Taking care of pressure-treated wood can be quite difficult. And that’s especially true if you don’t know how to choose the best primer for pressure-treated wood.

There are numerous primers on the market, and it can be overwhelming to pick only one. So we’re here to help you by narrowing it down to our favorite five products.

Note: Before ordering any prime, please read how to know if the wood is treated or you might blunder.

We have spent hours researching genuine customer reviews, expert advice, and product descriptions. In the end, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best pressure-treated wood primers based on our findings.

Best Primer for Pressure Treated Wood

Product Reviews (Updated List)

Based on our research, here are the top-quality primers for pressure-treated wood.

1. Best Overall Primer for Treated Wood– Rust-Oleum 207014 Marine

Rust-Oleum 207014 Marine Wood and Fiberglass Primer, 1...
  • Ideal for use on wood or fiberglass surfaces above the waterline
  • Applies as a base coat to ensure for better adhesion of topcoats and longer-lasting finishes
  • Dries to the touch in 1 hour and covers 100 sq ft

This Rust-Oleum product is terrific for anyone who planning on painting pressure treated wood too soon because it has multiple benefits.

Rust-Oleum 207014 has excellent adhesion helping the paint to stick to the surface without chipping very soon. Thus, the top coat will last for longer. But what’s also great is the durability of the product. Not only is it a strong one, but it also resists corrosion, offering maximum protection. 

The paint primer can be used on bare wood, but it is highly efficient on pressure treated wood as well. It even works on surfaces that were previously painted or that are rusted. This gives it more versatility. 

Apart from that, the product dries to the touch in one hour, which is very fast. It can cover about 100 square feet.


  • Great adhesion
  • It will not take a lot of time to dry
  • It is a durable product
  • Allows the topcoat to look very nice and glossy
  • Very versatile


  • The lid may come off during delivery
  • High VOCs

2. Best Water-Based Primer– KILZ Premium

If you’re looking for something that dries fast, then this KILZ primer for pressure treated wood will do the job. It is a water-based primer, which allows it to dry fast to touch for you to save time and be able to apply the paint sooner. After one hour, you can already recoat. 

The product is great for sealing porous surfaces, and it can deal with imperfection coverage as well. But what makes it outstanding is its ability to cover stains, as well as seal off odors. It’s an amazing feature because it will not only ensure stubborn stains aren’t visible after painting but also that you can work without feeling any nasty odor. 

The primer covers 300-400 square feet, which is great when you want enough primer for a whole application. There are no VOCs, making it non-toxic and not unpleasant to be around during the application. 

It adheres very well to various surfaces, including plaster, drywall, paneling, brick, masonry, and woodwork. Even if the air outside is humid, the primer will still last. 


  • Makes it easy to work by sealing off odors 
  • It provides coverage for stains
  • It isn’t toxic 
  • It allows you to achieve a uniform finish and a wonderful surface after painting.
  • It’s versatile as it works on several surfaces


  • It’s too thin and may require more coats
  • It still needs ventilation despite the low odor
  • Very messy

3. Best Exterior Paint Primer for Pressure Treated Wood– Ready Seal 512

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain...
  • Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It reaches its true color in approximately 14 days. Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. Sealed surfaces inhibit penetration.
  • May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
  • Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or streaks.

Painting an outdoors surface can be tricky because of the weather, but the Ready Seal Primer can help you deal with that. This exterior wood primer for pressure treated wood is amazing because it resists all weather conditions, which is great if you plan to prime and paint pressure-treated wood outdoors. 

The primer is moisture-resistant and will protect the wood underneath. It also protects wood from elements such as mildew, mold, or UV rays. 

The product can be used in several ways, which makes its application easy. For example, you can either use a roller, brush, or sprayer to apply it on the wood surface. 

You need no sanding or stripping either. On top of that, you also save time because you don’t have to dilute or thin it for spray applications. 

Even though it covers the material, it still maintains the natural texture and beauty of the wood, being ideal if you are looking for something more natural-looking.


  • It dries very evenly
  • Allows you to save time during the application
  • It resists any weather condition
  • Easy to apply


  • The rich color may fade off quickly
  • It may be quite oily
  • The color may not be accurate

4. Best Surface Coverage Primer– Rust-Oleum 2004

Rust-Oleum ZINSSER 1 qt 02004 White, Bulls Eye 1-2-3...
  • Interior/exterior use on new or previously painted drywall, concrete, wood, masonry, metal and glossy or difficult surfaces
  • Water-based formula seals uniformly and will stick to surface without sanding
  • Dries to the touch in 35 minutes, ready to topcoat in 1 hour and covers up between 87-112 sq. ft. per quart

The Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye is great when you want a primer for both interior and exterior applications. This product will do an amazing job of covering surfaces no matter their color, and it will be able to resist outdoor conditions as well. 

This is a water-based formula, ensuring an even application and fast drying times. It can stick properly to most surfaces, and you don’t necessarily need sanding during application y. You can clean it with ease, as you only need soap and water for this process. 

A truly impressive feature of this product is the mildew resistance. You don’t have to worry about mold and mildew once you apply this formula. It provides protection and increases durability. It will also prevent blistering and peeling, ensuring the longevity of the application.


  • Can cover stains and odors
  • It’s great to use on multiple surfaces
  • It works for interior and exterior applications
  • It maintains durability thanks to its mildew and mold resistance
  • It’s easy to use


  • It may be too thin
  • A bit drippy
  • It’s quite sticky

5. Best for Stain Coverage Primer–Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain

Rust-Oleum Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil...
  • Cover stain, QT, Oil based stain killer primer/sealer
  • Adds extra shine to your product
  • Manufactured in United States

The Zinsser 03504 is not only great for interior and exterior surfaces, but it’s also a good stain blocker. Some stains cannot be removed, and if you want to paint a surface, you must certainly be worried that it will show through the paint.

Well, this will not happen if you apply this product. It has outstanding stain coverage, making sure that your paint job looks impeccable and uniform. Even stains such as nicotine, smoke, or water can be sealed, which makes it one of the best primer for cabinets as well.

This Zinsser primer for pressure treated wood dries quickly, allowing you to recoat soon and apply the paint. You can apply it on difficult-to-paint surfaces, and it will have great adhesion, ensuring the longevity of the paint. To increase durability, the primer will also prevent scraping, flaking, or scratching. 

What’s great is that you can even cover both bright or dark colors with it. So you can obtain the true color of the paint after application by using this primer. The coat will be uniform and smooth, allowing the paint to create an even surface that everyone will admire.


  • It covers any stain, even stubborn ones
  • Adheres amazingly to any surface
  • Works for both interior and exterior surfaces
  • It dries quickly


  • It is quite messy 
  • Pretty thick
  • Might require sanding

Pressure Treated Wood Primer Comparison Table

Factors to Consider When Choosing

Pressure-treated lumber goes through a special treatment that makes it less likely to damage, thus increasing its durability and preventing insect infestation or mold growth. 

Here is what you should consider when browsing for pressure treated wood primers:

1. Type of Material the Primer is Made From

Primers are all different from each other, so they contain different substances and formulas. Each one has its own benefits. 

When it comes to priming pressure-treated wood, though, you have to be exceptionally careful when choosing your primer. Some primer materials may be better than others. 

For example:

  • Oil-based primers may resist the surface sometimes and it’s not ideal. Here’s a guide on when to use oil based primers on wood.
  • Water-based primers may work better, and they dry fast as well. 

However, experts claim that latex-based primers are the best ones to use on pressure-treated wood. 

2. Safety

Your safety is the most important thing, and you need to consider it even when priming wood and painting it. This is why you should look into a primer that doesn’t contain too many dangerous chemicals. You should buy a primer for pressure treated lumber with a low odor and fewer VOCs. 

3. Performance

The performance of the primer is critical. It has to perform very well on interior and exterior surfaces, especially outdoors. 

A good primer that can perform well has three distinct qualities: 

  • Easy to apply
  • Resists weather conditions
  • Slow deterioration rate

Make sure you pick something with great performance on pressure-treated wood and something that covers stains and offers an even surface. 

4. Pressure Treated Wood Finish

Your primer should offer a nice finish that will allow the color you apply on top to look as vibrant as possible. You should look for something that can apply an even coat that doesn’t make brush strokes visible. 

5. Brand

It’s best to stick to the most popular primer brands to ensure you get a quality product. Two of these brands include Zinsser and KILZ.  

6. Budget

Most primers are not that expensive, but some can reach high prices. Ideally, stick to something that has a good price-quality ratio. Don’t go for the cheapest products because they might not be the best out there. 

Do I Need to Prime Pressure Treated Wood Before Painting?

Wood needs to be primed properly for the paint to adhere to the surface. And this applies to pressure-treated wood as well. This type of wood is often stripped of a lot of its moisture, which is why paint may not stick properly.

As a result, if you don’t apply a primer, the paint may start to peel. This will cost you a lot of resources, such as time and money.

If the pressure-treated wood has been primed beforehand, you might not require another layer of primer. However, if you see imperfections on the surface, you may want to consider priming.

Pressure-treated wood can also be very porous, which can cause the paint to look uneven. This is why you need to prime the surface so that the result looks flawless.

How to Prime and Paint Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood needs to be completely dry before you attempt to prime and paint it. Usually, pressure-treated wood needs about 3-4 months to cure

Pressure-treated wood should not be painted in humid conditions. Therefore, you must wait until the weather is warm and sunny. Try waiting at least one month after the last rain or snow before attempting to paint it.

Once you’re sure the wood is dry and it can accept the coats, here is how to prime and paint your treated wood:

  • Choose the right primer and paint. A water-based or latex primer is the best for pressure-treated wood. As for paints, you should go for either an oil-based polyurethane or a water-based one. 
  • Clean the treated wood. 
  • Apply the primer evenly on the surface.
  • Allow the primer to dry by following this primer drying time guideline.
  • If the primer settles, you can start applying the paint. Apply at least two coats to obtain a nice-looking surface. 


How do You Prepare Pressure-Treated Wood for Painting?

Before painting your pressure-treated wood, it’s essential to clean the surface first. Take a brush with stiff bristles and grab some soap and water. The soapy water will clean the treated wood and get it ready for the paint job. 

Make sure to rinse the surface first and allow it some time to dry. Also, if the wood just underwent treatment recently, you should let it dry completely first and then apply two coats of primer

What Happens if You Paint Treated Wood Too Soon?

If you don’t let the treated wood dry before staining or painting it, it will damage the wood and your paint job. 

This is because the paint will trap water in the wood. Later on, your paint will peel off, whereas the wood will start warping. This is why it’s always important to let pressure-treated wood dry before staining or painting it. 

What is the Best Primer for Pressure Treated Wood

The best primer for pressure-treated wood is the Rust-Oleum 207014 Marine Wood.  This primer is not only easy to apply, but it can also effectively cover stains and odors. It has firm adhesion, which is necessary for pressure-treated wood. 

On top of that, it’s also corrosion-resistant, and it will maintain durability. It has a great performance and it’s from a reputable brand while being safe to use. 

All in all, it is a primer that will give you the results you want and for a good price. Using it will ensure an outstanding finish for your treated wood. 

Leave a Comment