Can you Stain Pressure-treated Wood? How to do It

Stain Pressure-treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is used for many applications in the garden. For example, fences are made from it, as also decking, trays, and garden houses. You can recognize pressure-treated wood by its color, which is usually greenish. And you probably don’t want that color in your garden, so can you stain pressure-treated wood? In brief,

Yes, both new and old, pressure-treated wood can be stained. You can also stain wood that has already been stained. Clean the wood, remove the green deposits, and let it dry for 24 hours before starting. Protect the plants and your tiles with foil.

This is briefly if and how you can stain impregnated wood. However, there is still a bit more to it than has been briefly described, and that is what this article is about; how should you stain pressure-treated wood, and what do you do that? Does it require a special stain? It’s all covered, so read on.

Is it better to Stain or Oil Pressure-treated wood?

The difference between stain and oil is that oil retains the natural color of the wood. On the other hand, staining protects the wood better than oil.

Now we are dealing with pressure-treated wood, which has already lost its natural color. The impregnation changes the color of the wood, and it may have become darker/brown or even greenish. The natural color of the wood has disappeared.

However, the advice in this respect is to stain pressure-treated wood instead of oiling it. Because it provides better protection and because the natural color of the wood has already disappeared.

Learn more about Wood Oiling

What to Stain pressure-treated wood with?

You use stain for staining wood. Now there are many types of stains on the market, each claiming to be better than the other. For example, according to the producers, more antifungal ingredients have been added, or more other chemicals do not make the best product.

However, wood that is exposed to the weather must be treated again at least every three years. Whether additional properties have been added or not.

I always trust good brands, and one of those brands is Varathane stain, available at Here you can also read the processing instructions and properties.

No matter what specialists tell you, you don’t need more than this! Staining is often done with a roller or brush, but you can also spray it.

When to Stain Pressure Treated Wood?

The wood is impregnated with chemicals to increase its life of the wood. Mold and moisture have less chance of rotting the wood due to impregnation. However, the wood still has an open structure, and water can penetrate the wood.

The question now is, what effect do the chemicals have on the staining, and when can you stain?

New Pressure treated Wood Stain

Newly pressure-treated wood, which comes directly from the factory or hardware store, is often not completely evaporated. The volatile substances in the wood fade over time, and new wood has usually not yet vanished.

The advice is to give the wood two months to evaporate before you start staining. This allows the wood to get rid of the volatile substances. If you do not do this, stains may become visible after staining.

If you do not further treat the wood with paint, oil, or stain, it will age automatically due to the weather and UV light.

Staining Old Pressure treated wood

Older pressure-treated wood does not suffer from this. The chemicals have already faded, and waiting with staining is not necessary with this type of wood.

How to Stain pressure-treated wood?

When you start staining pressure-treated wood, it is best to protect the environment well first. Apply plastic to the floor, furniture, and where you will stain. It is also best to protect clothing, and once the stain is in clothing or carpeting, it is (almost) impossible to remove. Also, cover the tiles or concrete there against the penetrating stain. Do all this only after the preparations but before staining.

If you are going to stain a fence, also protect the plants and cover them. Remove everything near the fence that you can take away before you start.

Follow the step-by-step guide to staining pressure-treated wood:

  • First, clean the pressure-treated wood thoroughly. Remove dirt and grime. You can use a high-pressure cleaner for this. Set the high-pressure cleaner to spray mode and not to jet mode. This mode makes circles in the wood and damages the wood, and you will continue to see this after staining. Gently spray the wood.
  • The wood must then dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Before you start staining, you should sand pressure-treated wood, at least if a coat of stain has already been applied.
  • You do not need to sand for pressure-treated wood stained for the first time. In this case, I advise you to check the fence for rough spots that you might need to sand down. Sanding ensures that the old loose stain parts are removed and that the adhesion of the stain improves.
  • Open the can and stir the stain well to mix all the ingredients.
  • Use a block brush to apply the stain to a fence. You can use a flat brush or roller for smaller parts, such as furniture.
  • Apply the stain with the correct rollers or brushes. Roll or stain in the direction of the grain. Ensure that the nooks and crannies are well covered in the stain. Use a paint tray to put the stain in, so you can quickly dip your brush or roller in it.
  • Roll or brush the stain with the grain, and finish the project in one go. So don’t stop halfway.
  • Leave the stain to dry for 24 hours, between any coats of stain. The more layers you apply to the stain, the deeper the color becomes. I recommend that you lightly sand the fence before applying the second coat.
  • You can also paint the stain (when it is water-based) after the stain has dried, with a clear water-based lacquer, so that the wood and the stain are well protected against moisture. 

Read also: How to Oil Wood

About Christian

I am passionate about indoor and outdoor design, woodworking projects, painting, plastering, cleaning after jobs, wallpapering techniques, and helping others. I appreciate doing the research required for my job to keep my articles relevant and engaging, so everyone can benefit from them.

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