The warm weather is finally here and if you’ve just finished installing a brand new deck, it’ll need some kind of protection before you can invite friends and family over to enjoy it. Chances are you used pressure treated wood (PTW), the most common and inexpensive choice for decking. It can be painted but requires special primer (depends on the exact paint you want to use). This wood preservative has no effect on common metals and metal fitments can be used on treated wood. Kiln drying before treatment is sometimes done to ensure deep penetration of the chemicals into the fibers of the wood by removing the existing water to make space for the water-borne preservatives. Many people say you should wait at least six months before staining pressure treated wood. Ensure flaking or chalky paint is removed by stripping and sanding to a sound surface.
I scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed (the 3.78 L jug was more than enough for our deck). We recommend a good quality oil-based or water based stain or exterior wood water sealant product. Pick up a quart of A-100 exterior oil primer (confusing, I know, but A-100 comes in paint and primer). A water based stain will sit on top of the wood where an oil based stain will soak in.
If I was to paint it, I would use a 100% acrylic primer, only for the fact that it will allow it to breathe (dry) a sight better than oil would. Pressure-treated wood can also be painted or stained, but the wood must first be allowed to dry for one to two months to enable proper adhesion. I didn’t use a pressure washer because I was advised that it could soak the wood too much, so I just used a garden hose. Ecolife treated wood exhibits reduced cracking, warping and splitting in service, and uses no more chemicals than is absolutely necessary. If your deck or swing set is more than one or two years old, unless it was made of cedar, it was probably made with arsenic treated wood.
PAINT, STAIN, WATER REPELLENT — The moisture content of the wood is already in balance with atmospheric moisture levels, so coating can proceed immediately. EPA’s draft preliminary childhood risk assessment takes into consideration variations in exposure due, for example, to climate, weathering of the wood play structures, whether the child also spends time on a pressure treated wood deck, and months of the year that outdoor play occurs. Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemical preservatives deep into the wood, commonly giving it a slight green tint.
Naturally, the perversity of nature being what it is, it will not just evenly peel off, you will still have large amounts of work to get the wood ready to repaint. This often occurs because pressure treated wood is tightly bundled in stacks when it is shipped to the lumberyard. Put lumber flat on concrete slab a day or so if very fresh and still wet to wick out a little, prime with kilz (not the water based version), paint with decent oil based paint. You should be able to find stains specifically designed for treated wood decks at most home centers. I will certainly follow the advice given and read the label on the stain I choose to use.