Coating Treated Wood

The questions we are asked most frequently do not involve the processing or longevity of treated wood, but the proper procedures for coating it. Can I paint or stain treated wood? If so, how long must I wait before applying a coating? What about water repellent? These are good questions and, because of the number of different products available – in treated wood and coatings – they do not have simple answers.

First of all, YES, you can stain or paint Womanized natural Select wood. Also, you can coat Natural Select 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.

Typical Treated Wood

When wood is pressure-treated, it is saturated with a liquid solution of preservative diluted in water. In a typical situation, the wood you buy is still internally damp.


Do not apply paint until the wood is dry, both on the surface and internally. Otherwise, as the wood dries out, escaping moisture will cause blisters and poor adhesion in the paint. We recommend a six month waiting period before applying paint (see more below). Once the wood is dry, the procedure for painting treated wood is no different from that for painting untreated wood. (We recommend against using paint on deck flooring because frequently used pathways, such as from the steps to the door, will become worn.) Best advice: Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions.


Some stains are heavily pigmented and form a film, just as paint does. The recommendations for the application are the same as those for paint, including our advice against using them on the floor of a deck.

Water Repellent

Most water repellent brands say that it is okay to apply a water repellent without delay, which is ideal timing. For other brands, a slight delay is recommended. Again, it is best to follow manufacturer’s instructions.