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When to Seal or Stain Pressure-Treated Wood

By: Danny Lipford
water on wood deck

When water soaks into the wood instead of beading up, it’s time to seal or stain it.

It’s important to finish typical pressure-treated wood as soon as possible after completion of a deck in order to protect it.

Splash some water on the deck boards. If it beads up, the wood isn’t quite ready to be sealed. Wait several days and test it again. When the water absorbs into the wood, it’s ready to seal or stain.

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People who are building pressure treated wood decks for their outdoor living space often want to know how long they have to wait before they seal or stain them. It’s important to finish typical pressure treated wood as soon as possible after completion of a deck in order to protect it.

In the past, people waited up to 6 months before finishing projects but that’s no longer necessary with newer treatments like micronized copper. The new rule of thumb is 30 days, but your project could be ready in less time depending on factors like weather conditions and how long the material was in the lumber yard before you purchased it.

The best course of action is to test the surface yourself. Splash some water on the deck boards. If it beads up, the wood isn’t quite ready to be sealed. Wait several days and test it again. When the water absorbs into the wood, it’s ready to seal or stain.



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2 Comments on “When to Seal or Stain Pressure-Treated Wood”

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  • Peggy Says:
    September 1st, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I have oak hard wood floors. In the seem between my eating area and desk area are boards that do not fill the space allotted properly. I have applied wood filler before but that has crack and fallen away. Is there a simple cost effective way to repair this area. My husband is out of work and we are trying to get the house ready to put on the market.
    Thank you.



  • Ginny Says:
    July 10th, 2016 at 11:04 am

    What is the longest lasting sealants for a wood deck?


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