How to Treat Wood for Outdoor Use: Enhance Durability and Preserve Natural Beauty

If you plan to use wood for outdoor projects such as timber pergolas or gates, it’s essential to treat the wood properly. Treating wood for outdoor use is crucial for enhancing its durability, protecting it from the elements, and preserving its natural beauty. In this blog, we'll explore the importance of treating wood, the types of wood products that benefit from treatment, and provide comprehensive instructions on how to treat wood for outdoor use. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and ensure your outdoor wood projects stand the test of time!

Why Treat Wood for Outdoor Use?

Wood is a natural material that is susceptible to decay, rot, and insect damage when exposed to moisture, sunlight, and other weather elements. Treating wood creates a protective barrier that repels water, minimises UV damage, and helps prevent wood-destroying insects from infesting the material. It also helps maintain the wood's natural colour and grain, prolonging its lifespan and reducing the need for frequent maintenance.

Types of Wood Products to Treat

Various wood products benefit from treatment for outdoor use. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Timber pergolas
  • Garden furniture
  • Fences and gates
  • Decks and patios
  • Exterior siding
  • Raised planters
  • Outdoor structures like gazebos and sheds

Some of our products, such as our Decking Tiles and Softwood Sleepers, come pre-treated, so it’s always best to check first!

What types of wood do not need treating?  

According to wood specialists, Western red cedar, redwood, and cyprus are the wood types that need not be treated. Most of these wood types are commonly found in the US region rather than Europe.  

How do I treat wood for outdoor use?

Prepare the Wood

Start by ensuring the wood is clean and free from dirt, dust, and any existing coatings. Use a stiff brush or broom to remove debris. If the wood is previously finished, consider sanding it lightly to promote better absorption of the treatment product.

Choose a Wood Sealer or Preservative

Selecting the right treatment product is crucial for effective wood protection. Look for wood sealers or preservatives specifically designed for outdoor use. Opt for products that are water-resistant, UV-resistant, and offer protection against mould, mildew, and insects. If you prefer a natural approach, you can explore eco-friendly wood treatment options, such as those derived from natural oils or borates.

Examples of best wood sealers 

  • Wood protection cream
  • Wood Waterproofer 
  • Natural wood sealer 
  • Anchorseal 2  
  • Thomson’s Water Seal 

Apply the Treatment Product

Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the treatment product for application guidance. Generally, the process involves the following steps:

  • Wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid skin contact with the product.
  • Stir the treatment product thoroughly before use.
  • Use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply an even coat of the treatment product to the wood's surface, ensuring complete coverage.
  • Pay special attention to end grains, joints, and any exposed or vulnerable areas.
  • Allow the product to penetrate the wood for the recommended time specified by the manufacturer.
  • Apply additional coats if required, following the recommended drying time between each coat.

Maintain and Reapply

Wood treatment is not a one-time process. Over time, the treatment product will wear off due to weathering and natural wear. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure ongoing protection. Monitor the wood's condition annually and reapply the treatment product as needed, following the manufacturer's recommendations. Additionally, it's important to keep the wood clean and free from debris to prevent moisture buildup.

Treating wood for outdoor use is essential to enhance its durability, protect it from the elements, and maintain its natural beauty. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your timber pergolas, gates, and other outdoor wood projects withstand the test of time. Choose a suitable wood sealer or preservative, apply it correctly, and regularly maintain and reapply as necessary. With proper treatment, your outdoor wood will remain resilient and retain its charm for years to come.

Discover our landscaping wood materials for building fence panels and fence posts and protecting your garden.  

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