What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Too Soon?

Image of a treated wood, so, What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Too Soon

Pressure treated wood contains chemicals that protect it against destructive insects such as termites. However, this treatment does not make the wood safe against other damaging elements like water, so you need to stain your treated wood for further protection. Sometimes you are in a hurry and end up staining your wood before it dries, is it a good thing? Let’s look at what happens if you stain pressure treated wood too soon.

Staining pressure treated wood too soon is not a good idea because the stain will not adhere to the surface of your wood correctly. You must allow your pressure treated wood to dry before you apply a stain. 

Usually, the drying time of pressure treated wood is between a few weeks to a few months, depending on the prevailing environmental conditions.

How to Stain Pressure Treated Wood

There are a few simple steps that will help you stain your treated wood and get the best results possible in the long run. These steps are:

  • Allow your new pressure treated wood time to dry, about 30 days before consider staining it.
  • Clean your wood by removing the old stain, any form of mold, or mildew that might be on the surface of your wood. You can do that by the use of a pressure washer or a deck cleaning liquid. If you are going to use a pressure washer, set it between 1500 and 2500 PSI to limit your deck’s chance of getting damaged in the process.
  • Allow your cleaned wood about 3-5 days to dry thoroughly.
  • Using your roller or paintbrush, apply your stain evenly all over the surface. You should the ends of the board as well; this will help prevent the moisture from entering through these points.
  • Apply a single coat of color-based stain and a second coat after a year.
  • If you are using a transparent stain, then apply two coats. You can apply the third coat after 6-10 months of the previous staining.
Watch the video below on when to stain pressure treated wood:

Benefits of Staining Pressure Treated Wood

Some of the benefits that come with the staining of pressure treated wood include:

Prevention of Rotting 

Wood is susceptible to rotting every time you use it on the exterior environment without staining to protect it. Rotting does a lot to your wood. First, it makes the surface appear less appealing and can also lead to collapsing of the structure. 

So, how do rot develop on the surface of the wood? Well, some of how wood can decay include the infestation of molds and mildews, also, termites play a critical role in the rotting of a wood surface.

Staining your woodworking projects right after installation and follow up maintenance practices is crucial in protecting them from causes of rot.

Protection Against the Sun and Moisture 

Whenever water enters into your wooden structures, it increases the chances of rotting taking place. Once your wood freezes after absorbing water, it will start to break; the breaking builds up to slow destruction of your project, especially if it repeatedly happens.

Sunlight, on the other hand, contains UV lights that cause discoloration of wooden structures. Staining with an exterior deck stain will help protect your wood against the two elements as most of the exterior wood stains come with features that inhibit both water and UV destruction.

Preservation of Wood’sWood’s Natural Beauty

As you’d expect, the aesthetic appeal of wood is in its natural beauty, therefore, staining your wooden structures with the best semi transparent deck stains help maintain that natural look of your lumber by exposing the wood grains.

Other than allowing the beauty to shine through, the semi transparent deck stain offers protection against the destructive elements of the environment, such as rain and UV rays from the sun. Water repellency of the stains prevents rotting will the UV blockers prevent discoloration of your wooden structure hence prolonged service life.

Should You Sand Pressure Treated Wood Before Staining?

Yes, all wood types, except for the manufactured products such as composite decking, needs sanding for the stain to properly adhere to the surface and serve you for an extended duration.

How do You Know if Pressure Treated Wood is Dry Enough to Stain?

There is one simple method you can use to tell whether your pressure-treated wood is dry and ready for staining- the “sprinkle” test. In this test, sprinkle water over the surface of your wood, if the wood absorbs that water in less than 10 minutes, it means that it is ready for staining. If you notice water beading or pools on the surface of your wood, it means that the wood has not dried and needs more time to dry completely.

What Kind of Stain do You Use on Pressure Treated Wood?

If you are looking to stain your pressure treated wood, I’d recommend that you use an oil-based, semi-transparent exterior wood stain. 

See some of the best stains for pressure treated wood here:

Which One is Better, Staining or Painting Pressure Treated Wood?

The stain is generally less slippery compared to paint. So if you are going to stain your deck and looking to stay safe from slippage, then you should opt to stain your deck instead of painting.

Additionally, the exterior wood paint is not likely to adhere to the surface of pressure treated wood because of the chemicals used for treatment. Therefore, you will start seeing the paint peeling from the surface. It leaves staining as the best option of the two.

How to Dispose of Pressure Treated Wood

There are several ways in which you can dispose of pressure treated wood they include:

  • Giving them out free of charge, once you have completed your projects and you are left with treated wood that you have no use for, you can always give them for free. Have a sign in your front yard with a “FREE” label; you will be surprised to see people coming for them.
  • Look for Landfills and Dump them: Landfills presents one great way of disposing of your treated wood. If you can not locate one with ease, contact your local environmental agency and have them help you find a landfill.

Find more on how to dispose of your pressure treated wood here:

Note: You must burn pressure treated wood at all costs. Woods that are older than 2003 contain a harmful compound called CCA, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned for its ability to cause cancer.


Pressure treated wood is a reliable building material as it can withstand actions by destructive insects like termites that cause rotting. However, treated wood is not waterproof, which is why you should stain it for enhanced protection. So,

What Happens if You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Too Soon?

The stain will not adhere properly to the surface of a wet pressure treated wood. In the end, your wooden structure might not get the utmost protection from then stain. Additionally, you will be forced to restrain your surface faster than if you stain the surface when the wood is completely dry.

Did you find this article helpful? Kindly share your thoughts on the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Too Soon?”

  1. Very Informative.
    Staining pressure treated wood is beneficial. However, it should be done at the right time.

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