Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?
Exterior House Painting

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

Posted on February 8, 2022

Can You Paint Pressure Treated Wood?

If you’re here, you’re probably curious whether or not you can paint pressure treated wood. The short answer: yes. However, knowing the specifics of painting pressure treated wood will only make your painting project easier.

We’ll go over a brief explanation of what makes wood ‘pressure treated’, how to prep the wood and finally, how to successfully paint it.

What is Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure treated wood has been treated with special processes to make it less vulnerable to mold, decay and insect infestation—even making the wood fire-retardant.

The process is typically a mechanical process that is computer-controlled. Wood is transported into a vacuum pressure vessel where the air is removed from the wood. The vessel then fills with the preservation solution and the machine applies immense pressure to force the solution into the wood cells.

DIY or Call a Professional?

Small painting proects may be able to be handled on your own, but when it comes to those larger projects, it can make sense to call a professional to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Especially with a finicky product like pressure treated wood, it can be difficult to manage the moisture content and know when to use primer or when it’s not necessary.

At CertaPro Painters®, we’re experts in all things paint—including painting pressure treated wood.

How to Prep Pressure Treated Wood for Painting

First, you must prime the wood for painting. This step is crucial to prolong the life of your wood and guarantee the best results.

Clean the Wood

Using a stiff brush and warm, soapy water remove any dirt or debris from the wood. Do not use a pressure washer on pressure treated wood as the high pressure can damage the treatment on the wood fibers.

Make Sure Wood is Completely Dry

One of the most important things to remember when painting pressure treated wood is that it must be completely dry before painting. If paint is applied before the wood has fully dried, the paint simply will not dry, or it will blister and peel over time.

The moisture content of the pressure treated wood must be below 14% before you get started. The easiest way to check if your wood is dry enough is to perform a ‘water test’ . By sprinkling some water on the wood, it should absorb the water. If it still has not dried, the water will bead on the surface.

For a more accurate reading, using a digital moisture meter will give you an exact moisture measurement.

How to Paint Pressure Treated Wood

Now it’s time to start painting! Be sure to follow each step carefully, you want to guarantee you’re protecting the integrity of your wood throughout this process.

Materials Needed

  • Primer
  • Latex paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Roller

Apply Primer

The best type of primer to use for painting pressure treated wood is latex primer. Most hardware stores sell primer made specifically for painting pressure treated wood.

Starting with a brush, focus on areas that the paint roller cannot reach like narrow or recessed areas. Following up with a paint roller, roll the remaining surface area to cover evenly with the primer.

Let the primer dry for about an hour before proceeding to the next step.

Apply Paint

Using a latex paint, or a paint made specifically for painting pressure treated wood, you’ll follow the same process as the primer. Starting with a brush, focus on the areas that are hard-to-reach for the paint roller to make sure you’re fully covering the surface. Grab your paint roller and roll on your paint to cover the rest of the surface area.

Let the first coat dry for up to three hours before applying your second coat. Follow the same process for painting your second coat.

Apply a water-repellent finish

To protect your wood even further, apply a coat of water-repellant finish with a UV stabilizer to prevent fading.


Maintenance is key. If maintenance is done incorrectly, it can lead to many headaches down the line. Pressure treated wood is an extremely durable material, and with the proper maintenance and care it can last for many years to come!

Contact CertaPro Painters® today for a consultation!