Deck Staining Myths Debunked

Weather wreaks havoc on unprotected wood, even pressure-treated pine, tropical hardwoods, cedar, redwood, and others that are resistant to rot and insect damage. Micronized copper treated products may be used in direct contact with aluminum building products when limited to code-compliant construction applications that provide proper water drainage and do not allow the wood to be exposed to standing water or water immersion. And, let’s face it, they are beautiful to look at. Many homeowners like the rich, furniture-like look and feel of hardwood decking, and want it to always look as it does the day it is installed (Figure 3).

In February 2003, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released the results of its studies examining decks and play sets made from pressure treated wood. Look carefully at the surface of the boards; they should be free of any crystalline chemical residue. Here is the photo I was trying to embed in my message on 9/6 to @Andrew S. Of course I forgot to confirm that exact type of SW paint was used. I was lucky and had a few pieces of 2 x 6 pressure treated pine that had been drying out for about 2 years.

Painting, or using a solid-color stain with no sealer, will only help trap that moisture in the wood. Two of the above posts are copied here: Some have also asked, after they’ve found pressure treated lumber installed inside their homes, if there is any danger in having it indoors. It’s important to know that the woods that are CCA-treated (for example, southern pine) don’t have very good paint-holding characteristics, even before they are treated.


In Williams’ study, wood that had been painted before being exposed to UV maintained its integrity for well over 20 years. Each preservative usually has a number of variations available so care should be exercised when specifying treated wood. A clear preservative can be applied immediately, but only if it is manufactured specifically for fresh” pressure treated wood.

You can spray the deck cleaner onto the wood using a garden sprayer or other spraying device. In some areas you can buy treated wood that is Kiln Dried After Treatment (KDAT) or Air Dried After Treatment (ADAT). Wolmanized” wood, which is treated with CCA (except for the Natural Select brand), looks like regular lumber. The ground near play structures built with CCA-treated wood can contain higher levels of arsenic than the surrounding soil as some arsenic leaches out of the wood over time.

Chris – The main safety issue we need to avoid with any wood product, treated or not, is getting wood slivers and shards anywhere near people’s mouths with the potential for ingestion, causing punctures and/or infection internally. Pressure-treated wood is resistant to termites and unappetizing to ants, so its use can help convince the little critters to go next door for dinner. It is sold under several names, including Nature Wood (by Osmose, Preserve and Preserve Plus (by Chemical Specialties Inc.), and Wolmanized Natural Select (by Arch Treatment).

Floor sanders can only sand surfaces that are perfectly flat, and deck boards are slightly curved. Regardless of whether you are going to paint or stain, we highly recommend that you first coat all pressure treated wood with a paintable water repellent, such as WoodLife Classic Allow this to dry according to package directions. DIY tip: A sanding pole is a great way to prepare your deck for finishing without doing a lot of bending. Always follow the manufacturers recommendations on paint and stain applications.

Tyler – The main safety issue for a countertop we need to avoid with any wood product, treated or not, is getting wood slivers and shards anywhere near people’s mouths with the potential for ingestion, causing punctures and/or infection internally. Ultraviolet rays from the sun, moisture, heat and foot traffic will degrade surfaces of deck boards. Most paint manufacturers recommend two coats of a good-quality acrylic latex paint for best results on treated Southern Pine. To recognize it, look for a tag or stamp that says KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment) or ADAT (air-dried after treatment).