How Do You Paint Treated Wood?


Quick Answer

Paint pressure-treated wood after it has had several months to dry, but do not apply paint until the wood passes the sprinkle test. Apply an oil-based alkyd primer and two coats of latex paint.

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Full Answer

  1. Wait until the wood is ready to paint

    Manufacturers ship pressure-treated lumber while it is still saturated with the chemical preservative. Upon installation, it dries naturally. To test the lumber for dryness, sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads up, wait a few more weeks and test again. If water soaks into the wood, it is ready for paint.

  2. Apply the primer

    Choose an alkyd oil-based primer. Use a brush, roller or airless paint sprayer to apply the primer to all bare surfaces, paying careful attention to any cut ends of the pressure-treated wood. Allow the primer to dry per the manufacturer's directions before proceeding.

  3. Paint the wood

    Apply a layer of the finish paint to the wood. Keep the layer thin. Follow the manufacturer's directions concerning drying time between coats. Apply the second layer of paint.

  4. Maintain the surface

    While the wood resists moisture from outdoor use or ground contact, it requires regular re-painting. Scrape any peeling paint and prime any bare wood before applying the new finish.

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