Can You Paint Over Thompson Water Seal?

Wood surface coated with Thompson's Waterseal but can you paint over thompson water seal?Thompson’s Water Seal is a popular product among deck owners. It is suitable for deck use and other areas that are prone to water damage. In addition, the product creates a barrier on concrete materials. Thus, you can enjoy perfect driveways, patios, and walkways year after year. But you may want to add more color to the sealed wood, which leads to the question, can you paint over Thompson water seal?

No. It is not possible to paint over Thompson Water Seal. The hydrophobic attributes of the formula negatively affect paint adhesion. Therefore, the paint finish will soon flake, peel, or chip. Also, the sealant makes liquids fall on it and prevents them from sticking to or penetrating the wood.

Please read through this piece to learn more about the formula and tricks that will help you get maximum value from it.

Can You Paint Over Wood That Has Been Sealed?

It is not okay to paint over sealed wood. The exercise results in flaking, bubbling and chipping. Because sealants usually create a protective coat and seal out moisture. Hence, the paint layer will not adhere to the surface.

Besides, please remember that water-sealed woods have chemicals that prevent water penetration. This aspect is essential if we are talking about moisture damage. But it may pose a problem when you want to add a paint coat.

Nonetheless, you can consider priming the surface if the project needs a paint job. In addition, paint products have a small measure of sealant. Thus, the wood will still be water repellent.

Additionally, we have various primers suitable for the job. You can choose an oil-based primer or a latex-based one depending on the nature of the paint. Then, apply it as the first layer before the finishing coat.

The main supplies you need for the job include a primer and a roller or brush. Also, please check the specific drying times for the water sealant. Usually, it would be best to wait one week before applying an oil-based formula and 45 days before having a latex-based paint coat.

The above instructions are not fast and hard rules, but recommendations that guarantee you a perfect outcome. In addition, every water sealant manufacturer has various restrictions and formulas. Thus, check out the product label before getting to work.

The next step is to apply the primer with a roller or brush. Ensure that you follow the wood grain to get a consistent finish. Also, follow the application guidelines for the primer, especially the drying times.

For instance, oil-based formulas must dry overnight before paint application. On the other hand, latex-based formulas only need around four hours. So, allow the primer enough time to dry based on its type.

Apply a paint coat over the primer. You can a brush or roller depending on your preferences. Also, follow the grain pattern as you paint until you get full coverage. Then, let the coat dry completely. You may add a second coat for a darker or deeper color.

Tip: Modern latex primers carry the day and pose as rivals to oil-based primers. They are easy to clean up with soap and water, unlike their counterparts that need chemical solvents. However, an oil-based primer may give you slightly advanced protection over a sealer. But still, the cleaning hassle is not worth it.

On top of that, the above tips would work for varnished wood. Also, you can consider water-based acrylic paint for your work. The trick is to have the right supplies and to follow the recommended painting process.

Alternatively, you can pick an oil-based paint. But it would be best to use an oil-based primer instead, not an acrylic one.

Can You Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal on Concrete?

It is possible to paint over Thompson’s Water Seal on Concrete. Some of the guidelines include proper preparation of the concrete and allowing the required drying times. In addition, please avoid painting over Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced Clear.

More specifically, apply the formula to dried concrete. It would be best to work with 30 days. Also, apply the formula only if the temperature is above 40 degrees, and you can protect the surface from rain for at least 24 hours.

Additionally, allow the first coat approximately 48 hours to dry, then test to see if you need a second coat. Sprinkle a few water drops on the concrete and observe. You’d need a second coat if the concrete absorbs the water and delivers a dark spot. Conversely, the concrete finish is okay if water beads form on the surface.

It is essential to know when to paint on concrete. Thus, apply oil-based formulas at least one week after the sealant application. Water-based paints require you to wait for about 45 days. However, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best result.

Besides, you can monitor your product to keep it in check when necessary. For instance, examine the surface’s waterproof status annually. Place a few water drops on the finish and check its absorption. Water beads on the surface show that the concrete is still waterproof.

Thompson’s Waterseal product has concentrated vapors that are not good for your health. Hence, work in a well-ventilated workspace and wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves and goggles.

That said, you may want to adopt the following steps as you paint over the sealant.

  • ‌Gather‌ the ‌Supplies‌

The first step is to always get all the necessary supplies for the project. You’ll need a power sander, a paint stripper, a power washer, and general maintenance equipment. Also, you’ll need electricity and your basic hoses to run the power washer and sander.

On top of that, a roller and a bucket will come in handy during the paint stripper application. Please note that the procedure might take some time, but you’ll be quite happy with the results. Thus, be patient and thorough.

  • Get the Wood‌ ‌Stripper ‌

It would be best to confirm that the wood stripper works on hydroponic materials. This attribute allows it to penetrate the water seal and start the breakdown process. In addition, you will work better if you put the formula in a bucker. Then, apply it to the areas with the water seal.

Apply the wood stripper with a paintbrush and allow it to do its work slowly. However, this exercise may not be the final solution for this procedure. You may have to employ other steps to remove the water seal and get the surface ready for painting. 

  • Power‌ ‌Wash‌ ‌

Take the power washer and spray off all the areas you want to paint. Please note that you will be spraying off the wood stripper. But there is no reason to panic because the strength from the water and the wood stripper will remove the water seal.

Next, give the area at least one day or two to dry before proceeding to the next step. Also, you will not have a smooth sanding process if the surface is wet. Therefore, overcome your anxiety to sand and paint to deliver a successful project.

  • Power‌ ‌Sand

Get the power sander and sand down the region you plan to paint. There are three reasons for sanding. First, the sander will remove leftover Thompson’s Water Seal that may remain on the wood. And two, sanding breaks down the remaining pieces and evens out the surface.

Thirdly, a sander will aid in roughening the surface to help the primer adhere better to the surface. Thus, the primer will easily grab on the surface and ultimately maintain a tight bond.

  • Apply the Primer‌ ‌

Ensure that the surface is clean, and then apply the primer. Hence, you’ll have to remove dust and any sanding residue. Vacuum or wipe down the surface depending on what you are working on and where you are in the house. Also, it is not prudent to paint over dust as it causes the finish to be uneven, 

You are free to add another coat of primer on the surface for full coverage. In addition, pay attention to the primer’s drying time. You wouldn’t want to paint over a wet coat or a cured one. Both scenarios will not deliver the desired finish. 

  • Test‌ ‌a‌ ‌Corner‌ ‌

Text the surface to verify that it is ready for painting. Ensure that the test area is small to avoid ruining the whole surface. So, apply a bit of paint on the corner and wait for 24 hours, then observe.

Check if the wood or concrete absorbs the paint or leaves it on the surface. Please note that a ready surface will soak the paint into the wood fibers. Thus, it will not bleed through at all. Fortunately, you should have no problems if you have followed the above steps.

  • ‌Complete‌ ‌the‌ ‌Project‌ ‌

Here, get ready to paint the entire surface. Don’t stress or panic. The paint job will deliver a successful product if you adhere to the above procedure. Also, the process may take a week or so to give the desired result.

However, consider beginning from scratch if the paint does not adhere to the surface. This scenario shows that the surface is not ready to receive a paint coat. Thus, it would be best to prepare it again.

Take your time, be patient, and complete the project properly. This way, you’ll not have to do it again unless it is maintenance time.

How Long Should Thompson’s Water Seal Dry Before Painting?

It would be best to allow at least 48 hours of drying time. But the duration varies depending on the temperature, humidity, and substrate. Also, allow coat 30 days to dry before applying an oil-based formula.

Besides that, you can only add a paint coat to Thompson’s Water Seal if you wait for about 45 days and use a primer. However, this aspect works for concrete surfaces, and the paint may or may not stick on the surface. In addition, the paint may not give the desired finish because of Thompson’s Water Seal hydrophobic tendencies.

Sometimes you may want to add a second coat on a Thompson’s Water Seal surface. Here, allow the first coat to dry for about two hours, then add the second layer with a roller, sprayer, paint pad, or brush. Also, please note that this duration may lengthen or shorten based on the existing weather conditions.

On top of that, the Thompson Water Seal finish needs to dry at least 24 hours before rainfall. Thus, it would help check the weather forecast and choose the most suitable day for the paint job.

Should I Use Thompson Water Seal on Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure treated wood possesses chemicals that prevent insect damage but are not waterproof. Therefore, you may have to consider working with a top coat to enhance the wood’s longevity.

On top of that, the chemical treatment causes the wood to dry out faster, and thus it absorbs more water than untreated lumber. So, it swells with time and eventually shrinks after drying.

Fortunately, Thompson Water Seal is suitable for pressure treated lumber and other outdoor wood like redwood and cedar. In addition, it is available in paint stores, home centers, and lumberyards. 

Besides that, it is always prudent to let pressure treated wood dry before sealing it. But at the same time, please do not want for too long. Test the wood after about 90 days after you complete the project.

What Temperature Do You Apply Thompson’s Water Seal?

It will be perfect if the air temperatures and the surface are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit during application. In addition, the project is safer if the conditions remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours after application.

Please avoid applying the product if there is a rain forecast within 24 hours of application. Also, examine if the wood is dry by performing the splash test. Sprinkle water on different sections of the surface you want to seal.

Can You Use Thompson Water Seal on Untreated Wood?

Yes, you can use Thompson Water Seal on untreated wood. It does not have any chemicals that can hinder adhesion. Also, untreated wood dries much faster than pressure treated lumber, and thus you can begin your work sooner.

In addition, untreated wood benefits a whole lot from sealant products. For instance, they are naturally susceptible to insects, moisture, and sun exposure. Therefore, sealants help you keep the lumber intact for a longer duration.

Also, you can comfortably use untreated wood outdoors without fearing harsh weather conditions. Thompson Water Seal waterproofs the surface, and moisture damage becomes a thing of the past.

How Long Does Thompson Water Seal Last?

Thompson Water Seal lasts about ten years after application. However, the existing environmental conditions like rain and sun exposure can extend or shorten this life span. Also, the finishing product, deck use, and maintenance strategies play a part in keeping the finish intact.

This formula requires one single application on dry and clean wood, and you are good to go. Also, you are safe as long as you pick a high-quality product and adopt the recommended application techniques.

How Can You Tell If The Paint Isn’t Compatible With Thompson’s Water Sealant?

Officially, there are no paints that are compatible with Thompson’s Water Sealant. And from our discussion so far, we can conclude that it would be best to remove the sealant before painting.

The formula has hydrophobic qualities that affect the paint’s adhesion negatively. Therefore the paint coat will not stick on the surface for a long time. Also, Thompson’s Water Sealant makes the paint flow over the surface without soaking in, resulting in wasted time and resources.

What Happens If It Starts To Rain After Applying Thompson’s Water Seal?

A brief drizzling session will not cause harm to your Thompson’s Water Seal finish. Also, the coat will still be intact if the surface dries to the touch before the gentle rain. Therefore, you will not lose much.

However, a downpour may take you back to square one. The rain will damage the coat, especially if the formula has mineral oil or linseed oil. Because it forms a layer and takes some time to ‘set up.’ So, the sealer is usually vulnerable at this period and will eventually fail.

That said, always remember to check the weather forecast. It may look like an insignificant appeal, but it will save you time and resources. Consider working when the forecast indicates no rain at least 24 hours after application. Also, if possible, allow the deck to dry for about 48 hours before applying Thompson’s Water Seal.

Can You Apply Thompson’s Water Seal To Wet Wood?

It would be best not to apply Thompson’s Water Seal to wet wood. Instead, wait for the lumber to dry before coating. Wet, dirty, or damp wood hinders proper adhesion, and the coat will soon fail.

On top of that, you will deliver, at best, a splotchy and uneven seal if you seal damp and frosty lumber. Worse still, the wood will not absorb the sealant, allowing it to bead up on the water. This scenario creates a dangerous, messy, and slipping hazard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most popular questions that you are likely to come across each time you talk about painting Thompson’s waterseal.

  • Can You Dilute Thompson’s Water Seal?

Please avoid mixing or diluting Thompson’s Water Seal with other products. One coat of the product is enough and will deliver desirable results. However, you can apply a second coat if you want to enhance the color. Give the first layer about two hours to dry, then apply the second coat after four hours.

  • Can You Use Thompson’s Water Seal Indoors?

The water seal removal process may involve a few steps that you would not normally do in a closed space. Hence, you are safer working with the formula in outdoor spaces and with protective gear.

  • Can You Apply Thompson’s Water Seal To Wet Wood?

It would be ideal to wait for the wood to dry before applying this product. However, you will still get a desirable finish if you use damp wood. Also, it would be best to check the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best outcome.

Mostly, many products advocate for a 48-hours waiting period before you applying any deck coating.

  • How Many Coats of Thompson Water Seal Do I Need?

You only need one coat for both Semi-transparent and Solid formulas. But you can add a second coat if you want to add more color or darken the wood. Also, please allow the first layer to dry well before you add the second one for a more even and consistent finish.

Fortunately, the wait time is about two hours. So you won’t be waiting for a long duration before getting to work.

  • How Do You Remove Thompson Water Seal?

A time may come when you are tired of the sealant, and you want to give your deck a new look. Fortunately, you don’t have to tolerate an ugly deck, as you can easily remove the finish.

You can use a damp cloth with mineral spirits and wipe the sealed surface. Next, let the solvents sit on the surface and then scrub with a scrub brush. In addition, a degreaser may also deliver a successful venture. But it would be best to follow the instructions on the product’s label.

  • What Is the Best Way to Apply Thompson’s Water Seal?

The best way to apply Thompson’s Water Seal is by using a pump-up sprayer. You can consider a coarse setting to deliver a better finish. In addition, it would be best to chase the pump sprayer with a pad to get full coverage.

Unfortunately, the sprayer may not handle surface areas with heavy dirt or discoloration properly. Hence, you can apply a second coat, brush the surface lightly with a broom and hose off. 

Also, it would help to have a backup water seal applicator as Thompsons may give you wax issues on the spray system.

  • Can You Stain Over Thompson Water Seal

Yes. It is possible to stain over Thompson’s Water Seal. However, please avoid working with water-based paints or stains as they will not penetrate Thompson’s paraffin components. 

On the other hand, quality oil finishes soak into the lumber right past the formula and deliver a consistent look. But you can only expect such an outcome if you wait the recommended duration before sealing the wood.

  • Can I Mix Stain and Thompson’s Water Sealer?

Yes, you can mix stain and Thompson Water Sealer. However, there is a caveat. You should only work with oil-based stains. They have the same solvents as the water sealer. Thus, they are compatible.

In addition, the stain’s color may turn a little transparent, especially if it has a solid color. But please try the stain on a scrap piece. 

  • Why Is Thompson Water Seal Not Drying?

High moisture levels in the atmosphere can cause the water seal to take longer to dry. Fortunately, these conditions do not weaken the sealant if it does not sit through a heavy downpour. In addition, you can expect the product to comply once you follow the correct procedures.

Besides that, you may have checked the sealant too soon, and that’s why it feels sticky. Thus, please wait for about two to three days and check for dryness. 

  • How Long Does Thompson’s Water Seal Last in the Can?

Formulas with more pigment usually last longer than transparent ones. However, they show less of the wood’s grain and are perfect if you want to change or add to its color. On the other hand, transparent products last for about three years, and semi-transparent ones will serve you for four years. Also, solid formulas last up to five years. 

Nonetheless, it would be best to purchase the most suitable for your work regardless of its shelf life. Besides, you are not getting it to stay on the shelf.

  • Can I apply Thompson’s Water Seal to Painted Surfaces?

No. It is not okay to apply Thompson’s Water Seal to a painted surface. The formula is only ideal for uncoated and bare brick, stone, or concrete. However, we have sealants that can work for a painted surface. A good example is a polyurethane product: An oil-based, synthetic varnish delivers a protective and durable coating on bared and painted wood surfaces.

Besides that, latex paint does not need an additional sealer as it can protect the surface alone. But you can apply a sealer to seal the paint coat and seal the surface. This way, you keep your objects safe from wear and tear and spills.


It is prudent to ensure that your paint is compatible with the water sealant in question. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a failed product and a ‘frustrated painting desire.’ In addition, painting is perfect for adding color to your projects, and you can’t afford to give up. Therefore, join the discussion today as we look at the concern:

Can You Paint Over Thompson Water Seal?

It is not okay to paint over Thompson Water Seal. The product is very sleek and thus keeps liquids flowing over it. On top of that, the paint will have a hard time soaking into the seal and will essentially harden at the top. Therefore, you’ll end up with a flaked, chipped, or peeled surface.