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Best Stain for New Pressure Treated Pine

Pressure Treated Pine

Pressure Treated Pine

Whether you have had an old deck replaced or simply had a new deck added on, there are certainly a lot of benefits. Wood decks increase a home’s curb appeal and value. They add extra outdoor living space and are the witness of many to come family gatherings and get-togethers. A new deck’s strength and sheer durability makes you feel like it will last forever. But as some homeowners soon find out, that newness can wear off and that once beautiful deck becomes a neglected eyesore.

But there is hope and to keep your new deck looking new and lasting for many years to come, you merely have to take care of it. Weather and elements like moisture and fading UV rays are a new deck’s biggest enemy. So the goal in keeping a deck looking good is to provide it with some protection.
Some deck owners are under the false impression that “pressure treated” means the wood has already been treated from weather. The truth is that the chemical treatment added to pine is to deter bugs and insects from eating the wood. There is no water repellency or sun blocking treatment in the wood whatsoever. So let’s be clear, new pressure treated decks still need to be treated with a water repellant wood stain.

Staining a new deck is much different than staining an old deck. Older wood is drier and very porous. It will absorb most any type of wood stain and be adequately protected. New pressure treated pine on the other hand has higher moisture content and therefore is much denser making deck stain penetration more difficult.

You want to allow a newer deck to age because initially the moisture content is entirely too high. Trapping moisture in the wood by staining it too soon is not good. Once the deck has dried for 3-6 months, and has moisture content of 12% or less, it is ready for stain.

Even new decks need to be cleaned. During the aging process some dirt and contaminants will embed into the wood. There may also be some mill glaze present that could keep a new deck stain from penetrating. Wash the new pine wood deck with a good deck cleaner and allow it to dry.

When looking for the best stain for new pressure treated decks choose a formula that is specifically designed to penetrate the dense surface such as the exotic hardwood stains. The new pressure treated deck stain needs to penetrate well to be effective. A stain that lacks in performance will remain on the surface and will be prone to peeling.

New wood can stay looking new with a little care and regular maintenance. Clean the wood as needed and apply a quality pressure treated deck stain that can penetrate new dense wood. This will guarantee increased effectiveness and outstanding protection for your new deck.

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118 responses to “Best Stain for New Pressure Treated Pine”

  1. matt g says:

    Is ptp that was installed 11 months ago still considered new? If so which stain do you recommend?

  2. Brenda Lee says:

    I just had a deck built. We used pressure treated spruce. The colour is light and I was wondering what needs to be done to seal and also to get a darker finish than I have now I luve in Nova Scotia, Canada. Thank you.

  3. DeLaine Youpatoff says:

    I live in KY. In April, I had a new deck built with pressure treated wood. I want to cover it with one of the products meant to prevent ultra-violent light damage. Since this deck was built in April, when should this product be applied? I did apply Thompson's water seal a month ago. Please let me know when to apply the uv protective product and if you have other recommendations. Thank you.

  4. Lynn says:

    For south facing decks n best Durability, living in Canada. What type of stain should I use? I was told semi solid or solid is that true?

  5. Paul says:

    I have a new deck built in December of 2012. When will it be ready to stain with semi-transparent stain and what stain,and what preperation would you recommend?

  6. Mandy says:

    We just build a screened in enclosed porch. We took 2×4's and cut them in half and made frames. We haven't put the screens in yet so it will be easier to stain. On the cut sides and end cuts, we used Wolman Copper coat as the wood is pressure treated pine. We were going to put the wolman woodlife classic on the rest as were told can apply now to preserve the wood from cracking etc when dries – it is water based. And then were told we could put an oil based stain on in 30-60 days over the top of that. My question is, is that true? I don't want to be having to take that off before applying stain. We live in an area with lots of trees and have had termite issues so I wanted to get something on it now to preserve the wood while it is drying and then apply an oil based stain in a couple months.

    • Mandy, no you cannot keep adding coatings especially putting the oil on top of the water based stain.

      • Mandy says:

        Hi thank you for responding. I am a bit conflicted on what is right still so maybe with some extra info you could help. I live in Omaha NE in an area with lots of very old big trees. The enclosed porch will be mostly in shade with a little getting partial sunlight. The previous deck was completely chewed – gone because of termite issues. So we built the new one properly on top of concrete versus the wood having ground contact. With that said, I was told and read many articles that for pressure treated wood (mine is pine made by yellawood) it will start to crack and warp during the drying process. I was also told that a "preservative" should be applied immediately. I spoke to Rustoleum who makes the Wolman products and he said this is just a preservative – no repellent or sealant or stain – to help protect the wood during its drying process. It is called Wolman woodlife classic wood preservative. Cuprinol also makes a wood preservative. But both places said they will just soak into the wood and can then stain 30-60 days afterwards with an old based stain. So what are your thoughts on the preservative and also what do you recommend as a stain for me given my location and surroundings with alot of mold fungus issues also as it is very moist around there with all the shade. Thanks again and I love your site!! Mandy

        • Mandy, personally we think preservatives that are applied right after construction have no real benefit. If it was us we would just let it dry out correctly and weather some, prep as needed in a few months, than apply a oil based stain like TWP or Armstrong Clark

          • Mandy says:

            okay thanks for the input. I just went out there and looked today and the 4×4 posts are starting to crack down the middle. So I don't know what to do as I can only assume that is going to get worse if I wait??? My heart feels that your opinion is the same as mine and to just wait til dry but I am afraid this is going to look terrible by the time its ready to stain as there will be so many cracks etc.

  7. Deck Stain says:

    I was wondering what would be a good stain for my deck. It is pressure treated pine. 1 year old. Faces South. It gets a lot of sap from a pine tree overhead. I live inCalgary, Alberta, so the weather is very hard. It changes quickly and we go from +30 to -40 Celsius throughout the year, with wind, snow rain, hail etc.
    It also gets a lot of sun. Should I use an oil based stain?
    Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

  8. Deck Stain says:

    I have access to benjamin Moore, Home Depot lines and Minwax, CIL, Sico, Saman, Cabot and Varathane stains. Which of these would you recommend?

  9. Andrea Hedrick says:

    My husband is just finishing our new deck – used kiln dried pressure treated wood. Was told we could stain it now since wood was kiln dried. Is that correct? what would be best to use to stain it?

  10. Bill says:

    I built a deck with pressure treated pine in Early August in the Adirondacks in northern NY. Can I stain now before the winter which is usually very severe?

  11. Matt says:

    We have a playset made out of kiln-dried PT yellow pine installed in Atlanta in June. I was hoping to get it stained/sealed this week. Which product would be your choice for this application considering that kids will be playing on it? Thanks.

  12. carol says:

    I have a large new two-tiered deck (pressure treated pine) that was finished at the end of July. Can it go through a Minnesota winter before I stain it? It seems too soon to do it now. Thank You!

  13. pam says:

    I have new large deck (pressure treated) one week ago. when I can stain or seal it. can you help me that which brand of stain is good. and what type oil based semi transparent, ihave no knowledge about it but I love decks so plz help me to sort out.

  14. Steve says:

    I have a large deck which I built about 10 years ago. When it was new, I put Behr's transparent stain down and it seemed to work well. Back then the stains were oil based but now they're all water base, apparently because of the environmental issues here in south Florida. I'm getting ready to re-stain it (this is about the 4th time since the original stain) and I wondered if I have to completely strip the old oil based stain before I can apply the new water base stain. In other words, do I have to take it all the way down to the natural wood?

  15. Steve says:

    I had another question. I have a box of composite deck screws but I originally used stainless steel screws. I need to replace a few boards and wondered if I could use the composite screws or is it more advisable to stay with the stainless steel for the pressure treated wood deck. I know this isn't a stain or finish question but I haven't been able to get an answer anywhere else. Thank you for your advice.

    • Steve, it would be best to strip off all of the old stain when switching brands and even more so if changing from oil to water or water to oil. As long as the screws are \”rust proof\” I do not think it matters. BTW, oil based stains are still available in all states.

  16. Jean says:

    I am replacing my old deck with a new one using pressure treated pine. I live in South Florida near the water and the deck faces south. I've read your article for both water-based and oil-based stains and still don't know which one is best for my deck. Thank you.

  17. Gale says:

    We had a large deck built around our swims ming pool last spring. We used pressure treated wood and I want to put some kind of protection on it this year.. Would it be better to put a stain or sealant on it? What would be the best product to use around the pool?

  18. Michelle Kernea says:

    We recently purchased a house with a deck that needs to be restained and fixed. One of the boards need to be replaced but wasn't sure the rest of the deck won't get worse while we wait for the one board to weather. Any suggestions? We are also wondering about the best stain to go with as we are looking at a nontransparent stain. Have you heard anything about the Olympic restore or rescue products for decks? Thanks for any help you can give us?

  19. Joe says:

    Just installed ptp deck 5 months ago.can I stain with the Armstrong stain now or do I still have to wait up to12 months. Thank you.

  20. Willi from Nashville says:

    I live in Nashville, TN. Our deck was built around 1999 and is (I believe) pressure treated pine located in partial shade. It does not have any mildew or mold issues. My issue is that it turns dark and looks dirty after a few years. What is the best semi-transparent sealer you could recommend?

  21. Abby says:

    URGENT: I live in Columbus, Ohio and have a pressure treated pine wood deck. After 1 year, I cleaned it with Olympic Deck Cleaner and used Flood CWF-UV Natural Tone Clear Penetrating Wood Finish for Fenced, Decks and Sidings. After 1 year, most of it had worn off and had grey blotches on the wood even though it stated it would last 4 years on decks. I have washed, stripped, and sanded he wood back its natural finish. It was very hard and time consuming and I need to know what would be best to use that would last at least 5 years and leave the wood looking beautiful where you can still see the wood grains. Also what is best to clean the deck with after sanding? I need to get this done before the weather turns too cold. Thank you kindly for your help.

  22. Jason says:

    I recently had a deck built and the contractor immediately applied Thompson's water sealer. He stained it the incorrect color and after doing some research on how to strip and prep for a new stain I discovered your article about staining a new deck. What do you recommend I do at this point? I was planning to use Restore-a-deck stripper followed by their brighter, then wait a few months before staining. Is that the best course of action given my situation?

    • You will have trouble getting this off. Very hard to remove a newly applied stain and even harder when it is an acrylic stain like the Thompsons. Strip what you can but you may need to strip a few times and sand as well. Wait a few months then clean and brighten for prep before staining.

      • Jack says:

        Thompsons will come off super easy with a pressure washer. I made the mistake of using it the first time I stained my deck. Stained the second time with behr which has lasted several years. Just used the restore-a-deck today and it did an amazing job. Used the pressure washer after letting it set.

        I would never go near a thompson stain again.

    • kevin holland says:

      I've found that the whole deck stain industry is a scam . Any expert will tell you that no deck stain product lasts . That's why composite deck boards are so ridiculously expensive . If they weren't , those crooks would never sell another can of snake oil .

  23. Chuck Preston says:

    I just finished cleaning my two year old PT deck with Olympic Deck Cleaner and a pressure washer. This deck had nothing applied before. I am wanting to seal it but not interested in a stain other than a natural color. I would prefer a clear coat of some sort. any thoughts?

    • Clear means little or no UV protection from graying. Must have a color or tint in the stain for this. The more color/tint you have, the better the UV protection. You can use a clear like the TWP 1500 Clear but it will gray in a matter of months.

  24. Darryl says:

    I had a PT deck installed last November (11/2014) using C-Select decking and #1 pine. The wood has been treated with Stabilyzr water repellent and does not pass the water absorption test. I would like to stain the deck but am not sure how to proceed. Should I wait longer for this treatment to wear off or try to remove it?

  25. Mark says:

    Hi. We just moved into a house Fall of 2014. Last owners built a large deck with pressure treated wood in July 2013. Sounds like they never sealed it and just pressure washed it in Spring 2014. This Spring it has become coated in sap from some overhanging trees. Half the deck is black now. (Not pitch from the deck itself; everything out there is covered in a uniform film of the stuff. )I just used a standard soap and pressure washed it and still large areas are nearly black. Hardly made a dent and i was not gentle with the pressure. I can't believe they had the same issue last Spring because it still looked new when we moved last Fall. Do I try again with a stronger cleaner? Or sand it down? Definitely some branches going to get chopped. This is a massive expensive deck and it already looks horrible.
    Thanks, mark

    • Please post some pics in our forum area.

    • Norma Farmer says:

      I know that this might be too late for you. I had a huge redwood deck that did the same thing under the trees. I used a mix of bleach 2 cups in a five gallon sprayer mixed with water. Spray on. Saturate the worse parts. Let it sit until dry. Then pressure wash. I always sealed the deck with one part linseed oil and two parts mineral spirits. Note: Highly combustible when in liquid form. Stay safe. Mix in five gallon bucket and roll on with long handle paint roller. Looks great for about three years before you have to redo the whole thing. You can touch up the deck with the same process if parts get bad. Never had to sand or scrape used my pressure washer.

  26. Pat St. Mary says:

    We have had out deck done about three years ago…we live in WI and have many different elements to deal with year round.
    We assume we should wash it with a pressure washer and let completely dry say a day or so…correct?
    Then we should find a quality stain for treated wood that has aged real nicely…correct. We want it natural but realize we
    Need to do this for it to last a very long time.

  27. Canadian Girl says:

    We built a brand new deck in the summer of 2014 and are looking to stain this year. Looking for more of a natural finish. Our property is in Northern Ontario, CA (so it sees all elements of weather).

    Any suggestions on a few good products to try? ( We have Rona, Lowes, Home Hardware, Home Depot).

    • Look for a penetrating oil based stain that is semi-transparent.

      • Zipper says:

        I have read where a water-based opaque stain is the best for PT-SYP decks. The reasoning goes that that wood is more prone to water absorption and therefore the stain will "carry" into the wood better. Also, an opaque stain offers more protection from harmful UV. The semi-transparent oil finishes specifically formulated for tropical hardwoods are NOT recommended for PT-SYP decks, they say.

  28. newfoundlander says:

    Just building a new pine pressure treated deck around our pool. We live in Newfoundland (so lots of rain and fog) I have read that the deck needs to dry before staining for a few months but will all the rain we get stop it from drying correctly? We intend on using a transparent or semi transparent stain are any brands better for pools/rain/heavy snow than others?

  29. Adam says:

    is there a way to apply a strong water protector to newly purchased pretreated lumber? I have to put in 4×4 fence posts and I would like to put something on them to help protect them (especially the parts touching the ground) from the elements and moisture. However, because they are going into the ground I can't exactly wait 1 couple of months for the wood to dry out. What can I apply right away to posts that are going into the ground?

    • No there is not a solution for this.

    • Wu Nee says:

      4×4 posts are rated for ground contact due to heavier chemical use. Why stain them? That's unheard of. Also, cut the tops at an angle or nail a piece of galvanized flashing on the top. If you are in some areas, a 5×5 post can be found with CCA still, as these are not considered residential posts, they are for barns. And then there is creosote. And you can also buy Wolman coating. It's green! But you're trying to reinvent the wheel.

  30. AdamW says:

    We had a new pressure treated deck installed in earlyMay of this year and are getting ready to stain it in a few weeks. Since this is the first stain I wanted to have a professional do it but they only included a "power rinsing" of the deck in their quote. Is this "power rinse" enough or should I ensure that he uses a deck cleaner and brightener first? I plan on using armstrong clark oil based stain. Thank you

  31. judy says:

    I had a pressure treated fence, put up 2 months ago ,now I would like to stain it with a semi-transparent stain.Do i want to use oil or water based stain? I don't want something that will peel or that i have to restain every year or two! I've used cabot on a deck it peeled off after one winter,so will not be using that. What Brand Should I Use,!!!! HELP

  32. Marie says:

    I just had a new "covered" deck built. I am looking at Behr Premium Semi Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain Tint Base and Behr White Base Waterproofing Wood Stain. Do I want Weatherproofing or Waterproofing. I am totally confused.

  33. Jessica says:

    We put a new fence in in November 2014 and we are looking to stain it. We live in northern Indiana near Lake Michigan. We get hot summers and a lot of lake effect snow in the winters. Any suggestions of stain brand and type? From reading your comments, it sounds like an oil-based is the best type? I am willing to order online for more brand options. Thank you!

  34. Jim G says:

    I live in the St. Louis MO area. We just completed a large deck made of AC2 treated Pine (Menard's products) and would like to stain and seal before winter sets in. The deck was completed around the 3rd week of July, 2015.
    Our questions:
    How long should we wait before staining and sealing and what products are recommended?
    We have had an estimate (expensive) for a product called SealMaxxPlus. Should we consider this process or is it no better than any other process…they claim a 25 year guarantee. Has anyone had experience with this product on your decks?
    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Sealmaxx is a gimmick that will not prevent UV discoloration and help in anyway with why decks need to be restored every 2-3 years. If you use it, you will still need to apply a stain every 2-3 years to help with the aesthetic appearance. Wait 3-6 months, prep with cleaner and brightener, stain with TWP 100 Series.

  35. Skeeter says:

    I contacted Food directly as I had purchased their product Seasonite from a local paint store. I purchased four gallons of this 'New Wood Pre-treatment" for a new deck that was recently installed. The first gallon of Seasonite I used, was perfect. A semi-clear liquid that I brushed on. If the liquid accumulated by the drips it was white and when brushed became clear. The next 3-gallons I opened resembled dark, Hershey chocolate liquid with small bits of dark pieces floating in it. No amount of shaking the container nor stirring changed the color. Concerned about the color and what it would like on this golden, yellow, pressure-treated pine deck, I brushed some of the liquid on an area of the deck that would not be visible. Good thinking, as it turned out -it turned the those areas into a light murky gray color. According to an expert I spoke with at Flood, Seasonite hadn't been manufactured for several years and it has a shelf life of 3-years. I could not find another company that manufactured a 'New Wood Pre-treatment' product that penetrated the wood and was not a 'stain;' so my only recourse now is to use Flood's CWF-UV, which is a stain when applied, turns the wood to a light amber color. The area that was already protected with the Seasonite that was not old and chocolate colored, cannot have any stain applied to it for 6-months -1-year. After that time, I can then use CWF-UV over that Seasonite treated area which will suffice as a fairly colorless stain for the entire deck. This experience was a bit of a nightmare in trying to do what the carpenter suggested by using a pre-treatment on the wood. The expert at Flood said it was not necessary just use the CWF-UV.

  36. LM1 says:

    I have a treated pine deck that has been painted mission brown – can I remove it with soy gel and then stain to make it look more natural? LM

    • Hard to say if the soy gel will work or not as it depends on the stain brand and amount of coats. In general we find that stripping a solid stain fully is near impossible and that sanding will be required after to remove any stain that stripper does not remove.

  37. Juan says:

    Hi – I just built a deck in my yard with "premium" pressure treated pine from Home Depot. I actually thought treated pine didn't need to be stained until I read this article. Thanks for that. What cleaner do you recommend while I wait for it to dry (3-6 months according to the article)? Any other suggested maintenance for this period? I live in Houston, Texas, and we get quite some rain at times. How does rain affect/delay the drying period? Is there a way to know that the deck is ready to be stained besides time? Thanks guys!

    • Prep with the Restore A Deck Kits. Apply one coat of stain for the first year and another litchi coat the second year. Avery two years after that. Try the Armstrong Clark or TWP 100 Series. Rain does not affect initial waiting period for new wood. Just make sure wood is dry when you applying stain.

  38. Steve B. says:

    What is the best stain/sealer for U/V and water protection on vertical surfaces (i.e. new pressure treated pine fence)? Should vertical surfaces (made of pressure treated wood) be aged/weathered before sealing/staining as you recommend for decks? How long? Thanks!

    • Ye you should age and prep the wood if the fencing is smooth wood. Rough cut wood usually can be stained without the weathering as long as the wood is dry. Try Defy Extreme or TWP stains.

  39. Matt says:

    Hi – we had a deck installed using wolmanized pressure treated pine in October of 2015. The contractor applied a sealer to the deck to get us through the winter and now we would like to stain the deck. Do we need to strip the sealer before staining? If so, what is the best way to do that? Also, what is the best stain (brand) to use for this particular type of deck? Thanks!

  40. Fred S. says:

    Six years ago, I installed approximately 750 square feet of 5/4 by 6 inch pressure treated decking on an upper deck of my boat dock. In that six years it has been brush treated twice with Cabots's Australian Timber Oil after a light pressure washing and drying. This winter I noticed several areas of obvious rot (sufficient to step through) in several areas of the treated wood which I have now replaced. When I spoke with the supplier of this wood, his answer was "write your congressman – it's the mandated change in treatment which is causing the problem." The wood has a tag indicating "lifetime warranty." Apparently, this is meaningless. I have now sprayed the remaining, original deck with a half and half mixture of Outdoor Clorox and water and will again pressure wash and apply Timber Oil. Is there anything else I can do to prevent rot in this treated decking? obviously, something in the pressure treatment is not working. A similar house deck in the same location has been in place for twenty-plus years, been treated the same way and shows no sign of problems. Thanks for any advice. Fred S.

    • There is not an additive or anything that you can add that will stop rot/decay. Even with the new changes in treated pine, it is not normal for the wood to rot after 7 years unless it is constantly wet from below grade, etc.

      • Fred S. says:

        Thanks for the response. This upper deck is 8 feet above the water and well ventilated above and below. Is the Clorox 50/50 spray going to be of any help preventing more rot or does it just make me feel better? Is there any recourse against the treater/supplier/seller (any settlements that you know of) or am I just out-of-luck? Many thanks. Fred S

  41. Ram says:

    In our new home(moved Oct, 2015) we have a patio with pressure treated pine and in March 2016, we had to replace few boards as there were few knots coming out.

    Now when is the best time to stain ? Confused as 3 boards out of 13 are new and remaining are old.

  42. Barbara Gsither says:

    This information has been very helpful

  43. Bruce L says:

    Dear deck stain I have a 15 year old pressure treated deck. Never had a stain applied. Used Home Depot sealant intially, then Thompsons clear sealant and the last 2 applications (2 years length for each) we used Olympic sealant. I would like to "refresh" the look of the deck. I looked at penofin oil for pressure treated wood. Thoughts? Should I stick with the Olympic product or should I try the penofin? thanks Bruce L.

  44. Sarah says:

    I live in central Florida and just built a swingset from pressure treated pine. I've had friends say to go ahead and seal or stain it, but everything I see online says to let it dry out for months. My kids are dying to play but I haven't attached the swings bc of not having it stained yet. Do I wait or use Defy now?

  45. Keith says:

    Does pressure treated pine flooring that is on a porch that is roofed ever need to be sealed?

  46. Clint says:

    Last year my Uncle made us Adirondack Chairs out of pressure treated wood for my wife and I to use as our guest book at our wedding. I have let them age and dry, granted indoors, since last August. Before I bring them outside, I want to ensure that they are protected. I am wondering what you would recommend for the best clear coat top finish to help protect the chairs without covering the signatures on the chairs? I will be using a sprayer to complete the finish application Thanks!

    • A clear sealer will not provide UV protection so the wood will gray naturally in months. You must have a tint for UV protection. Look at Defy Extreme Stain in Natural Pine tint.

  47. Matt says:

    I have a covered pine deck that experiences minimal sun damage but high traffic and lots of dropped food stains from children. I'm having trouble finding a product that will make for easy clean up of grease stains but not be a slippery surface in general. Thanks!

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.