If you’re a painter or woodworker, you’ve probably painted pressure-treated wood before. But when is the best time to paint it? And what kind of paint should you use?
In this blog post, we’ll answer your questions about painting pressure-treated wood. We’ll also give you tips on getting the best results.
So read on for all the info you need!
Table of Contents
What is Pressure Treated Wood?
Pressure-treated wood is lumber that has been treated with chemicals to protect it from rot, decay, and insect damage. The treatment process involves putting the lumber in a large pressure chamber and infusing it with chemicals.
This treatment gives the wood a long lifespan, making it ideal for outdoor use. It’s often used for decks, fences, and other structures exposed to the elements.
The main types of pressure-treated wood are:
- Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ)
- Copper Azole (CA)
- Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA)
ACQ and CA are the most common types of pressure-treated wood. However, CCA is no longer used in the United States because it contains toxic arsenic.
Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?
Yes, you can paint pressure-treated wood. It’s a good idea to paint or stain pressure-treated wood to protect it from the elements.
The chemicals used to treat the lumber can be corrosive, so painting or staining is a good way to protect the wood from damage.
When Is the Best Time to Paint Pressure Treated Wood?
The best time to paint pressure-treated wood is after it has been treated with a preservative and allowed to cure for 30 days. This allows the wood completely.
If you’re not sure whether your pressure-treated wood has dried, you can test it by putting a drop of water on the surface. If the water beads up, the wood is still wet, and you should wait to paint it.
What Happens if You Paint Pressure Treated Wood too Soon?
If you paint pressure-treated wood too soon, these are the most likely things to happen:
Your board will warp
Warping is when your wood bends or curves out of shape. This usually happens when the wood is exposed to heat or moisture. For example, when pressure-treated wood is wet, it’s more likely to warp when you paint it.
Your paint will peel
If you paint wet pressure-treated wood, your paint will likely peel off. That’s because the water in the wood will cause the paint to bubble and flake.
Your paint will also not adhere properly because of the moisture. This means that it will be more likely to chip and peel off in the future or immediately after you are done painting.
So if you paint pressure-treated wood, ensure it’s completely dry first. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your time and money.
Your paint won’t dry
Another problem you’ll have if you paint wet pressure-treated wood is that your paint will take forever to dry. This is because the water in the wood will prevent the paint from drying properly.
So if you’re in a hurry, it’s best to wait until your pressure-treated wood is completely dry before you start painting.
What Type of Paint Should You Use?
The paint you use will depend on the type of pressure-treated wood you’re working with. For example, ACQ-treated lumber should only be painted with water-based paint, and a good example is acrylic spray paint.
CCA-treated lumber can be painted with either oil-based or water-based paint. However, many experts recommend oil-based paint because it will adhere better to the wood.
CA-treated lumber can also be painted with either type of paint. However, water-based paint is the best choice because it’s less likely to peel and flake.
If you’re unsure what type of pressure-treated wood you have, you can always contact the manufacturer or your local hardware store for advice.
How to Prepare Pressure Treated Wood for Painting
Now that you know when and what paint to use, it’s time to prepare your pressure-treated wood for painting. Here’s what you need to do:
Clean the wood
The first step is to clean the wood. You can do this with a power washer or a garden hose. If you’re using a power washer, make sure you use a low setting, so you don’t damage the wood.
If you’re using a garden hose, spray the wood with water and scrub it with a brush to remove any dirt or debris.
Once you’ve cleaned the wood, let it dry completely before you start painting.
Sand the wood
The next step is to sand the wood. This will help the paint adhere better and create a smooth surface.
You can use a hand sander or an orbital sander for this job. If you’re using an orbital sander, make sure you use coarse grit sandpaper, so you don’t damage the wood.
If you’re using a hand sander, you can use either coarse grit or fine-grit sandpaper. Just make sure you sand in the direction of the grain.
Once you’ve sanded the wood, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dust.
Allow the wood to dry
Before you think of painting the wood, ensure it is completely dry. The best way to do this is to wait for 24 hours after you’ve cleaned and sanded it.
If you’re in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer or heat gun to speed up the process. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or you’ll damage the wood.
How To Paint Pressure Treated Wood
Now that you know when to paint pressure-treated wood, here’s a guide on how to do it.
Materials and tools needed
- Cleaner/ mild detergent
- Paintbrush or roller
- Paint (oil-based or water-based)
Step 1: Apply latex primer
The first step is to apply a latex primer. This will help the paint adhere better and prevent it from peeling in the future.
Primer also helps hide the wood’s grain, which can be helpful if you’re painting over a dark stain. It also ensures the primer doesn’t sip into the wood.
Step 2: Paint the wood
Once you’ve applied the primer, it’s time to paint the wood. You can use a paintbrush or roller for this job.
If you’re using a paintbrush, start by painting the edges and corners of the wood. Then, fill in the rest of the surface with long, even strokes.
If you’re using a roller, start in the middle of the surface and work your way out. Make sure you use even strokes and don’t apply too much pressure.
Once you’ve finished painting, let the paint dry completely before adding a second coat.
Step 3: Apply a second coat of paint
After the first coat of paint has dried, it’s time to apply a second coat. This will help to protect the wood further and make it more durable.
Once you’ve applied the second coat of paint, let it dry completely before applying a finish.
Step 4: Apply a finish
The final step is to apply a finish. This will help to protect the wood further and make it more durable. You can use either an oil-based or water-based finish for this job.
If you’re using an oil-based finish, apply it with a brush or roller. If you’re using a water-based finish, you’ll need to apply it with a sprayer.
Once you’ve applied the finish, let it dry completely before using the pressure-treated wood.
Tips for Painting Pressure Treated Wood
Here are some tips to keep in mind when painting pressure-treated wood:
- Use a latex primer. This will help the paint adhere better and prevent it from peeling in the future.
- Use a paintbrush or roller. If you’re using a paintbrush, start by painting the edges and corners of the wood. Then, fill in the rest of the surface with long, even strokes.
- Apply a second coat of paint. This will help to protect the wood further and make it more durable.
- Use an oil-based or water-based finish. This will help to protect the wood further and make it more durable.
- Let the paint dry completely before you add a second coat.
- Apply the finish with a brush or roller. If you’re using a water-based finish, you’ll need to apply it with a sprayer.
- Let the finish dry completely before you use the pressure-treated wood.
What is the best primer for pressure-treated wood?
A few different primers can be used on pressure-treated wood, but the best one depends on the project you’re working on. If you’re painting pressure-treated wood, a water-based primer is generally your best option. This primer will provide a good base for paint and help prevent peeling or chipping. However, an oil-based primer is typically the best for staining pressure-treated wood. This primer will help the stain evenly penetrate the wood and give you a long-lasting finish.
How do you tell if pressure-treated wood is dry?
Pressure-treated wood is designed to be water-resistant, not waterproof. So the best way to tell if it’s dry is to check for water damage. Look for warping, chipping, peeling, or fading paint. If you see these signs, the wood is not dry and should not be used outdoors.
The bottom line is that you can paint pressure-treated wood whenever you want, but it’s always a good idea to check with your paint manufacturer to ensure it’s compatible.
We hope this article has helped clear up some of the confusion about painting pressure-treated wood and given you the information you need to start your next project.