Asked on Jun 14, 2015

How long should I wait to paint a new pressure treated deck?

by Louise
Just built a deck this month. Should I stain and seal it now?
  14 answers
  • Holly Prim Holly Prim on Jun 15, 2015
    I am just finishing repairs to our deck and the recommendations I got from various sources was to simply wait until the wood is completely dry. Hopefully a professional deck builder will comment, I'll be following...
  • Michelle Horne Michelle Horne on Jun 15, 2015
    According to the professionals we talked to last year when we had ours built, the recommendations were 6 months to a year. Something about the wood pores having to open up so the paint or stain can absorb. Prior to doing it, the deck needs to be cleaned thoroughly and allowed to dry completely too. We are FINALLY having ours done after 8 months. How this helps
  • Shari Shari on Jun 15, 2015
    I just asked the guy at Sherwin Williams about this very thing about a month or two ago because we are waiting to paint and stain some horse jumps we had made for us out of pressure treated lumbar for our horse farm. He said the general recommendation is 6 months but it can be as soon as 3 or 4 months...or longer than 6 months, depending on weather and how long it had been pressure treated before it was used to build something. He told me the way to tell when it's ready is to spray water on it (or check it after a rain). If it repels the water, it's not dried out enough and not ready for paint or stain. If it absorbs water, it has dried out and you can proceed.
  • Joseph baldwin Joseph baldwin on Jun 15, 2015
    You should wait at least 6 months. Let the wood season and some of the moisture leave the wood. Then yearly pressure washing and re-staining as needed.
  • Joe Losoya Joe Losoya on Jun 15, 2015
    I'm a contractor in Houston, we do decks / fences / pool surrounds etc. an i recommend to my customers " not to apply any stain till late summer. the treatment on the wood need to dry completely, because it will bubble up applications of stains or paints. best to apply late in September so it has time to cure and possibly get a second application within 2 weeks for best permanent results.
    • See 1 previous
    • Joe Losoya Joe Losoya on Jun 17, 2015
      @Shari usually projects start in late March, Cold Weather / snow etc. so I'm giving treaded wood at least 6 months drying / curing time. thus the Magical September. now you still have some summer time to enjoy it / clean it and do a late October second coat if so desired, it will good though winter weather and many summers to come. ENJOY
  • Joe Losoya Joe Losoya on Jun 15, 2015
    be very careful of any one getting "stuck" with treated wood splinters. Chemicals are very irritating to skin, wash out with hydrogen, peroxide, also avoid contact with eyes at all cost.
  • Holly Prim Holly Prim on Jun 15, 2015
    I was surprised by the overwhelming response of 6 mos because at no time when purchasing PT lumber and reviewing paint options was there an indication that 6 months waiting time was required. So I did more research about the lumber I purchased. Most of the wood we used to replace cracked and warped wood was the brand Yellawood, I went to their site and they have written and video instructions regarding painting, staining, sealing your deck. Pressure Treated wood is not like PT wood of years past, there are so many restrictions on the chemicals used that the old rules don't necessarily apply, so I would look at your lumber manufacturer's recommendations, plus the recommendations of your Paint/Stain and Sealer manufacturers recommendations. I have no affiliation with this company, but here is their advice if using their PT lumber:
    • John McIntosh Sr. John McIntosh Sr. on Oct 03, 2019

      We have the same lumber. We used on new front porch and it is #1 pine. Installed June 16th, 17th. It is now the beginning of October and the water still beads like crazy. I think the sprinkle test is absolutely necessary.

  • Tambra Tambra on Jun 16, 2015
    My builder just told me no sooner than three months and you really should wait six months!
  • Kenny Tornabene Kenny Tornabene on Jun 16, 2015
    I have been doing this for many years and I always stain and treat the deck as soon as I am finished building it . Two coats at least . I have NEVER had a problem .
  • Sonia Burrows Sonia Burrows on Jun 16, 2015
    I was also told to wait a minimum of six months and preferably a year before I stained.
  • Mary Pavon Mary Pavon on Jun 16, 2015
    No you can't stain or paint for at least a year.
  • Angela Hollman Angela Hollman on Jun 17, 2015
    At the very least 6mos!
  • Sheila D Sheila D on Jun 25, 2015
    When we had a deck, we were told by several knowledgeable sources to let it weather for a few months before staining and or sealing; then re-seal when water no longer beads up.
  • Jus39963278 Jus39963278 on Feb 20, 2019

    i have worked as a wood finish supplier for over 20 years - fresh pressure treated wood should dry for 6 months...but the actual measure is the moisture content, which should be below 10% moisture content (ideal is 7%). the new pressure treated process is a water based chemical that will register on a moisture guage. they sell pretty accurate moisture guages at lowes/home depot for $30- 50, for a much better reading than the drip test...if finishing is your profession, i would go for a very accurate model (around $200). the surface dries the fastest, so make sure you push the pins into the wood(usually 1/4 inch) for an accurate reading. also, they do sell pressure treated lumber that is pre-dried, and ready for finish(much more expensive, and you will know if you purchased this type) but proper cleaning and pressure washing/sanding will ensure a even finish.