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Can You Paint Treated Wood? Let’s Find Out!

Is It Possible To Paint Treated Wood?

Yes, it is possible to paint treated wood, however, it’s not recommended.

You can paint it with a wood preservative to extend the life of the wood, but it will eventually rot.

Treating wood is a process of creating a film over the surface to protect it.

This film prevents degradation caused by microorganisms.

Painting treated wood is a process that requires stripping the previously applied treatment and then applying a new one.

What Is Treated Wood?

Treated wood is a type of wood that has been treated with chemicals to protect it against insects and rot.

It is used in backyard deck, fences, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor structures.

There are two types of treated wood:

  1. Pressure-treated
  2. Preservative-treated

Pressure-treated wood is usually cheaper than preservative-treated wood.

However, preservative-treated wood lasts longer and is less prone to rotting.

Pressure-treated wood is also known as “yellow” wood because of its yellowish light colors.

The chemical treatment process makes the wood resistant to decay and insects.

Preservative-treated wood is also called “white” wood because it does not contain any drum of chemicals.

It is usually more expensive than pressure-treated wood.

How Does Treated Wood Last Longer Than Unprotected Wood?

The main reason why you should use treated wood instead of untreated wood is for longevity.

Untreated wood rots very quickly when exposed to moisture content or sunlight.

It may be difficult to find untreated type of lumber at your local home improvement store.

However, if you want to save money on buying materials, you might consider using treated wood.

If you have an old commercial deck or fence made out of untreated wood, you need to replace them immediately.

Otherwise, they could become damaged due to weather conditions such as rain and snow.

How to Paint Pressure-Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated wood is an excellent choice for outdoor projects because it lasts longer than other types of wood.

It also resists rot and insects better than untreated wood grain.

However, pressure-treated wood does require special care before the painting process.

Painting pressure-treated wood is easier than painting regular wood grain.

The only difference between the two is that pressure-treated wood needs to be treated first.

If you want a quality paint pressure-treated type of wood, you should follow these steps:

Step 1: Clean the surface thoroughly

Step 2: Apply a primer

Step 3: Allow the primer to dry overnight

Step 4: Apply several lots of paint adhesion

Step 5: Sand the surface after applying every coat

Step 6: Seal the entire wood project

Step 7: Use clear sealer over any cracks in the finished product

Can I apply preservative or paint to my pressure treated shed or fence?

No, you cannot apply preservatives or paints directly onto pressure-treated wood.

They must first be stripped off before painting.

Stripping involves removing all traces of previous treatments from the pieces of wood.

Afterward, you can apply a fresh coat of paint.

Are Pressure Treated Fences Safe For Kids And Pets?

Fencing is meant to keep animals away from areas where children play.

Therefore, fencing needs to withstand high levels of wear and tear.

In addition, it needs to resist damage from kids who climb trees and fall into holes.

A good quality pressure-treated fence will last many years without rusting or breaking down.

Children should never touch the metal parts of a pressure-treated fence.

Instead, they should only handle wooden components.

Should I apply preservative to my pressure treated shed or fence?

Yes! It’s important to treat sheds and fences so they don’t deteriorate too fast.

You’ll get better results if you follow these steps:

Step 1: Strip the existing coating completely off the wood fibers.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer of primer.

Step 3: Wait 24 hours until the primer dries.

Step 4: Then apply 2 coats of finish.

Step 5: Let each coat dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Finally, sand the surface with fine-grit paper.

What kind of paint do you use on treated wood?

There are three main kinds of paint available for treating your wood:

  1. Oil-based Paint
  2. Latex
  3. Water base

Oil-based paints work best when applied by stiff brush while latex and water-based paints are usually sprayed.

When choosing which type of paint to use, make sure it has been tested against the specific material being painted.

For example, some wood pores may react differently to different types of the correct paint.

Also, check whether the manufacturer recommends one type of paint over another.

Finally, consider how much time you have to complete the coats of paint job.

It takes longer to prep materials for spraying compared to brushing.

That means more time spent waiting around during application.

So choose wisely.


Painting treated wood isn’t as easy as people think.

The process requires patience and practice.

However, once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll find that it pays dividends.

Your home looks great and lasts long.

Scott Buckley

Scott Buckley

I'm Scott, a Woodworker by day and book geek by night. I love making things out of wood. While I have and still, on occassion do, work with metal and plastics, I find them to be cold and somewhat boring. Wood is warm and I feel close to nature with it. I started as a means to help like minded creative folk to answer burning questions. I hope you enjoy reading and learning, and always feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions!

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