How to Care for Treated Lumber

Lead Image for How to Care for Treated Lumber
  • 4-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 80-150
What You'll Need
Warm water
Mild dish detergent
Paint roller
Exterior wood stain

If it wasn't for the cost, everyone would use treated lumber. Many homeowners, craftsmen and deck builders want to use treated lumber in their products because it offers a lot of protection that is unmatched by other kinds of wood. Every kind of wood needs to be cared for to stay new and looking great. Follow the steps below to properly care for treated lumber.

Step 1 - Initial Cleaning

The beauty of treated lumber is that it is protected against the elements and insects, which make is very durable and sought after by many. Cleaning treated lumber is easy due to this protection, which is provided by chemicals that are rubbed into or injected into the wood. Spills do happen but have no fear as long as you treat them right away.

You can clean the treated by lumber by mixing some soap with hot water until suds form. Dip a sponge into the water, and squeeze to remove the excess water. You can then wipe down the treated lumber with a sponge. After the initial wipe down, you can use a rag dipped in clean water to remove any residue that may be left behind.

Step 2 - Staining Treated Lumber

One way to care for and protect treated lumber is by staining it. This also makes the wood look great when you're finished. The first step you will need to take is to dry out the treated lumber as there is too much moisture present in the wood to stain is properly. All you need is a very dry area where you can store the wood. Another option is to place the wood outside in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. You can also use a hairdryer on its highest setting, close to the wood and going from end to end to hasten the drying process.

After about 3 days, you can roll or rag on the exterior wood stain in several layers. To further prepare the treated lumber to accept stain, you will need to gently and lightly sand the surface. Use a tack cloth to remove any dust that forms or remains on the surface.

Step 3 - Adding Polyurethane

Polyurethane creates a barrier between the wood and the elements. This substance dries hard to create a coating that is a lot like plastic. It not only protects the lumber but is easy to clean and is scratch-resistant. It's a great idea to apply at least 2 coats of polyurethane to the wood. The treated lumber needs to be dried out slightly if you are applying polyurethane without staining it first, otherwise, you can just go ahead and sand the treated lumber. Even if you stained the lumber, you will still want to sand it slightly. This creates a texture for the polyurethane to adhere to. Simply roll or paint on the polyurethane, and add a second and third coat.