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Everything You Need To Know About Staining Pressure Treated Wood

Before actually going deep into the process details of staining, let’s recall that the purpose of wood pressure treatment is to substantially increase the service life of the wood by adding preservative chemicals into the wood’s cellular structure. Such that these chemical agents act as a protective barrier between the wood and the biological deteriorating agents.

Adding to that, the excess moisture has been removed from the wood thus, allowing you to capitalize on the durability, resilience and strength of the wood without sacrificing the looks. Hence, pressure-treated wood is less susceptible to insect infestation, microbial decaying agents, and rot. Not to mention that this type of extra durable wood is used in the processing of decks, patios, and other outdoor wooden structures.

Apart from all these benefits, pressure-treated wood is still vulnerable to sun, wind, dirt, and moisture damage. And having that said, you’ll need to solve this issue to protect your valuable investment and make it last longer. Coming to the solution, for which, we being the professionals at Design Furniture, are going to explain to you is the process of staining pressure-treated wood.

A Complete Guide On The Staining Process Of Pressure Treated Wood

In this article, you’ll get all the information on each and every detail that needs to be taken well care of while staining the dry-treated wood. We’ll guide you step-by-step on the staining process for the efficient and effective completion of this DIY task.

When Pressure-Treated Wood Can Be Stained?

Simply put, dry wood with the least amount of moisture content can be stained. On the other hand, wood bought from the market is the actual opposite of this requirement. However, you can imply an air dry treatment on this kind of wood or purchase a kiln-dried wood if you’re looking forward to the immediate staining process.

Now the next possible pondering at this point is that if there exists a way to test whether the wood is dry enough to be stained or not? You’ll be glad to know that there is a test called the “wood sprinkle test” that can help you know about the moisture content of the wood.

All you need to do is to sprinkle some drops of water on the wood surface and wait for it to be absorbed by the wood. If the water absorbs within around 10 minutes after sprinkling then you can stain the wood immediately. However, if more time seems to be consumed, then the wood needs more time to dry.

Steps To Stain The Pressure-Treated Wood

Following are the steps that should be followed precisely for staining the pressure-treated wood.

1. Paint The Wood Surface (Optional)

No doubt, staining will preserve the wood and protect it against any biological damage, however, most of the time you will not have the option to paint the wood after staining. Because exterior paint will simply peel off and is less likely to adhere to the wood’s surface.

Therefore, the best possible option is to paint the wood before staining and let the paint dry completely before initiating the process of staining. On the other hand, as in some exceptional cases and depending upon the type of stain used, you will have the option to paint the wood after staining.

For that purpose, you’ll need to mix a special primer designed for exterior use with the paint and have to apply at least two coats of latex paint per area for the best results.

2. Choose The Type Of Stain To Be Used

You can use either semi-transparent or transparent type for staining the wood. Adding to that, transparent stain, as the name suggests, allows no pigmentation while semi-transparent stain can add color, texture, and tonal aspects to the wood’s surface.

In general, transparent stains are best for new wooden structures and semi-transparent stains act complementary for older wood structures by hiding imperfections. Also, transparent stains suit decks or patios because they can reflect sunlight more efficiently.

3. Prepare The Wooden Structure

Old wooden structures will have accumulated dirt, dust, and debris within the seams and ridges and therefore, need to be cleaned or washed before staining. Also, you may need to clean the surface in case of a new wooden outdoor structure.

You can wash the deck or patio with a professional cleaner and scrub the wood surface when wet for efficient cleaning. Don’t forget to get rid of the surface marks or dirt spots because after staining, you won’t be able to do anything about that. 

And, you should not rush the cleaning process because tough stains will require some time to be cleaned even with the most effective cleaning agents.

4. Get The Stain Ready For Application

If the stain is applied under direct sunlight, it will dry quickly and therefore, won’t have much of an effect on the wood’s surface. So, you should avoid doing that and let the stain absorb within the wooden structure.

Also, you should cover or tape any nearby immovable structures to save them from the effects of staining. The next thing is to pour the stain into a wide, open paint tray and stir the stain thoroughly. Not mention that you can always experiment with the stain color and appearance by applying it to an unnoticeable wooden patch.

5. Seal The Pressure Treated Wood

Of course, staining will protect the wood’s surface but applying a sealant will eradicate any risk of moisture damage completely. Therefore, most exterior stains follow a professional sealant application, in order to protect the wood from water damage. 

Also, you can choose to have a sealant with UV-repellent properties. You can combine the sealant with the stain and apply this mixture together to the pressure-treated wood.

6. Stain The Pressure Treated Wood

The time has come for you to stain the wooden structure. You can use a paint pad applicator or a large soft-bristled brush to perform this task. Also, a pressurized sprayer can be put in the situation. Don’t forget to cover the area regularly starting from one wooden patch to the other in a streamlined manner.

When it comes to covering any cracks, seams, and ridges with the stain solution, a small soft-bristled brush will come in handy. After staining, you need to wait for at least one day to let the stain dry and settle completely on the surface.


Staining the pressure-treated wood can protect it from decaying and biological damage besides adding to the strength, durability, resilience, and longevity of its structure. In this article, we’ve explained to you all the details that should be taken into consideration when staining pressure-treated wood. Starting from the definition of pressure-treated wood to the steps of staining this type of lumber, we’ve covered each and every aspect in this regard, so as to help you conduct this project without any trouble. 


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