Sealing, Painting and Staining Pressure Treated Wood

A project's not really done until it's finished. And an outdoor project's not finished until it's been stained, sealed or painted.

You probably know that wood swells when it gets wet and shrinks when it dries. The susceptibility to weather cycles is hard 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 so 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.

Here are some guidelines for sealing, staining and painting.

Sealing

  • For a natural pine appearance, apply a transparent or semi-transparent water repellent
  • Apply within six weeks of completion and reapply annually
  • Pick a sealant with UV stabilizers to help ease the impact of the sun
  • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application

Staining

  • Apply when surface is dry and reapply as needed
  • Perform a "sprinkle test" to check for dryness (see below)
  • Look for a stain that has the longest manufacturer's warranty, has a water repellent and a UV stabilizer
  • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application

Painting

  • Apply when surface is dry and reapply as needed
  • Perform a "sprinkle test" to check for dryness (see below)
  • 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

The "Sprinkle Test"

  • 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.