Do you need to varnish pressure treated wood?

Asked by: Diana Conn
Score: 5/5 (62 votes)

We often get asked for our painting recommendations for pressure treated wood. Our recommendation is short and simple: Don't. We do not recommend the use of a conventional multi-coat paint system or varnish. ... By nature of its make-up, pressure-treated lumber does not need protection from the elements.

Do you need to seal pressure-treated wood?

However, most pressure-treated wood should have periodic sealing against moisture, preferably every year or so. Although the wood is resistant to rot and insect attacks because of the pressure treatment, it can warp, split and develop mildew if not protected from the effects of water.

Is it better to stain or paint pressure-treated wood?

For similar reasons, wet lumber can hinder how well paint adheres to the wood, but the added problem of the preservatives in pressure-treated wood makes it difficult for the paint to bond; this is why it's advisable to stain pressure-treated wood instead of paint, as painting requires additional preparation.

What is the best coating for pressure-treated wood?

Avoid using oil-based paint here; on pressure-treated wood, latex performs much better. It's worth mentioning that in outdoor applications where the finish will be subject to the elements, paint lasts longer on vertical surfaces like fences than it does on horizontal ones like decks.

What is the best way to seal pressure treated wood?

For fully exposed decks, a water-repellent sealer or a penetrating semi-transparent stain may provide the best finishing solution, even on wood that has been pressure treated with preservatives. Special formulations made specifically for decks are available.

18 related questions found

Is it better to stain or seal a deck?

Sealing a deck is best for cedar, teak, mahogany, or other quality woods as it enhances the wood grain and natural color. ... Staining a deck protects the wood from mold, mildew, moisture, and rot, and UV rays and sun damage.

What happens if you don't stain pressure treated wood?

The effects that can occur due to a lack of treatment are aesthetic in nature. After 6 months, the wood will start to lose its color and will begin to fade. Ultimately it will fade to grey or silver. This is not a problem in and of itself, and some people prefer this look for their decks.

How long do you have to wait to seal pressure treated wood?

A newly built deck that uses pressurized wood will need time to dry completely before a sealer can be applied. The chemicals used to treat the wood leave moisture behind, and depending on the climate, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months until it's dry enough to seal.

What happens if you stain pressure treated wood?

If you stain pressure-treated wood too soon, the stain will be unable to fully penetrate the wood, and you will not get the protective benefits of the stain. What is the best stain for pressure-treated wood? An oil-based stain is the best for pressure-treated wood.

Is Thompson Water Seal any good?

Overall Score Thompson's® WaterSeal® at 2 Year Period: 6.125

– Overall Thompson's® WaterSeal® Clear Plus wood finish is a “clear” disappointment. Any finish that offers zero ability to prevent UV graying should not be considered for your deck or exterior wood.

Can I use Kilz on pressure treated wood?

Best Water-Based Primer– KILZ Premium

If you're looking for something that dries fast, then this KILZ primer for pressure treated wood will do the job. It is a water-based primer, which allows it to dry fast to touch for you to save time and be able to apply the paint sooner. After one hour, you can already recoat.

How do you know if pressure-treated wood is dry enough to stain?

To determine if pressure treated wood is dry enough to stain, try the “sprinkle” test. Sprinkle water on the wood: if the wood absorbs it within 10 minutes, plan to stain as soon as possible. If the water beads or pools on the wood surface, the wood needs more time to dry.

Can I stain pressure-treated wood right away?

Kiln dried pressure-treated lumber: Dry treated wood is ideal because you can confidently stain it right away with either oil- or water-based exterior stains. To recognize it, look for a tag or stamp that says KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment) or ADAT (air-dried after treatment).

Should you sand pressure-treated wood before staining?

All wood, except manufactured products like composite wood — even pressure-treated lumber — need to be sanded and stained. If you want it to last, you have to put in the time and some elbow grease.

How long does unstained pressure-treated wood last?

Ordinary Maintenance

On average, a deck made from pressure-treated pine will last 15 to 20 years before succumbing to the accumulated stress of direct sunlight, rain, salty ocean breezes, insect infestation and repeated cycles of thermal expansion and contraction.

Does stain protect wood from rotting?

Luckily, this is quite possible and well worth the effort. Wood stain protects your wood from all kinds of rot. Staining your wood will keep out termites, mold, mildew, and many other pests that can cause rot.

Should you put a sealer over stain?

After staining wood do you have to seal it? Yes, when staining wood you must apply a sealer to protect the stained surface. The stain will highlight the grain in the wood but it will not protect it, meaning it is extremely susceptible to damages from liquids, foods, human touch, and other sharp objects.

Do you seal or stain wood first?

The key is to apply a thin base coat to partially seal the wood before wood staining. Sanding sealers, dewaxed shellac and wipe-on finishes will all do the trick.

How long does it take for pressure treated wood to turn gray?

If you decide to wait three to six months before staining your deck, most unstained pressure treated lumber will begin to turn gray. The wood may also become discolored from foot traffic, wet leaves or spilled food.

How do you know when pressure treated wood is ready?

Pressure-treated wood needs to be dry before painting. To determine if your treated wood is paintable, drop some water on the surface of the board. If the water soaks into the wood, then it's ready for paint. However, if the water beads on the surface, then the wood is still too damp.

When should I use treated wood?

Use pressure treated wood in any situation where there's direct contact between the wood and anything that could supply moisture. This means posts in contact or buried underground obviously, but it also includes any lumber touching concrete or masonry since it's porous and wicks water like a sponge.

How long does Thompson Water Seal still tacky?

After two to three days, you probably won't have any stickiness left on your wood. If you want to play it safe, most experts agree it's best to wait for up to an entire week before you panic.

How many coats of Thompson Water Seal do I need?

One coat is enough, but if more color is desired, a second coat can be applied within two hours before the first coat has dried. With Thompson's® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Stains, you can clean your tools with soap and water.

How long does Thompson Water Seal last?

If applied correctly, Water Seal will last up to 4 years. This is dependent on conditions such as orientation of the wall and local climate.

Can I apply Thompson's Water Seal every year?

Thompson's WaterSeal includes a complete line of deck sealers and stains for protecting deck wood from moisture and sunlight. Applying a sealer and/or stain typically is recommended every one to three years, depending on the finishing product, deck use, weather conditions, and sun exposure.

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