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Painting, staining, and sealing PRESSURE TREATED WOOD

Many people wonder why pressure treated wood changes appearance over time.  Due to the weather cycles, pressure treated wood is susceptible to splits, cracks, checks and other appearance issues.  To minimize these concerns, it's important to stain or seal your project as soon as possible after completion. In the past, people waited six months or so before sealing your pressure treated wood.

Deck Maintenance: Staining & Sealing

That's no longer the case with newer treatments.  Now your project could be ready to seal within 30 days of completion.  We recommend the following water drop test:

A simple test to be sure your project is as follows:

Drop water on the deck surface.

If water droplets form on contact, the lumber is not yet dry enough.

If water droplets are absorbed, it is time to seal, stain or paint your wood.

You can stain or paint pressure treated wood. You can also seal this wood with a water repellent.  In fact, we highly recommend it. The best way to tackle these jobs depends on the wood you have, its exposure, and the coating you plan to use.

Here are some guidelines for painting, staining and sealing:


    • Perform the “water drop” to check for dryness (see above).
    • Start with an alkyd oil-based primer.
    • Finish with two coats of high-quality acrylic latex top coat paint.
    • Be sure to prime any cut ends.
    • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application.

Culpeper Recommends:

Super Deck Sealer


    • Perform the “water drop” to check for dryness (see above).
    • Culpeper recommends an oil-based stain.
    • Look for a stain that has the longest manufacturer's warranty, has a water repellent and a UV stabilizer
    • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application

Culpeper Recommends:

Ready Seal


    • For a natural pine appearance, apply a transparent or semi-transparent water repellent.
    • Pick a sealant with UV stabilizers to help ease the impact of the sun.
    • Follow manufacturer's recommendations for application.

Culpeper Recommends:

Seal Once Marine Sealer

Additional Culpeper Products