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How Long Does Pressure Treated Wood Take to Dry? (Answered)

Does your woodworking project include pressure-treated woods? Are you trying to paint or stain the pressure-treated woods? However, are you wondering how long one has to wait for the pressure-treated wood to dry?

How long does pressure-treated wood take to dry?

The longevity of the drying process of the pressure-treated woods depends a lot on the species of the wood, on the temperature, and the humidity. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, it can take 72 hours to one week for the pressure-treated woods to completely dry. 

It is very important to know how long you have to let the pressure-treated woods dry before usage so that you can adapt your decisions accordingly and can surpass any confusion. 

Pressure-treated wood before installing or building:

The longevity of the drying process of pressure-treated lumber before installing or building depends a lot on the manufacturer’s woods.

Accordingly, when the manufacturers cure the pressure-treated lumber through the air-dried process or kiln-dried process then you do not have to wait for the woods to dry.

And if it is not the case, then you have to wait from 72 hours to one week before installing or building.

Pressure-treated wood before staining:

It can take almost two or three days for pressure-treated woods to dry before they are eligible for staining.

In addition, if you do not wait for this extended period of time, you will have problems with the staining process as the stain will easily wear off or it will not adhere to the woods perfectly.

Pressure-treated wood before painting:

If you want to paint a surface, you need to make sure that the surface is moisture-free. 

Therefore, you need to wait at least one week for the pressure-treated lumber to fully dry so that you can put layers of paint unless you will end up with paint peeling or warped wood problems.

What happens if you paint and stain pressure-treated wood before it dries?

You should never paint or stain pressure-treated woods when it is wet and if you happen to do this, you will end up with a terrible paint job.

In addition, if you stain or paint the pressure-treated wood before it dries, you will also face problems like peeling paint, patchy paint job, warping problems, and you will also face difficulties in adhering the paint onto the woods as there is moisture in the wood. 

How long after you buy pressure-treated wood can you paint it?

As a general rule of thumb, you can wait for six months to paint the pressure-treated woods after buying but the timing can definitely vary a lot. And if upon testing the woods, woods seem fine then you can put paint over it accordingly. 

For that, you can use a digital moisture meter that has bonds on the sides of it and these bonds go into the pressure-treated wood to determine the dryness of the wood.

How do you know when pressure-treated wood is dry enough to paint or stain?

It is very crucial that you let the pressure-treated wood dry well enough before putting any kinds of paint or stain. Therefore, being knowledgeable about the ways can help you to mold your decisions accordingly. 

Gather the Materials: 

As it is very important for the pressure-treated wood to dry, therefore one of the best ways to know whether pressure-treated woods are dry for a coat of paint or stain is by doing sprinkle testing.

For that, you will only need water and the pressure-treated woods. 

Sprinkle the Water:

For the sprinkle testing, all you need to do is to sprinkle some water on the pressure-treated woods and you also need to let the water sit for a couple of minutes.

Notice the Difference: 

If you see the water is being absorbed very easily then it is a firm indication that the pressure-treated woods are ready to be painted.

However, if the sprinkles of water just sit on the pressure-treated woods without being absorbed, then it is an indication that the moisture level of the pressure-treated woods is in a higher amount and it is not ready to be painted.

How long does it take for pressure-treated wood to dry after rain?

Wood, in general, takes a lot of time to dry and when it comes to pressure-treated woods, it can observe water in its molecules which allows pressure-treated wood to retain moisture for a long period of time. 

Accordingly, it will take two or three days to fully dry the pressure-treated wood after it has been exposed to the rain.

However, the process of removing moisture from the pressure-treated wood can also be done with the help of many exterior elements and one such thing is a dehumidifier which will take out all the moisture to make the wood workable again.

How to speed up drying of pressure-treated wood?

Pressure-treated woods really are the best solutions for your woodworking projects, therefore, being knowledgeable about the proper ways of drying your pressure-treated wood can help you to speed up the drying process. 


If you want to speed up the drying process of pressure-treated woods, you need to follow a process that is called air-drying process.

In addition, for this process to work perfectly, you need to distribute even airflow to the stack of pressure-treated woods.

For that, you need to stack the pressure-treated boards on top of each other or you can stack them in a crisscross pattern by installing some padding between the two pressure-treated blocks of wood.


Kiln-drying is another process of speeding up the whole procedure of drying the pressure-treated woods. Although it may be a bit expensive procedure, it still can do the job very effectively and efficiently.

In addition, in the kiln-drying process, all you need to do is to put the pressure-treated woods in a closed or concealed environment where you can change certain variables such as humidity and temperature.

Accordingly, the kiln-drying process will help a lot to tone down the moisture level of the pressure-treated wood so that it can boost up the drying process.

Contact the Manufacturer:

You can simply kiln-dry your pressure-treated woods but if you really want the best results, then you have to use a kiln oven to speed up the drying process of the pressure-treated woods.

Therefore, you need to contact the manufacturer of the pressure-treated woods who with their heavy and advanced technology will be able to efficiently boost up the drying process. 

Does pressure-treated wood shrink in length?

There are hardly any types of wood that will not shrink under any circumstances be it untreated wood or treated wood. However, untreated woods seem to have more shrinkage in length than pressure-treated woods. 

Accordingly, when it comes to your pressure-treated woods, you need to keep in mind that your pressure-treated wood will definitely shrink under the influence of time, usage, temperature, and so on. 

In addition, one of the most common reasons for pressure-treated woods to shrink is related to the change in the temperature. 

Accordingly, when it comes to hot weather, it is most likely that your pressure-treated woods will definitely shrink in their size therefore while working with pressure-treated woods, you need to install them by keeping in mind the shrinkage of length and by maintaining the spacing properly. 

However, being hygroscopic, pressure-treated wood will face more shrinkage across the width than across the length. Accordingly, as a rule of thumb, there can be a 5 to 8 percent rate of shrinkage across the length of the pressure-treated woods. 

How much does pressure-treated wood shrink when it dries?

Pressure-treated wood is known for its sustainability and integrity which enable this type of wood to perform to its full potential. 

However, there are some things you need to take into consideration that can obstruct the effectiveness and workability of the pressure-treated wood.

Accordingly, you need to keep in mind that like any other type of wood, pressure-treated wood also seems to shrink in size when it dries therefore, it can be effective to take account of it while building or installing.

Therefore, homeowners like to fasten the pressure-treated wood boards as tight as possible because there will be a be 1/4” of shrinkage when the boards will dry up, and thus this will result in a natural gap.

However, the shrinkage will also depend a lot on the species of the pressure-treated wood, on the temperature, and on the humidity level of the environment.

Nevertheless, whatever the species of the wood will be, the pressure-treated wood will shrink more on the width than on the length when they dry.

Final Thoughts

It is very important that you let the pressure-treated wood dry completely before putting any kinds of paints or stains on its surface. Therefore, you will need to wait for at least a week. However, the timing of the drying process can also be cut down by manually curing the woods.