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How to paint over creosote

Updated February 21, 2017

Painting over creosote is possible, but it takes a very special base paint and then many layers of a sealer-primer and even a couple coats of a finish paint to complete the job. However, the technique used for covering up creosote can be also applied to other places that there is a stain or discolouration cause by a petroleum based product.

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  1. Take a wire brush and scrape all loose debris from the area or item that you will be painting. It is not necessary to attempt to remove the creosote, because we will be painting over that, but all loose dirt and dust needs to be removed.

  2. Purchase the paint. First you will need to buy some aluminium paint, some primer-sealer and also your finish coat of paint. Don’t forget paint thinner or turpentine for clean-up.

  3. Apply the aluminium paint first. Make sure you stir the paint vigorously before application and follow all directions that are on the label. Make sure the creosote is completely covered by the aluminium paint.

  4. Apply the sealer-primer next. Lacquer-based paint is best for this and you will probably need two coats to get a good seal around the aluminium paint.

  5. Apply the top coat of paint. You will probably want to use some sort of house paint. Oil or latex will do, but remember that there is a good likelihood you will still need more than one coat of paint during this step in order to retain a smooth finish.

  6. Tip

    Scrape as much dirt and grime from the creosote as possible using a dry wire brush, then apply the paint.


    These paints are toxic, so please keep out of reach of children.

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Things You'll Need

  • paint brush
  • wire brush
  • turpentine
  • aluminium paint
  • lacquer based sealer-primer
  • finish coat of exterior house paint

About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

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