Can you paint pressure treated wood?

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I'd like to know can you paint pressure treated wood? We recently did some rennovating and we used pressure treated wood in 2 places: in our basement and for our new deck. Originally I thought that I would like the raw wood look, but in both places now I'm having second thoughts. In the basement I would liek to paint the PT wood white, to match the rest of the room. And my hubby wants to stain the deck to give it a richer look. But we aren't sure can pressure treated wood be painted? We installed it without the intention of changing anything, so we never thought about this, and the surface seems different than plain wood, so we are wondering if it's a mistake to go ahead and paint or stain PT wood normally. Has anyone here ever painted pressure treated wood? How did it turn out for you? Are there special precautions, directions, or products that need to be used? Please advise. Thank you!

q can you paint pressure treated wood
  6 answers
  • Rowgop (Pam) Rowgop (Pam) on Nov 27, 2018

    If the water soaks in, the wood is dry and porous enough to paint. If the water rests on the surface in beaded drops, the wood must be left to dry longer before painting. You need to use primer first before painting, especially because pressure treated wood is so picky about holding onto paint.


    My husband wworks at Home Depot...cannot paint treated lumber uuntil it dries. At least a good year.

    • See 1 previous
    • Pat Hayes Pat Hayes on Nov 27, 2018

      You can paint it sooner as long as you use paint with primer in it. I had a new porch railing built 7 months ago and it is pressure treated. I painted it a month later and no problem. Lowes sells paint made especially for pressure treated wood. This is jsu one of the many things made with pressure treated wood I have painted over the years with no problem.

  • Rowgop (Pam) Rowgop (Pam) on Nov 27, 2018

    He said being in the house it may dry little quicker. With that said, he said wait a good 6 months. You don't wwant to paint it and have ot peel off.

  • Wylie Wylie on Nov 27, 2018

    of course you can prime it with a good primer such as BIN which will seal the knots if you dont prime the knots will bleed through. then paint

    • Sarah Sarah on Nov 27, 2018

      Hi Wylie. Are you referring to the Rustoleum product "Bin Shellac-base Primer"? Are you saying this will work better than other primers? If I use this I won't have to wait for the wood to fully dry? Thanks.

  • Chris Rogers Chris Rogers on Nov 27, 2018

    Once the pressure treated wood has dried a couple of months, it can be painter or stained. Inside seal the wood so knots don't bleed, then paint . Outside use a quality stain in the color you want (can be transparent, semi transparent or opaque) or paint with an oil based paint.

    • See 1 previous
    • Chris Rogers Chris Rogers on Nov 27, 2018

      The time depends on the wetness of the wood when installed. Most wood has been treated shortly before arriving at the lumber yard so is really wet. As Pam noted if water soaks in, it can be coated, if not, wait.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 27, 2018

    The basic rule is that all the chemicals that change it from regular to pressure treated must be fully cured before painting or it won't stick, you will have peeling and bubbling issues regardless of the prep work you do or priming. I've been told anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. I think this is consistent with all the advice you have been given. I would recommend using an oil based primer like Original Kilz or Zinsser Bin 1-2-3 to cover knots and prevent bleeding.


    My husband is really good at judging the "dry" but I follow the 3 month guideline most of the time. One thing for sure, if there is any hint of green in the wood it isn't cured. We have purchased PT wood that was "brown" and painted a few weeks later with no issues.

  • Anon Anon on Nov 27, 2018

    I have stained a new deck with Cabot's Gold Moonlit Mahogany Transparent Stain and Sealer and it turned out beautiful. It is very expensive at 48.00 a gallon but I fell in love with the color and the finish resembles an interior floor. It went on great and has held up well. It is sold at Lowe's. You have to be sure the wood is dry enough to accept the stain. If water beads up, too wet and wait.


    Just a note about brown or green pressure treated wood. color has nothing to do with anything other than the chemicals used to do the treating so don't rely on the color to say whether or not it will accept a stain. When the green or brown sits in the sun for a while both will start to fade to gray but don't wait too long or it will start cracking and splintering.

    • Anon Anon on Nov 27, 2018

      Also be sure to read the can and follow the manufacturers recommendations. Some will let you do it earlier than others!

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