How to Seal and Coat Pressure-Treated Landscape Timbers

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Things You'll Need

  • Oil solvent

  • Rag

  • Sandpaper

  • Paint or stain

  • Paintbrush

  • Amine copper quat or copper azole

  • Protective clothing

  • Respirator mask


Avoid using penta or creosote wood preservative oil, even if you still have some on hand. These chemicals, used on telephone poles and railroad ties, are both toxic.

Pressure-treated landscape timbers have a preservative coating that protects the wood from common issues, including infestation by termites, weather-related damage and rotting and decay. Though this coating remains solid on timbers that are uncut, if you need to cut the pressure treated timbers, the wood in the cut areas become exposed. When this happens, the wood once again becomes susceptible to common wood issues. You can help keep the timbers protected by coating and sealing the cut areas.

Step 1

Wash the cut area on the pressure-treated landscape timbers with oil solvent, which you can buy at many drug stores. Rub the oil solvent onto the area around the cut with a rag, applying enough pressure to buff off most of the oily feel.

Step 2

Sand the area around the cut area of the pressure-treated landscape timber with sandpaper to remove the remainder of the solvent. It may take several sheets of sandpaper to remove the oil layer in the area, since the sandpaper is likely to gum up during the sanding process.

Step 3

Stain or paint the wood if you want to while the cut area is exposed. According to the University of Minnesota, pressure-treated wood can be painted and stained like any other wood.

Step 4

Apply alkaline copper quat or copper azole to the surface of the wood once the paint or stain has dried. Both of these chemicals preserve the pressure-treated landscape timbers like the original oil applied to the timbers. Use protective clothing and a respirator mask during application, and apply the chemical with a paintbrush or rag.


Alexis Lawrence

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.