How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood Step by Step

Painting pressure treated wood stuff is a bit tricky due to the chemical composition of the treated wood. Treated wood is kept in a chemical solution to increase the lifespan and durability, and that’s what restricts the paint to get along with it.

Exterior lumbers are most likely to be pressure treated one. In case you own them, and have a problem with painting them, follow the easy tactics provided below with proper safety preparation.

How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood

​At the very end, you’ll eventually know how to paint pressure treated wood.

Step by Step Guide on How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood

​Things ​You’ll Need:

  • Soapy water
  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Tarp
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Pressure washer
  • Deck stripper (not mandatory)
  • Wood brightener (not mandatory)
  • Water
  • Latex-based primer
  • Latex-based paint
  • Paint sprayer (not mandatory)
  • Synthetic brush
  • Sealant
  • Natural brush

​Let’s Divide The Phase Into Two:

​PHASE 01: Clean ​& Prepare your pressure treated wood for painting

PHASE 02: Painting pressure treated wood step by step

PHASE 01: Clean & Prepare Your Pressure Treated Wood for Painting

Prepare Soapy Water and Wash a Small Area of Wood With The Water Using a Brush.

​Choose a brush having hard-bristled as it would help deep into the dirt and grease layer. Any year-old grime would vanish due to loosening by the soapy water and harsh wash by the hard-bristled. This kind of job is preferable for smaller projects that are wooden stuff having a small surface area like a garden box.

Have tarp or any plastic to cover the plants that reside nearby and have them move out of the room or far for the treating object.

​What if You’re to Work on Larger Projects? A Pressure Washer is a Requirement in That Case.

If you don’t own a pressure washer, rent one. Rent one that is for spraying chemicals like wood brightener & deck stripper. Connect the plug to a power source to operate the washer and hold firmly the nozzle connected with the wand.

It would be best if you had the sprayer to spray the desk stripper on the wooden tools to tear up the old paint and make it vanish. But before that, initiate with water and give a good water pressure on the project tool to remove any fine dust or loose grime.

Once you get rid of the year-old paint, it’s time for a second water wash. So, get the washer empty and fill with water. Give a good rinse to the wood exterior during the second water wash.

Now you have removed the years old paint. So, logically the exterior will lack brightness. If that’s the thing irritating you, go for a wood brightener and spray it with the same washer sprayer. The privilege that a brightener has is that it doesn’t need a rinse as you do in the case of a stripper.

While spraying, ensure the distance between the wood and the washer tip at 6- inches apart 15 cm.

While spraying stripper, set the sprayer’s angle 25 or 20- degree angle and 40 to 45- degree angle for spreading wood brightener. Set the washer to 1000 psi for spraying both the products.

​Time to Dry

Before you start working with either primer or paint, the wood’s surface area must be dried without leaving a pin drop moisture. Otherwise, the color won’t have enough adhesiveness. To say that, you can’t desire the wooden stuff to dry overnight. Several weeks or even months can be taken by the wood depending on the type.

To have a basic precautionary test, pour a few water drops on the wooden exterior. The absorption of the water proves the wood to be dry & ready for primer & paint.

​Look Out for The Loose Nails and Screws Before You Start Painting and Secure Them.

​Loose nails and screws are a hindrance to your painting job and dangerous at the same time. So, find them up with a thorough checkup & secure them using an electric drill or hammer.

Paint or primer needs an even surface area for the best output. Otherwise, you will face additional problems to deal with the nails if you plan to set them up after painting.

PHASE 02: Painting Pressure Treated Wood Step by Step

​Time to Act With Primer & Paint

Select the suitable Latex-based paint and primer for your treated wood. Take time to look for something specially made for pressure treated and for external use. Ensure that both the primer and paint are latex-based, and oil won’t have the adhesiveness to set on the wooden stuff. Select several paintbrushes with synthetic bristles with 3 to 4 inches, i.e., 7.6 to 10.2 cm, to apply paint & primer.

The oil-based paints don’t set correctly, but they also give less brightness to the pressure-treated wood than the Latex-based color.

If your wooden furniture is stained, look for a primer that has a feature to hide stains.

​Use of The Synthetic Brush

Apply a primer coating with a selected brush. Your movement of the meeting should be top to bottom in case you are working on vertical projects. For any projects, this coating should be given using consistent & long paint strokes.

Use a lighter stroke to deal with any dripping paint or uneven spots. Try to give long strokes as much as you can because short strokes leave visible brush strokes, making the output unprofessional. I want to work on sections that have my brush’s wideness.

​The Time Gap Between Drying The Primer & Applying The Paint is 24- Hours

Your primer should have the information about the time to dry; look for it. Try to maintain that period, at least. Primer works on the wood surface to create a canvas layer for you to draw on with paint. So, the goal won’t be reached if the primer isn’t dry.

The highest time a primer should take to dry is 24- hours, not more than that.

​Let The Paint Dry for 4-Hours Initially.

Now follow the same process of primer application with the same accessories and exact sizes for paint coating. Remove any paint lump or bubbles and blend them evenly with the brush tip. Now wait for 4- hours and ensure that it has dried. Then go for the second layer.

Don’t use any unsuitable paint on your wooden tools.

Most Latex-based paints take 4- hours to dry. Check your one to see how long it would take.

​Time for The Second Layer

​The second coating makes the first layer strong and long-lasting. So, go for a second one with all the same accessories, techniques, and even the same time to dry. Even the output color would be so intense due to this layer of coating.

​A Sealant Protects The Paint on Wood.

You mustn’t want to repeat the process so frequently. As you have come this far, why don’t you take one step more to value your hard work?

Sealants are likely to be water-based or oil-based. Consult with a local hardware or home- improvement store to see which one does suit your wood if you can’t figure out. Once the paints are dried, apply a layer of sealant. It will block the wood’s chemical within it, not to get mixed with nearby soil and plants.

Brushes having natural bristles work great for this task.

Any excess sealant will solidify, resulting in forming bumps. Use a razor blade to get rid of it.


Use a spray can for applying primer while you are on a larger project. Moving the can in different directions will let you have a smooth & consistent coat.

Painting is such an effective solution for recoloring pressure-treated wood. Staining is also an effective alternative. For larger projects, decide staining instead.

​Final Verdict:

By now, you know can paint your pressure treated wood with easy ten steps. The steps and the work amount are less, but the consumed time will be weeks to months, which isn’t a short period. Therefore, you know the job needs more patience than energy.

You take safety measures, especially for those with breathing problems, or don’t like the odor of chemicals.

Learn More About splitting wood

Leave a Comment