You can stain or paint Wolmanized® wood. You can also coat 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. Many light-colored latex paints can be used successfully, following brush-application of an oil-based primer. Primer should not be applied by sprayer, nor should coatings be used if their manufacturer advises against a primer. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and take special care in sealing end grain, holes, and other penetrations with the primer.
How long must you wait before the wood is dry internally? The time it takes for wood to dry out depends on the climate and the wood’s exposure. In summer in the American southwest, deck lumber open to sunshine can dry in a few days. In cool, damp weather or when shaded by an overhanging roof or tree, it will take much longer for wood to dry. Perform the following test to determine if your project is ready to paint or stain: Place a few drops of water on the area to be coated. If it beads up, it is too wet to coat, and you'll need to wait. If it absorbs the water readily, it is ready to coat.
For more information, choose the following scenario that best suits your situation. Are you using: Typical treated wood? Treated wood with built-in-water repellent? Treated wood that is re-dried after treatment?
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 somewhat damp.
PAINT – 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. 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).
STAIN – Some stains are heavily pigmented and form a film, just as paint does. The recommendations for their application are the same as those for paint, including our advice against using them for the floor of a deck. Most stains, however, are more transparent and do not block moisture movement. There are other differences, though. Stains may be oil-based or water-based. Some formulations can be used immediately; other perform best when the wood is allowed to dry for a while. Best advice: follow the stain manufacturer’s instructions.
WATER REPLLENT – 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 the manufacturer’s instructions.
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