From Stain to Paint to Sealer, Learn the Right Way to Enhance and Preserve a Beautiful, Long-lasting Outdoor Living Space.

What are the benefits of knowing how to finish pressure-treated decks the right way? Well, patio season is finally here, and we all crave those long, lazy days spent lounging and entertaining on our decks. But let’s be real – the last thing we want is to spend our precious summer moments maintaining our deck. That’s where the magic of pressure-treated wood comes in. With its exceptional durability and low-maintenance qualities, pressure-treated wood, particularly Southern Yellow Pine (SYP), is the ultimate deck material choice. 

It’s renowned for its incredible durability, density, and stability. It even surpasses expectations by withstanding heavy foot traffic, harsh weather conditions, and resisting insect damage. That’s why most contractors agree SYP is a smart choice when it comes to building a deck that will stand the test of time. 

But while SYP boasts exceptional durability, some maintenance is required to protect it from the elements. By following a few simple best practices, you can extend your deck’s service life while customizing its appearance to create a captivating outdoor living space.

Recommended Methods for Staining New Pressure-Treated Decking 

Testing Wood Dryness 

Pressure-treated wood is infused with preservatives, resulting in a high moisture content. It may take several weeks for pressure-treated lumber to dry adequately. Staining the wood while it is still wet is ineffective and can lead to unsatisfactory results.

Different Types of Wood

When purchasing “wet-treated wood,” be aware that it contains significant moisture and requires a longer drying time compared to other types of pressure-treated wood. Kiln-dried wood, marked with ADAT (air-dried after treatment) or KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment), is dry at purchase and can be stained immediately. Additionally, pressure-treated wood with a water-repellant feature may not absorb water-based stains as effectively as oil-based exterior stains.

Choosing the Right Stain to Achieve Your Desired Look

Selecting the perfect stain for your deck is an essential step to creating your own unique outdoor living space. Transparent stains offer minimal pigmentation, while semi-transparent stains provide more color and tone. For newer wood structures, consider a lighter colored stain that allows flexibility for applying a darker shade in the future. 

When it comes to the most protective type of stain, oil-based products tend to penetrate deeper into the wood compared to water-based stains. This greater depth of absorption helps to protect the wood from within. But you may not need that much protection, depending on climate and foot traffic. So choosing between the two really comes down to personal preference and needs. 

Regional Climate 

To ensure a more comfortable deck experience, it is worth considering the sunlight exposure. Instead of opting for a dark stain that absorbs heat, choose a light colored stain that reflects heat for decks receiving a lot of sunlight. This choice helps to maintain a cooler surface temperature, adding to the overall enjoyment of your outdoor space.

How to Prep Your Pressure-Treated Deck Before Staining It 

Surface Preparation

Prior to applying a new stain, ensure that the surface of the pressure-treated wood is clean and free from dirt or mildew, unless it’s completely new. This prevents the stain from trapping any imperfections. 

Drying Time Requirement

Allow the wet cleaner to soak for approximately 10 minutes or follow the manufacturer’s instructions, then rinse thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer. Allow the wood to dry for 24 hours before proceeding with the stain application.

Pro Tips for Applying Stain to Your Pressure Treated Deck 

Test Patch

Before applying the stain, make sure to stir it thoroughly to achieve a consistent color. Pour the stain into a paint tray for easy application. To ensure you’re satisfied with the color and appearance, apply a small patch of stain on the wood and allow it to dry. This allows you to confirm if it meets your expectations before proceeding with the entire deck

Surface Protection 

To ensure proper absorption of the stain, avoid applying it in direct sunlight, as it dries quickly. Prior to applying the stain, protect nearby areas such as plants or house siding by using tarps or painter’s tape. Once the cleaner has dried, perform a final dry brushing of the wood to remove any debris or dust that may have settled.

Optimal Approaches to Painting Your Pressure Treated Deck

Prepping for Paint

Proper preparation and techniques are essential to ensure excellent adhesion and minimize the chances of peeling. Always make sure the wood is thoroughly dry before applying paint products, and follow the same preparation steps as you would for staining.

Primer and Adhesion

To enhance paint adhesion on pressure treated wood, apply a coat of exterior primer specifically designed for pressure treated surfaces using a bristle brush. For optimal results, use a brush to apply at least two coats of latex paint, allowing sufficient drying time between coats. This approach helps promote better adhesion and long-lasting results.

What You Need to Know When Applying Sealer to Your Pressure-Treated Deck 

Seal the Deal 

Many exterior wood stains incorporate a sealant element to safeguard the wood against moisture damage. If you desire to highlight the natural wood grain and color while ensuring a higher level of protection, opting for a clear sealant can preserve the surface. However, it’s important to note that sealants are not recommended for use on top of stained wood, as they may not adhere properly.

Product Selection 

It’s always advisable to select a product specifically designed to offer UV repellent properties. Apply the sealant using the same application method as you would for staining.

The Benefits of Pressure-Treated Southern Yellow Pine Decking

Easy Workability

In addition to its durability, SYP is easy to work with, simplifying the installation process. Its compatibility with fasteners and versatility make it ideal for all your outdoor living projects. 

Long Lasting & Zero Waste 

The pressure treatment process enhances SYP’s resistance to decay, insects, and other forms of damage. This preservation method reduces the need for replacement. Additionally, all parts of a tree get used during harvest, from bark used for landscaping to chips making paper.

Environmentally Friendly

Using wood, such as SYP, actually benefits climate stabilization. That’s because it sequesters carbon – as opposed to emitting them like man-made materials do. Therefore, SYP is a green choice you can feel good about because it leaves a smaller footprint.