Deck Stain Being Applied to Deck Boards

Staining, Sealing and Painting Pressure Treated Wood

Protect your investment.

You probably know that wood swells when it gets wet and shrinks when it dries. These weather cycles can be tough on wood and can lead to splits, cracks, checks and other appearance issues. To minimize these concerns, it's important to finish your project as soon as possible after completion.

In the past, people waited six months or more  before finishing projects that use pressure treated wood. That's no longer the case with newer treatments like the micronized copper preservatives used to treat YellaWood® brand products. Now your project could be ready to be finished within 30 days of completion depending on a number of factors including your local weather conditions. Certain products, like our RainWood® brand products with a factory-applied water repellent, may take longer to dry out enough to accept a paint or stain while other products, like our Kiln Dried After Treatment, require no waiting at all.

Here are some simple guidelines for staining, sealing and painting your outdoor project.

The "Sprinkle Test"

  • For the best adhesion of your finishing product, the boards need to be sufficiently dry. A simple test will help you determine if the time is right.
  • Splash a few beads of water on the boards. If it beads up, you'll want to wait several days to test again. If the water absorbs into the wood, you're good to go.


  • Apply when surface is dry and reapply as needed
  • Perform the "sprinkle test" (above) to check for dryness
  • Look for a stain that has both a water repellent and a UV stabilizer
  • Hybrid formulations of stains offer penetration and color retention typically found in oil-based stains with the simple soap and water clean-up of acrylic stains
  • Semi-transparent stains offer rich colors while permitting the beautiful wood grain to shine through
  • Our recommendation: YellaWood Protector® semi-transparent stains 
  • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application



  • Apply when surface is dry and reapply as needed
  • Perform a "sprinkle test" (above) to check for dryness
  • Start with an alkyd oil-based primer
  • Finish with two coats of high-quality acrylic latex top coat paint
  • Be sure to prime any cut ends
  • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application
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