Painting, staining, and pressure-treated wood are all excellent ways to preserve your deck’s appearance. Painting, staining, and pressure-treated wood does not need to be protected from decay; however, it will help prevent surface cracking and extend its life.

Before you install your pressure-treated wood, be sure to stain it. Once the treated wood is in place, it can be difficult to reach all the surfaces that need to be stained.

When staining pressure-treated wood, use a product that’s specifically designed for treated lumber.

These products will help ensure that the stain adheres properly to the wood.

If you’re looking for a more natural look, you can also use a clear sealant on your pressure-treated wood.

This will allow the wood’s natural beauty to shine through while still providing some protection against the elements.

Green-Treated Lumber: What It Is and What to Look for

The kind of stain you put on your deck depends in part on the type of wood you use.

If you’re using pressure-treated wood, there are a few things you should know about the different types of treated lumber before you get started.

Treated lumber is typically made from softwoods like pine or fir that have been treated with chemicals to prevent rot and decay.

The most common type of treated lumber is green-treated lumber.

Green-treated lumber is treated with copper chromium arsenate (CCA). This treatment helps protect the wood from rot, decay, and insects.

  • Wet treated wood
  • Treated wood containing water repellent
  • Kiln-dried pressure-treated lumber

Wet treated wood

This type of wood is the most common type of treated lumber. It’s been treated with water-repellent chemicals to help prevent rot and decay.

You’ll notice straight away that it is heavier than other types of lumber and often times it has been known to “spit” at you when nailing into it.

Where possible, try and let this lumber dry out for a few weeks or months before using it. This will help to prevent the “spitting” effect.

Treated lumber containing water repellent

This type of lumber has been treated with water-repellent chemicals, but it’s not as effective as wet-treated lumber.

You’ll still need to let this lumber dry out before using it to help prevent the “spitting” effect.

Kiln-dried pressure-treated lumber

This type of lumber is the most expensive, but it’s also the most effective at preventing rot and decay.

The lumber is kiln-dried before it’s treated, which helps remove any moisture from the wood.

You can use this lumber immediately after purchasing it, which makes it a great option if you’re short on time.

If you need to identify whether a piece of wood has been kiln-dried, lookout for a tag that says ADAT (air-dried after treatment), or KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment).

No matter what type of treated lumber you use, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and care.

When installing pressure-treated wood, be sure to wear gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from the chemicals in the lumber.

Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working with treated lumber.

Related: How Does Pressure-Treated Wood And Lumber Work?

When Is The Best Time to Stain Pressure Treated Wood?

Wait 72 hours after pressure-treating wood before staining it if you want to paint it. If it was wet-treated, allow 4-6 weeks for the wood to dry fully.

If the wood has been in place for an extended period, try sprinkling a few drops of water on it to see whether it is damp.

If the water droplets bounce rather than bead up, the material is still too wet to stain.

Do You Have To Stain Treated Wood?

To be honest, you don’t have to stain treated wood, but I do recommend it. Staining will help prevent the wood from UV radiation and weather damage.

It’s best to use a semi-transparent stain so that the wood’s grain is still visible. You can also use a solid color stain if you want to completely change the look of the wood.

If you’re using pressure-treated lumber for an outdoor project, be sure to choose a stain that is specifically designed for outdoor use.

How Often Should You Stain Pressure Treated Wood?

You should stain pressure-treated wood every two to three years to help protect it from the sun and weather damage.

If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, you may need to stain the lumber more often.

What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Too Soon?

If you stain pressure-treated wood before it has had adequate time to fully cure, the stain will be unable to penetrate the timber completely, and you won’t receive the protection that comes with it.

What Is The Best Stain For Pressure-treated Wood?

A pressure-treated wood that is stained with an oil-based color will have better penetration than a water-based stain.

When staining pressure-treated wood, be sure to use a brush with synthetic bristles since natural bristles can absorb the stain and become brittle.

Also, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area since oil-based stains have strong fumes.


Can you stain green pressure-treated wood?

Yes, but you’ll need to wait until the lumber has had adequate time to fully cure first.

Can you stain kiln-dried wood?

Yes, kiln-dried wood may be stained as soon after purchase as you like. If your hardwood has been pressure-treated, the label should say ADAT (air-dried after treatment) or KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment), which means it’s air-dried and then kiln-dried.

Is wood deck staining the same as pressure-treated wood?

No, they are not the same. Wood deck staining is different from pressure-treated wood in that it is not as effective at preventing rot and decay. It offers additional protection from the sun and weather damage, however.

Why is my pressure-treated wood turning black?

The stain on your pressure-treated wood may be showing mildew or fungus growth. To remove this, you can use a power washer or a garden hose with a nozzle attachment. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when using a power washer.

How do you remove stains from pressure-treated wood?

You can remove the stain from pressure-treated wood with a paint stripper or sander. Be sure to wear gloves and a dust mask when working with treated lumber. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working with treated lumber.

Can you paint over a stain?

Yes, you can paint over a stain, but you’ll need to wait until the stain has had adequate time to fully cure first. You will also need to sand the surface before painting.

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