I am needing to rebuild some stairs (3 steps), and the previous owner has a great colour scheme going on the house, and I want to maintain that. Now, my wife and I like to do builds/projects that are quality so we have been looking at ways to build these steps that will help them have a little more longetivity. The conclusion we have come to is that we would like to use a pressure treated wood (e.g. here) and then paint it. However, the internet is full of contradictions...even on our site. I have seen things saying we should wait upwards of a year to paint, while other sources say to just paint and prime, and some are even more intensive asking you to clean, sand, dry, paint, prime and sell your first born.

We live in Alberta, Canada - it is quite dry here in the summer and we have long winters. I am hoping to get this all done this year so I can take advantage of next summer, for next year's projects. Can we finally but this issue to bed? What works, what doesn't...

In short - how can I paint the steps to ensure they will last?

1 Answer 1


The preservation process uses lots of water, that water and the preservative will leach back out over time. If the wood is painted, this leaching process will push the paint off the surface of the wood, let alone not allow it to grip the surface the way it needs to, to begin with since it is so wet and the preservative is on the surface as well. Weathering will remove the surface contaminates, and allow the wood to dry to the degree it needs to keep paint.

6 months was the rule I read about. A year works too.

  • Six months from now we will probably have 6" of snow lol...hence why I want to avoid waiting if possible.
    – J Crosby
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 14:43
  • Moisture is the issue. Get (or borrow) a moisture meter and randomly check various locations. Paint manufacturers often recommend an 18% moisture content or less. Takes about 15 minutes to check.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 16:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.