Paint Myth or Fact? Busting Myths and Helpful Tips

By JAY-K Lumber Paint Expert Sam Rudolph

This is the first of our new “Myth or Fact?” series. Our topic is busting paint myths, specifically painting (or staining) treated wood. Let’s dispel the 2 biggest myths…

Myth or Fact: Treated lumber should weather a season before treating.

The old wisdom was to let the saturated, treated lumber dry out for a season before applying a stain or finish. Even though treated lumber has a higher moisture content, leaving it exposed to the weather (especially the sun) still damages the surface. This damage actually prevents the coating from bonding properly, and leads to premature failure. So treat your treated lumber as soon as it’s dry enough to accept a coating. You can test it by dropping some water on the surface. If it soaks in, it’s dry enough; if it beads, then wait a little longer. We recommend coating within a month of exposure to the elements!

Myth or Fact: Treated lumber can be painted.

Because treated lumber is made from faster-growing varieties of southern yellow pine, it has a wide grain pattern. This wide grain pattern, combined with the treating process, will often lead to very fine checking (small cracks in the wood surface). Even properly applied paint with the appropriate primer will crack with the wood, allowing moisture to get behind the paint film and causing peeling. We recommend applying a good quality stain system to minimize film build and reduce the potential for peeling.

Now you know. You’ll be an expert soon! As always, if you’re not sure about any part of your project, visit our Paint Department page, stop in or ask one of our paint experts a question now—we’ll be glad to help.