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How To Treat Untreated Wood For Outdoor Use

Untreated wood will deteriorate outside very quickly when exposed to outdoor environments, but there are solutions to that. When you know how to treat untreated wood for outdoor use, things will be more convenient and easier for you. There are quite a few methods that you can try to treat wood for outdoor use, and we discuss them today. Below are some of the most common and effective methods on how to treat wood for outdoor use. Easy and simple, at least one of them will be suitable for you.


The thing that you should know about borate is that it is durable, reliable, and versatile to use. Its quality lasts longer, and it is perfect for woods like lumber, plywood, and many other solid wood types. What it does is protect your woods from pests like carpenter ants, roaches, standard termites, and wood-boring beetles. At the same time, it keeps your wooden items or structure from dry rot, fungal decay, and more also. And the best part is that the protection is permanent, which is extremely incredible.

How To Apply Borate

Normally, you should mix borate with hot water in a bucket until it is thoroughly dispersed. Avoid using it with a sprayer because the solution is thick and it will clog the sprayer. It is more convenient to use it with a roller since it is easy and fast to apply. You can also just soak it into the borate solution, but there are instructions for you to follow which is easy. Make sure not to apply it within 48 hours of rain or snow so that the solution is absorbed properly. Choose a well-ventilated area or wear a respirator to avoid inhaling the product.

Some borates come in a form of powder, and there are easy instructions that you can follow. Just mix the powder with water and you are good to go; then simply apply it to the wood. The results will be even more effective when you apply it to the wood that is not being touched by water. After applying, then you may wash borate out of the wood with water for a clean finish.

Epoxy Resin

One of the methods to ensure that no elements like dirt, dust, water and more will harm the wood is epoxy. How to treat untreated wood for outdoor use is rather easy with epoxy resin, and it is very effective. As you probably already know, epoxy is durable and thick, so it offers a strong layer of protection for woods. With an epoxy surface, you won’t have to worry about damage by water or any other things at all. So if you want to seal and waterproof your wooden furniture, this is the ideal option to go for.

How To Apply Epoxy Resin

Before anything, make sure that the surfaces of the woods are clean and dry. Thoroughly your epoxy mixture in clean and disposable containers according to the instructions that it comes with. Then apply the epoxy in a thin and even layer on the surface as a seal coat to reduce air bubbles. You may use a brush in order to make the work faster and more even.

Begin at one end of the wood by pouring the epoxy side to side; make sure to cover the edges too. Keep pouring until you fully cover the surfaces, then use a heat gun or plumber torch to pop the air bubbles. It takes around 12 hours to dry and 72 hours to cure completely. Then you may sand the excess epoxy for a smooth finish.

The only thing to have in mind is that epoxy is not UV-resistant, so it will fade in the sun. However, there is a solution to that since you can apply a UV protector before pouring a layer of epoxy. This will maintain both the durability and the look of the wood while increasing its lifespan at the same time.

Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish

As for this method, you will need to use linseed oil and tung oil mixture to treat your wood structure. The reason for choosing these oils together is because they help you to get a warm hand-rubbed finish. Using oil finish is good, mainly because it protects the wood against dark grains that may appear from time to time. At the same time, it also proves efficient to treat untreated wood to make the wood more durable and long-lasting.

How To Apply Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish

First, you have to make a perfect mixture of the oil so that it works effectively on the wood. Mix one part oil of both types with one part mineral and one part polyurethane, then stir them well. Use a paintbrush with a natural bristle to apply the mixture to the wood pieces or wood surfaces. Let the first layer dry, then apply the second layer by repeating the same thing.

With dry rags, use them to wipe off the residual oil if there is any, then let the wood dry completely. Once it dries, rub the wood with sandpaper to create an even and smooth finish. You may apply as many layers as you like until you are happy with the result.

Outdoor Paint

If you want to go for an easy method, then outdoor paint is one way to treat wood for outdoor use. The nice thing about this approach is that you can change the vibes to more colorful or darker atmospheres. In case you won’t want to keep the regular wooden color, then paint them to a different color. Doing so does not only add a new look but also waterproofs the surfaces at the same time. Although it does not provide complete or full protection like other methods, it works in a way.

How To Apply Outdoor Paint

When choosing an outdoor paint to treat your wood, look for the waterproof one. It helps to create more durable and tougher exteriors for your objects and surfaces. You can apply your waterproof outdoor paints on furniture like chairs and tables or things like fences and many more. It is nice and simple, and it elevates the look which is a good idea to try.

Outdoor Wood Sealers

Outdoor wood sealer comes with a combination of chemicals and oils with the function to protect your wood outdoors. Sometimes its label is water sealer depending on the brands, but they are the same things. They are available in most hardware stores, and you can find them online as well which is so convenient. This method is ideal to choose if you want to shield your outdoor wood from mildew, UV, and water. What this sealer does is keep the inner wood dry to preserve its longevity when exposed to various outdoor conditions.

How To Apply Outdoor Wood Sealers

Things are very easy and simple when it comes to applying outdoor wood sealers. All you need is to use a paintbrush to apply the water wood sealer and do it swiftly. It is easy and fast, and you can apply the sealer neatly, just the way you like as well. Simply dip the paintbrush in the sealer, then use it to paint across the surfaces of the wood. Make sure to brush over one plank at a time so that you can cover everything thoroughly.

Another way is to use a garden sprayer, but it takes longer if there is a lot of wood to apply. Also, a garden sprayer does not provide a lot of control, so you might not get to apply it evenly.

Spar Urethane

Clear coat aka spar urethane is among the ways of how to treat untreated wood for outdoor use. The way it works is similar to how outdoor wood sealers do, but with a more aesthetic and better finish. What’s nice and unique about spar urethane is that you can it with both indoor and outdoor objects. Its job is to protect your wood from UV sunlight and water while keeping it glossy and shiny. And guess what glossy and shiny finish does; it gives the objects a sleek and sophisticated appearance always.

How To Apply

Applying a clear coat is easy since all you need is a paintbrush or a garden sprayer. You may apply a few layers, and they will protect your wood for years to come. The best thing about these coatings is that they move with the wood when it contracts or expands at different temperatures. It is convenient and easy, and the result lasts for years which is absolutely incredible.

Wood Oil

In case you don’t want anything too serious, then you may opt for wood oils instead. This option is easy and fast, but it does not provide a high level of protection like the ones above. The great thing about wood oils is that they protect the wood from rotting because of water damage. More than that, there are oils that come with a property to protect the wood from UV light damage also. You may look for those if you want to protect the wood from both UV light and water. On top of the protection, it also delivers a glossy finish which is a total plus.

How To Apply Wood Oil

Applying oil onto your wooden furniture or items is so easy, and it is also fast. Simply flood the oil onto the wood and keep it wet for at least 10 minutes or more. Leave it there until the wood absorbs it completely. When the whole surface stops absorbing the oil, use a dry cloth to wipe off the excess oil. And if you want it to have more protective coatings, repeat the steps on the day until you are happy. Remember that one layer looks natural and woody while a dozen looks like traditional varnish.

Wood Stain

Different from wood sealers, wood stains add color to the wood by soaking pigment into wood fibers with a solvent. It binds to the wood when it sets, so it saturates color to the wood, leaving pigments and new looks. Wood stains help to preserve the aesthetics of the wood, protect the wood from moisture and sun, and prevent rotting. On top of that, this method is cost-saving and simple to apply which is so easy to do by yourself. You can use wood stain on decks, fences, outdoor furniture, and many more outdoor objects.

How To Apply Wood Stain

You can use a bristle brush, cloth, or foam brush to apply the stain to the wood. The thing that you have to focus on the type of wood that you will work on. If the woods have large and open pores like ash, mahogany, and oak, you have to be more thorough. Increase the pressure when you apply so that the stain can penetrate deeply into those pores. The best way is to brush or rub against the direction of the grain, and the results will be satisfying.

How To Treat Wood For Outdoor Use

Since there are many different types of wood that people use outdoor, there are different ways to treat them also. I am going to show you a few most common wood types and how to treat them below. Feel free to take a look; the steps are also pretty easy to follow.

How To Treat Cypress For Outdoor Use

Cypress is a common lumber type that people use to make decks, outdoor furniture, siding, and more due to its durability. The special thing about cedar wood is that it is rot-resistant, so it can sit in any outdoor conditions. However, it will fade within just a few years if it is not treated. This is why you want to treat it with clear sealants like urethane to preserve its natural color. When treating it, there are a few simple steps to follow:

  • Clean and sand the wood to prepare it for a varnish or wood sealer with a scrub brush, soap, and water. You can also clean it with a chemical wood cleaner product if you have any.
  • Then apply the solution to the wood according to the instructions, and let it soak at the required time. You may apply more than one coating; just make sure to let it dry and sand it between each layer.

How To Treat Fir For Outdoor Use

Fir is an excellent wood to have for outdoor furniture like chairs, ottomans, picnic tables, and more. Mainly because it is not affected by moisture and weather, but only at a certain level. When you leave it too long in a damp or wet condition, its quality may decrease a little. This is why you want to treat them, and the best options are either tar or wax. However, you can also go for an easier choice which is with a paint or water sealer.

  • When treating the wood with wax, there are only 3 simple steps to follow: preparation, wax, and wipe. Sand the wood, then apply the wax using a cloth and leave it to dry for at least 5 minutes. Finally, use another coat to wipe off the excess wax, and you are done. Wait for an hour for the wax to cure before touching, simple as that.
  • Use a paintbrush to dip on the paint or water sealer and apply it to the wood. Let it dry between each coat before applying another coat, and that’s it. You may want to re-apply the solution every few years to maintain the protective property for long-lasting results.

How To Treat Hemlock For Outdoor Use

Hemlock is known to be the hardwood of soft woods, and it is ideal for a number of structures outdoor. From docks and fences to garden structures and more, hemlock is perfect for them all. The thing is that the color of hemlock changes over time, graying to be exact. This is why you want to treat it with a finishing product to maintain its appearance and color. The best way to treat hemlock for outdoor use is by staining, and here is what you should do.

  • Lightly sand the surface of the wood then remove the sanding dust.
  • Apply a pre-stain conditioning treatment then apply the stain evenly according to the instructions.
  • Let the first coat dry before applying the next coats, and you are done.

How To Treat Pine For Outdoor Use

Pine is actually one of the weakest types of wood, and this is why it needs treating. Generally, pressure-treated outdoor pine is dense, strong, and wear-resistant which is perfect for long-term use. This is why you want to treat it in order to protect it from outdoor elements like sun and water damage. The best methods that you use to treat pine for outdoor use are epoxy, paint, or polyurethane.

  • Things are easy and simple with epoxy, and all you need is a putty knife to apply it. Pour the solution onto the surface and use your putty knife to flatten out any bubbles or bumps. After that, wait for it to dry and inspect for any bubbles or bumps, then cut them with a razor blade. Epoxy takes at least 24 hours to dry, and you should apply at least 3 coats of this finish. Let it cure for 4-5 days, and you are done.
  • For paint, choose a latex or oil-based paint because it can protect your outdoor furniture from UV damage. Sand the surface before painting, make sure that there won’t be any blemish or uneven area. Then spray a paint primer in even thin layers to coat the entire surface. After that, use a paintbrush to apply 2 to 3 coatings of the paint. Wait for each layer to dry before applying another one, then use a paint sealant to preserve the finish.
  • If it is polyurethane, use a paintbrush to apply the solution onto the wood. Make sure to seal the surface with diluted polyurethane and let it dry for 24 hours first. Then apply undiluted polyurethane, and let it dry for another 24 hours before adding more coats.

How To Treat Redwood For Outdoor Use

The awesome thing about redwood is that it is already very durable and resilient to outdoor conditions, so treatment is not necessary. That is because it is highly resistant to fungal infections, pests, and rot which makes its appearance and quality last for years to come. Not to mention that redwood does not need to be waterproofed; this wood is just amazing. However, you will want to provide it with proper maintenance so that its quality lasts even longer.

No matter how strong it is, redwood is still vulnerable to sun exposure. The UV has the power to decompose the cells of the wood surfaces, causing them to lose their coloration. You can prevent this issue, and the solution is rather easy and simple as well. All you need is a sun-blocking finish or a stain, and here is how to apply them.

  • Sand and seal the wood to make sure that the surface is smooth and to open the pores.
  • Clean the surface to remove any dust, and make sure that the surface is clean before staining it.
  • Choose the stain for redwood of your choice; I highly recommend looking for something with sealing and staining in one. It works fast, and it absorbs nicely into the wood which is a total plus.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the stain, and do it one line or one section per time. This is to ensure even application and to avoid overlap for the best results possible. If there are gaps between the wood, make sure to reach them too so that you can protect the entire thing.
  • Allow the stain to dry completely which is at least 48 hours for furniture or 72 hours for a deck. You might notice the dark color at first, but it will lighten when it dries.

Final Thoughts

Treated wood is definitely more durable and reliable than untreated wood, that is for sure. This is why you want to treat them so that their performance and quality will last longer. From objects to surfaces, treating them is quite important to do. Plus, with several methods to treat wood for outdoor use, you can easily do it at home which is so convenient. It probably takes some time, but it also helps save some costs which are really great. With all the tips above, I sure hope that this article is going to be useful for you.

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