure treated wood absorbs a lot of liquid during the manufacturing process, it usually arrives at stores wet and can take several weeks to dry out completely. After the water evaporates, the preservatives stay in the wood.

Kinds of pressure-treated wood

Above ground pressure treated wood and ground-contact pressure treated wood are the two main varieties.

  1. Above Ground Pressure-Treated Wood

When the wood has adequate ventilation and drainage, this can be used. It can be used in applications that are easy to retain or replace, as well as those that are higher than 6-inches off the ground. It’s only used when the wood is properly ventilated and drained.

  1. Ground-Contact Pressure-Treated Wood

This type of pressure treated wood can be used in the above-ground application and has twice the chemical retention of wood, making it ideal for situations where wood is difficult to preserve or substitute. Heavy Duty or Heavy Duty Ground Contact is a sub-type of ground contact pressure treated woods.

In comparison to above-ground woods, heavy-duty timbers usually produce three times as much preservative. Barns, sheds, and even homes are supported by it. It’s sometimes used for skids and cribs, as well as for support in the earth, concrete, or freshwater. And saltwater splashes won’t damage it.

Can you paint pressure treated wood? [Pros and Cons]

The pros and cons of pressure treated wood are described in the table below.

✔️ Cost-effectiveness:The pressure treated wood is less expensive than cedar, redwood and the other. Users will save 30-40% on total costs as compared to redwood or cedar, for example. When operating on a tight budget, this can save a lot of money on large-scale construction projects.❌ Breakage checking:Since this form of decking is made of natural wood, it will eventually shatter. Treated decks that have been exposed to alternate cycles of wetting and drying for six to twelve months may develop checking, a condition in which the wood starts to dry out and break apart.
✔️Adaptability: Pressure-treated wood is a blank canvas that is simple to work with and can be stained or painted any colour you like. This makes it an excellent choice for matching the colour of an existing feature of your home, such as an interior hardwood. Make sure the wood is totally dry before painting or staining it.❌Color fading: As the wood is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun over time, color loss will almost certainly occur.
✔️ Resilience: This form of wood is tough, with the ability to withstand a lot of abuse. It is also scratch and dent resistant. It will look lovely after installation and is suitable for long-term use.❌Chemical dangers: Since this form of decking is chemically treated for safety, it can be dangerous if not handled properly. When wood is burned, trimmed, or cut, harmful contaminants are released into the air. Pressure-treated wood should not be used in gardens or come into contact with food or water on a regular basis.
✔️ Longevity:Many other forms of wood are less resistant to dents, scratches, and wear than pressure-treated wood. The extra strength of pressure-treated wood gives it a long lifetime, meaning that with proper care, it can last for decades.
✔️ Insect-repellent: Pressure-treated wood repels insects because it contains toxins. This ensures that after installation, you won’t have to worry about termites or other wood-boring or wood-damaging insects.
✔️ Repairability. Pressure-treated wood can be quickly and inexpensively repaired in the event of a grilling accident or a strangely destructive infant.
✔️ Environmental friendly:This is an environmentally friendly choice. Because of its fast-growing properties, manufacturers use pinewood varieties for treatment.

Why does pressure-treated wood need to be painted?

In addition to making a more desirable treated product, painting pressure treated wood has many advantages. Painting the surface of the wood with a high-quality paint produces a thin protective layer that protects it from UV deterioration of the colour and the wood surface, as well as weather and surface soiling. Most notably, painting creates a commodity that can result in improved revenue and/or profit margins for pressure-treatment businesses.

You can read our blog on how art glow in the dark paint?

What precautions to take before starting pressure-treated wood painting?

The same treatment that helps pressure-treated wood to last outdoors often causes problems when painting it. Milled lumber (usually pine or cedar) is saturated with chemical preservatives to make pressure-treated wood. These chemicals reduce the wood’s natural resistance to insects and rot, but they also make it wet, which will eventually cause the paint to peel.

To effectively paint pressure-treated wood, you must be willing to put in some time and effort. Painting until the wood is ready is a complete waste of time. Take the following steps outlined below for long-term success.

👉 Make sure the wood is clean

It is important to clean pressure-treated wood before painting it. Use soapy water and a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse the wood and let it dry completely after you’ve given it your full attention.

👉 Allow the wood to dry

The drying time can be as long as a few weeks—or even months—depending on the chemicals used to treat the lumber and the water used to clean it. How would you know when it’s finished? Sprinkle a little water on the wood until it feels dry to the touch.

The wood can be painted if the water soaks in. Return to the waiting game if the water starts to bead up. It’s worth noting that for a time-sensitive project, pressure-treated wood that has been kiln-dried after treatment is a good choice (KDAT). The time frame for painting KDAT wood is significantly shorter.

When it comes to painting pressure-treated wood, how long should you wait?

It is contingent on a number of factors. The type of pressure-treated wood you use is the first consideration. After being pressure-treated, premium pressure-treated wood has been dried to eliminate excess moisture. As soon as the deck is built, this wood can be painted.

Ordinary pressure-treated wood from a home center, on the other hand, takes two to three days to dry enough before a water-based semitransparent stain can be applied. Dribble a little clean water on the surface to see if it’s sufficiently dry.

You can wait a little longer if the water beads up instead of being absorbed. But don’t put it off for too long. UV light will degrade the cell structure of the surface wood fibers every day that the exposed wood is not coated. Any dye or preservative you use would be less effective as a result.

The type of finish you use is another important consideration. Some manufacturers can require you to clean the surface thoroughly with wood cleaner first, in order to remove surface dirt and open the wood pores. Another justification to always read the directions before getting started.

What is the different procedure for painting pressure-treated wood?

When it comes to something as simple as priming and painting your deck or porch, the urge to do it yourself is high. After all, all you have to do is measure the porch or deck’s dimensions, calculate how much material you’ll need, and drive to the hardware store.

There will, of course, be those who choose to employ outside contractors to manage household projects. This is perfect, too, because not everyone has the time or expertise to complete these tasks properly.

What are the most significant benefits of hiring experienced painters to paint your pressure-treated wood porch or deck?

The following are the most important benefits of employing professional painters to paint your pressure-treated wood porch or deck:

  • Hiring professionals saves time

Hiring professionals to do the job would save you a lot of time, which you can put into something else.

  • Professional painters prefer to have high-quality materials on hand

Professional painters prefer to have high-quality materials on hand, so if you employ a professional painter, you can rest assured that you’ll be having just the finest materials and equipment on the job.

  • Professional help vs. do-it-yourself pressure-treated wood painting

The biggest advantage of doing the job yourself is that you can almost certainly save a few hundred dollars compared to hiring movers. It’s fair to assume that by the end of the project, you’ll be exhausted.

To paint pressure-treated wood, what materials and tools are required?

The following materials and tools are needed to paint pressure-treated wood:

  • Spray painter
  • Bristle brush with a stiff handle
  • Soap
  • Hose for the garden
  • Pressure-treated wood exterior colour primer
  • Brush for painting
  • Paint for the outside of the house made of latex

What are the most crucial steps in painting pressure-treated wood?

You shouldn’t start painting pressure-treated wood until it’s completely dry. The following are the most important steps in painting pressure-treated wood:

Step 1: Use a primer to prep the wood

Prior to painting, the wood must be treated with a primer. That’s because pressure-treated wood is really picky about which paint it will accept. When choosing a primer, make sure it’s made for outdoor use and has a mark indicating it’s for pressure-treated wood. Because of the wood’s resistance to liquids, if you ignore these specific descriptions, the primer and paintwork can not last very long.

Apply the primer to the wood according to the label’s instructions. Keep in mind that thin coats of primer or paint dry quicker and are more uniformly spaced than thick layers.

Step 2: Allow time for the primer to dry

Leave time for the primer to dry after it has been applied. Fortunately, it shouldn’t take more than two days to dry; nevertheless, this is dependent on the primer. As a result, check the label to see how easily it dries. However, keep in mind that you’re working with a specially treated wood, which will almost certainly necessitate a little extra drying time in order to achieve the best results.

Step 3: Ready for paint

This is the last step; you can now paint your pressure-treated wood. Apply at least two coats of paint for a flawless finish. Since oil-based paints easily resist the surface, latex paints are the best choice for pressure-treated wood. Your paintwork can last a few years if done correctly, with little visible harm.

What Kind of Paint do you apply to pressure treated wood?

If you do plan to use paint or a strong stain, use a long-drying oil primer on the decking, but not on the rest of the house. Oil primers penetrate the wood more deeply than acrylic paints, and the longer the primer is allowed to dry, the deeper it will go.

Oil primers also prevent knots from bleeding through the paint. To ensure that the knots do not come through, you will need to prime them twice. There is a catch… If you ever plan to paint or stain the decking, don’t prime it first.

Primers, unlike stains and paints, are more porous and should not be used on decking. If you do plan to paint the decking, make sure to use a floor/patio paint. They have a matte finish. On a walking surface, you don’t want to use a paint that isn’t smooth because it could cause a slippery surface when wet.

They also have a self-priming function. If your deck is less than four feet off the ground, you can not use a solid product on the decking, such as paint or strong stain. The wood must be able to breathe in order for the stain/paint to stick properly to the decking.

When a solid is applied to a deck that is too low to the ground (4 feet or less), the stain/paint may fail prematurely. 

Since oil-based paints will often resist the surface of pressure treated wood, latex paints are the better option. A well-done paint job can last a couple of years before showing signs of wear.

What do you look for before purchasing paint for pressure-treated wood?

Until purchasing paint for pressure treated wood, keep the following factors in mind.

  1. Binding Resins Types

The adhesion of the paint to a surface is determined by the binding resin. Acrylic is used as the binding resin in exterior paints because it has a very tight bond and is the most durable. However, since acrylic has a strong odour, interior paints use epoxy and silicone instead.

  1. Color Pigment

Natural pigments are used in interior paints to avoid adding additional chemicals to the mix. There are no unpleasant odours, and they are perfectly healthy to inhale. However, since exterior paints are more concerned with longevity than with keeping out harsh chemicals, you’ll find non-organic pigments in exterior paints that can help intensify the strong odours and fumes, but they don’t disappear as easily.

  1. Resistance to weather

Interior paints aren’t designed to withstand harsh or shifting weather. They have poor temperature resistance, low water resistance, and fade easily in sunlight as a result of this. Exterior paints, on the other hand, are designed to withstand both of these factors, giving them superior weather resistance.

  1. Durable

Exterior paint is designed to withstand years of exposure to the elements. It’s also made durable enough to withstand impacts from the elements, such as twigs blown against your house or bugs flying into the wall. As a result, it lasts much longer than interior paint. Interior paint, on the other hand, is fairly long-lasting, able to endure scrubbing and cleaning on a regular basis.

  1. Adherence

Paints for the interior and exterior have strong adhesion. Exterior paints, on the other hand, stick well enough to withstand all types of bad weather, a fact that interior paints cannot match. Exterior paints, on the whole, adhere better and last longer.

  1. Time to Dry

Paints that are oil-based dry more slowly than paints that are water-based. Paints that are left outside in the open air, on the other hand, can dry faster than paints that are left inside with no continuous airflow. Finally, heat will hasten the drying of the paint. When all of these factors are considered, exterior paint typically dries faster, particularly if it is water-based.

  1. Resistance to other factore

Paint should be resistant to factors like temperature, moisture, fading, mildew prevention, Scuffing and Scratches, etc.

What Paint and Primer Do You Use on Pressure-Treated Wood?

Water is used in the chemical bath that infuses chemicals into wood. The use of a good water-based primer and a high-quality 100 percent acrylic paint enhances adhesion and allows the paint to withstand the expansion and shrinkage of seasoned wood. Here are some of our top picks for primer and paint.

Which are top 2 best pressure-treated wood paints?

Armaly Brands Water-Based Primer

Armaly Brands 2000 Bulls Eye

It sticks to any surface without needing to be sanded. Stains, graffiti, and tannin bleed are all sealed. Movie that is mold and mildew resistant. Rust-Resistant – Excellent for fresh metal. Dry time is just 1 hour. It can be used both inside and outside. Movie that is mold and mildew resistant. Stains, graffiti, and tannin bleed are all sealed. It adheres to every surface without the need for sanding.

Product Specification
Brand: Armaly 
Weight: 56.3 pounds
Material: Water based
Stick to most of the surfaces
  • Easy to apply
  • Less smell
  • Excellent levelling and flow
  • High cost

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

Rust Oleum Latex Paint

Use on wood, metal, plaster, masonry, or unglazed ceramic surfaces for indoor and outdoor projects.

Product Specification
Brand: Rust-Oleum
Weight: 1.8 pound
Color: Flat Black
Material: Water Based
The water-based acrylic formula has a low odour, is chip resistant, and offers long-term safety.
Covers up to 120 square feet and dries to the touch in 30 minutes, allowing you to finish your project quickly.
Flat finish hides imperfections on the board, goes on smoothly, and is easy to apply.
  • Long lasting
  • Smooth to apply
  • It’s a little thin and runs.


Though it can seem insignificant at first glance, where you apply each form of paint can have serious consequences. If you use exterior paint on inside surfaces, you risk flooding your home with toxic chemical fumes.

Applying interior paint to the exterior of your house would almost certainly result in it cracking, chipping, and fading in a short period of time.

It’s safer to use paint that’s specifically designed for the surface you’re painting, whether it’s inside or out. Of course, you can still use an indoor/outdoor paint to eliminate all the ambiguity.

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