Can You Paint Pressure-Treated Wood? Get the Right Answer 2023

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

After treating wood, it is most likely that it gets stacked with moisture. As you probably know, this doesnt sit well with paint. However, you still need to paint the wood for whatever reason you need it. So, the question now is, can you paint pressure-treated wood?

You can paint pressure-treated wood, but you need to avoid the moisturized part. Better yet, you can let the wood dry off the moisture before painting it. Also, there is a couple of to-dos that you need to check off your list before painting the wood.

For more clarity, keep reading this article, as it has what pressure-treated wood is and if you can paint it. Also, youll know the paint that is good for the wood and how to paint it.

What is pressure-treated wood?

These are woods that have gone through some treatment processes to enhance their durability. Also, after the treatment, these woods are free from the insect invasion, massive decay, water damage, and mold. A little more pressure treatment can make the wood resist getting burnt in a fire outbreak.

What Is Pressure-Treated Wood

The treated woods are good for building houses because theyre more durable. Aside from building houses, many people use them for different things. But the most common use for it is building houses or making fences.

For wood to be pressure-treated, it has to go through 160 pounds of pressure-flooded chemicals. You cannot do this just anywhere but in lumber and a pressure chamber. You have to suck out the air in the lumber to apply the chemicals to the wood. These chemicals mostly come in liquid forms, so the wood has moisture after the treatment.

Can you paint pressure-treated wood?

You can paint pressure-treated wood. However, there are certain precautions that you have to take. One of the important ones is that the wood must be dry after treatment before you can paint it. Even though it might take months for your pressure-treated wood to get dry, there are ways to hasten the drying process. Check them below.

Can You Paint Pressure-Treated Wood

  • Keeping the Wood Under the Sun

If you store the wood in a place where the sun is not getting to it, it might take longer than the estimated time to dry. But, when you keep it under the sun, it dries faster. But the only downside is that rain can come and meet it too.

However, there is a way to tackle this disadvantage, and it is by building a tent with no side covers. The tent should just have a top cover to protect the wood from rain. Then, the sun will get to the wood from the spaces.

  • Keep It Close to A Fire

Keeping treated wood close to the fire is another way to dry it quickly. Fortunately, the treatment doesn’t let the wood get burnt. So, you can take the wood even closer to the fire for it to dry faster.

  • Expose the Wood to Air

When the pressure-treated wood is at a position where a good amount of air cans touch it, it will dry faster. When it is in a stuffy place with no air, it will take a longer time to dry.

Related Readings:Can You Paint Wood Blinds?

What happens if you paint pressure-treated wood?

The level of moisture in treated wood is high at the initial stage when it just gets treated. So, if you dont allow the wood to dry, a couple of things can go wrong when you paint pressure-treated wood.

  • The paint won’t stick to the wood.

Due to the moisture in the wood, the paint will roll off the wood when you apply it. This is not a good experience, as it will stress you and make you waste time and resources. You will have to apply more paint to the wood to get the paint to stick to it.

  • The paint will peel off fast.

Even after the paint stays on the wood after many tires, it wont be durable. After a short while, it will start peeling off the wood because the paint didn’t adhere to the fibre of the wood properly. This will waste resources, too, because you will have no choice but to repaint the wood.

This happens because the pain gets dry and begins to flake after a while. When it does that, it will start breaking off at the slightest touch, showing that you should have waited for the wood to dry. Before repainting, there is even another work you need to do, which is using sandpaper to remove all the old flaky paint.

  • The paint will not dry fast.

Painting a pressure-treated wood means the paint will not dry as fast as it should. This is because the moisture in the wood will get trapped, and it won’t dry fast. Theres no means to evaporate the moisture because the paint has covered all the route. So, the moisture has nowhere else to go but through the paint. For this reason, the paint might not have the color that it initially had due to the time it took to get dry.

  • The pressure-treated wood will get into alteration

If you paint the wood before it gets dry, it has a high chance of alteration. When wood dries, it goes through a shrinking process. So, if it takes more time than it should take to dry, it will shrink even more.

If you didnt paint every part of the wood, the painted part that takes a longer time to dry will look smaller than the part that dried faster. This will cause uneven wood, and that is not a pleasant sight to behold. Also, the wood can decay before it gets dry.

Although treated wood has better durability than non-pressure-treated wood, it can still get decayed if moisture stays in it for too long.

What paint can you use on pressure-treated wood?

Aside from water-based latex paint and spray paint, using any other paint on pressure-treated wood is a complete waste of time and resources. Many of these paints usually don’t stick to the fiber of the wood, and it makes it flake and break off fast. Most times, they don’t even stay on the wood.

What Paint Can You Use On Pressure-Treated Wood

They keep rolling off as soon as you apply them to the wood. Then, for pressure-treated wood, using such paint is even worse. This is because if they are not compatible with the wood when it wood has less moisture, they will do worse when it has more moisture.

Only latex water-based paint and spray paint are suitable for painting this treated wood. However, you still need to allow the wood to dry first. This paint has one for indoor painting and another for outdoor. The one for outdoors is stronger because it needs to withstand rain, sunlight, and many other climate conditions, just to be durable.

How to paint pressure-treated wood?

To paint a treated wood is somewhat like painting a normal wood, only that there are a few changes because of the moisture. So anybody can just do it if they follow the process keenly.

How To Paint Pressure-Treated Wood

Tools and Material Youll Need to Paint-Pressure Treated Wood

Before you start to paint, there are several tools you need to have ready. So, this list will help you to get them all set before you commence painting.

  • A piece of cloth

You need a piece of cloth to wipe the dust out of the surface you will paint. Along with the piece of cloth, you might need water and detergent too. That is if you want to take the cleaning extremely seriously.

  • A paintbrush or roller

This is the tool you will use to apply the paint to the pressure-treated wood. Also, you might need a roller because the wood might be higher than where your hands can reach. Here, you will use the roller to reach and paint the spot.

  • Paint

You cannot paint pressure-treated wood without paint. So, a gallon of paint or 2 gallons. It depends on how large the wood is. If it is very big, you will need more than one gallon of paint.

Step by Step Guide to Painting Pressure-Treated Wood

1. Allow the Wood to Dry

The very first step is to allow the treated wood to dry properly before taking any further steps. Pressure-treated wood might take about 3 to 4 months to properly dry, and you don’t have any choice but to wait. Except you want to do a bad job.

2. Wear Your Protective Equipment

The second step is to wear your protective equipment to shield yourself from any work danger. A coverall, a boot, a helmet, and a goggle will do nicely before you start working. This is because you cannot be too careful when you are working, and anything can just happen.

3. Clean the Surface of The Pressure-Treated Wood

It is important to clean the surface to get rid of the dirt that can make the paint uneven or rough. For instance, some dust layers might be too thick. So if you just apply paint on the wood with such dust, the paint will get dirty. This will make the finishing touch not as fine as it should be.

4. Apply Primer to The Wood

This is not a very necessary step to take, but it enhances a better delivery. The primer makes the paint stick better. If the wood has a fine and smooth touch, you might need to spray primer on it so that the paint will stick better.

5. Apply the Paint

Here you might need to apply 1 coating of paint, 2, or up to 3 coatings of paint. The next coating depends on how faded the current coating is. This means if the current coating is enough, you wont need another one. So, apply the paint till it is enough.

Also, make sure that every side of the painted wood is even. Make sure that no side has more paint than the other. So the work doesnt look unprofessional.

6. Allow the Paint to Dry

After you have painted your pressure-treated wood, let it dry before handling it. This might take a couple of days; the wait is worth it. After it has dried, you can say that you have successfully painted your pressure-treated wood.

Is It Better to Stain or Paint Pressure-Treated Wood?

Staining or painting treated wood is not a good idea. No one is better, as the wood will repel both process. The safest thing to do is to wait for the pressure-treated wood to dry properly, then you can choose to stain or paint it.

Painting and staining pressure-treated wood have different importance. So, one is only better than the other when it suits what you want to use it.


The idea of painting a treated wood is good to cover the green substance that comes out of the wood after treatment. But, the idea of painting it when it is still wet is the bad one. You have to allow the pressure-treated wood to get dry before applying paint to it. So, for people who often ask, “Can you paint pressure-treated wood? the answer is yes, but you have to let it dry properly first.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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