How to Make Paint Stick to Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber is used for such outdoor items as decks, railings and fences. Treated wood is soaked in a chemical that makes it resistant to rot and insects. The best way to care for pressure-treated lumber is to paint or stain it. The trick to making paint stick to treated lumber is as simple as making sure the wood is dry before painting. Since the chemical treatment only makes lumber resistant to decay, painting it will greatly extend the life of the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint or stain
  • Brushes
  • Wood putty or caulk
  • Masking tape
  • Dropcloths

Video of the Day

Make sure the wood is dry before applying a finish. The wood is delivered to the lumberyard wet and it takes several weeks to dry out. Drop a small amount of water on the wood to test it. If it beads up, it needs to dry longer. If it soaks in quickly, you can paint or stain the lumber.

Use wood putty or caulk to cover up all nails and screw holes before painting.

Use masking tape and dropcloths to protect the area around the treated lumber from paint.

Paint the wood, making sure it is clean of all debris. Any exterior grade paint is OK to use on treated lumber. Apply a thin layer of paint to the wood. Let it dry. Apply a second coat of paint, if needed. Let the final coat dry. Remove the masking tape and dropcloths.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves when working with the treated lumber. Wash exposed areas thoroughly after working with the wood. Wash your work clothes separately from other clothing.
  • Wood treaters and manufacturers have been banned from treating wood with chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, for residential uses, with certain exceptions, since Dec. 31, 2003, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.


Promoted By Zergnet
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.