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Staining Pressure Treated Wood

Staining wood can be a PAIN!

The only thing that’s worse is stripping it in 2-3 years!!!


I have a 10 year old retaining wall that’s made from pressure treated wood.

It’s in great shape and I’d like to keep it that way for years to come.

After a little research and some talking with store associates I decided to use Olympic Elite Woodland Oil.

I’m excited to show you the results. Before and after pictures are always FUN 😀

When we had this pressure treated retaining wall installed 10 years ago the contractor said it would last about 7 years.

He obviously underestimated his craftsmanship.

The wall’s still rock solid and I’d love to help it stay that way for several more years.

I chose the Woodland Oil by Olympic for several reasons.

Olympic elite woodland oil

Here they are

  • Retains wood tones
  • Provides mildew and algae resistance
  • UV resistance
  • Urethane fortified to protect wood
  • Doesn’t need to be stripped

Bottom line, it protects and beautifies pressure treated wood.


Plus it was easy to apply. But it’s always nice to get some helpful tips.

That’s what this tutorial is all about.

Here’s your supply list

Yes, the Olympic Elite Woodland Oil is pricey.

BUT, you get what you pay for, right.

This retaining wall was expensive to install. So $119 isn’t too bad compared to replacing it.

I’ll show you all the tips that helped me make this a big success.

Prepping the wood is the MOST important step.

Prepping pressure treated wood before staining, yep this is important!!

I’ll make this easy.

Your wood needs to be

  1. Clean
  2. Have previous coatings removed.
  3. Dry

I used a pressure washer to remove excessive dirt and mildew.

Pressure wash wood

Frankly I should have used the Olympic Deck Cleaner too. But for some reason my brain malfunctioned.

One of my buddies used the Olympic Deck Cleaner on his mildewed deck and he couldn’t thank me enough for the recommendation.

It apparently worked really well.

If you use this deck cleaner test a small section of your wood to make sure it responds okay.

If you’ve previously stained or added a protective coating to your wood you’ll have to remove it.

This ensures the woodland oil can penetrate the wood grains.


Make sure you do this or you’ll be in a world of hurt.

All negative stain reviews involve someone complaining the stain didn’t work, that it’s garbage.


I bet you my kids’ inheritance that they didn’t prep their surface the right way.

Frankly it might take you all day to prep the wood and half the time to stain it.

Wear a respirator while stripping any stains or paints as their particles are harmful.

Once you’re done with the cleaning and stripping confirm your pressure treated wood is dry.

Test the moisture of the wood by pressing a nail into it.

If you see water ooze out then it’s not dry enough.

I waited 5 days after it rained to apply the Woodland Oil. The temperature was in the 70s and 80s.

After the prep is done you can start staining your pressure treated wood.

I’ve got a few good tips to keep the stain from ruining other surfaces though 🙂

Staining pressure treated wood – it’s more cathartic than yoga

There’s nothing worse than having one project create another project.

Case in point: staining something and accidentally dropping said stain onto your sidewalk or driveway!!


I have an easy solution.

Add duck tape to whatever surface you want to protect. Then stick 3 mil plastic to the duck tape.

Protect Cement with plastic

It works beautifully. I did it for the steps in this tutorial and believe me I’m glad I did.

I dripped stain onto the plastic several times!!

You can also use a traditional drop cloth. I did this for the sidewalk.

Once you’re ready to stain do one more thing…

Shake the Woodland Oil vigorously for about 1 minute.

Shake woodland oil

Because I wanted a nice even coat I actually took the 3 gallon bucket back to Lowe’s and had them shake right before my project.

BUT I shook it again before pouring it into the 1 gallon metal pail.

Apply a small test coat and see if you like the color. I did this and decided it looked pretty sweet.

Apply test coat

My general strategy was to apply the Woodland Oil onto the top course of wood then move downward.

That way if there were any drips I could easily manage them.

Work top to bottom

Watch the video to see the complete before & after and the funny look on my face when shaking the Woodland Oil. Thank goodness I can edit out my goofy expressions!!


What’s Next

Many thanks to Lowe’s for their continued support and making me a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger.

They provided some dinero for this project but the staining tips, ugly work clothes and funny faces are from me.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Staining Pressure Treated Wood