Did you just buy the most amazing wooden table for your backyard? Or maybe you bought a stunning wooden bench for your front porch?
Either way, a wooden piece of furniture outside is not only practical, but it also looks stunning. But if you don’t protect it from the rain and sun, it’ll probably lose some of its shine or color, or even get warped.
So if you want to keep your precious wooden furniture looking new, you’ll need to weatherproof and protect it. But is it easier said than done? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest tricks on weatherproofing wood for outdoors.
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1. Weatherproofing with Oil
If you want to weatherproof with oil, there are three types you can go for:
- Linseed oil
- Tung oil
- Danish oil
Using oil for your project is a great way to save some money and get a beautiful stain on your wood. Oil protects your furniture from sun and water damage, and it can bring your old, withered furniture back to life.
But how does it work? Well, after application, the oil will penetrate deep into the wood and protect both the fibers and the surface. The only downside to weatherproofing with oil is the curing time. Depending on which type of oil you go for, it might take you a few days to finish your project.
First, let’s start with linseed oil which is a bit cheaper and easier to come by compared to tung oil. It is a pretty effective finish for wood because it is a liquid when applied, but turns into a solid when it’s dry. Linseed oil is made out of flax seeds and there are two types you can use:
- Raw linseed oil
- Boiled linseed oil
Now, I wouldn’t recommend using raw linseed oil for weatherproofing just because it takes a long time to dry. But boiled linseed oil takes only about a day to cure, and it’s a great choice for protecting wood.
- Easy to apply
- Glossy finish
- Doesn’t protect from UV rays
- It can be difficult to remove for refinishing
Tung oil might be even more popular to use for refinishing wood than linseed oil. Even though it applies the same way, the drying time is a bit longer. But you can speed the process up with turpentine or mineral spirits.
Keep in mind that you should only apply tung oil in thin coats. If you put too much on, it can make the wood look wrinkled and soft.
- Readily available
- Easy to apply, maintain, and repair
- Slow drying time
- Doesn’t give a smooth finish
Danish oil is a part of the tung oil family and you can use it to give your wood a smooth and radiant finish. What’s interesting about Danish oil is that it doesn’t just stick to the surface of the wood, but it also seeps in, protecting it from the inside.
- Easy to apply
- Dries fairly quickly
- Clear matte or satin finish
- You can use it over polyurethane
- Less durable compared to other finishes
How to Weatherproof Wood with Oil
If you want a stronger treatment and a better sealant, I recommend making a mixture. All you need to make it is equal parts of oil and turpentine, and 1/2 vinegar. Of course, making it is optional, but I always do it because I feel like the finish lasts a long time.
In the first step, before you apply the oil, you need to sand the surface with a metal file or fine-grit sandpaper. Sweep the area, making sure there aren’t any imperfections before you go in with the oil.
Then, get some thick, rubber gloves and a few lint-free rags. Put a little bit of your oil mixture onto the rag and rub the oil with the grain. Also, remember, don’t pour the oil directly onto the wood and never touch it while it’s still drying.
Once you’ve gone over every surface with your rag, let the oil sit for thirty minutes, and sweep it one more time with a clean cloth. You should let it cure or dry for around 24 hours or until it’s totally dry. When you’re sure that the wood is dry, you can take fine steel wool and rub it.
I recommend finishing your wood with oil at least two more times to ensure the best results. Let it dry for 24 hours before you go in with the steel wool, and let it cure for a few more days. You will know that the wood is cured if you can smoothly go over the area with your fingers.
2. Weatherproofing with Sealants
Using a sealant to waterproof your wood is even easier than working with oil, and the curing time is shorter. First, you’re going to prepare your wood just like you did with the previous method — by sanding it with rough sandpaper.
As far as choosing a sealant goes, I would recommend something water-based, just because the wood will absorb it better. Some of my personal favorite sealants are:
Both products are easy to use and won’t break the bank. Also, for better application, I recommend using them with a bigger brush.
Once you’ve got the sealant you want, you can start applying it to the wood in thin layers. Now, I would also recommend using a sealant for wood only if you can work in a humidity-controlled environment. If you expose the sealant to a high temperature, it can evaporate quickly and the surface of the wood won’t look as good.
Most sealants take 4–10 hours to dry, but you should check what the manufacturer recommends on the packaging, just to be sure. When the first coat is dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface out.
After that, you can apply two more coats of the sealant on softwood to get the best results and protection. On the other hand, if you have hardwood, you might get away with using just one coat.
3. Weatherproofing with Polyester Resin and Acetone
Using a solution of polyester resin and acetone is a great way to prevent cracking and paint separation. But it does have a big downside — you won’t be able to control how the color of the paint looks in the end. If you do want to weatherproof like this, I recommend testing on a small spot or a scrap of wood to see how the solution reacts to the wood.
First, start by adding acetone to your polyester and try to get a consistency that looks thicker than water. When you mix it like this, the resin will soak deeper into the wood and give it a nice finish. Start as you did with the previous two methods, by sanding and preparing the wood.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to apply a few coats of the solution to the wood and you’ll have to mix a new one between each layer. But use less and less acetone every time you’re mixing to avoid watering the resin down too much. When you’re done applying the coats, seal everything in with a waxed resin.
4. Weatherproofing with a Varnish Spray
If you don’t have a few days to wait for the sealant to cure, I recommend trying a varnish spray. It’s an easy and hassle-free way of protecting your wood furniture. Keep in mind that most sprays can only cover 10–15 feet. That’s why I wouldn’t use it if you need to weatherproof an entire deck.
My personal favorite varnish spray is the Water Resistant Matte spray from Krylon. In addition to wood, the spray can also weatherproof metal, plastic, ceramic, and glass. I love using this varnish because it only takes 15 minutes to dry. Nevertheless, I recommend waiting for at least 2 hours before you can handle your furniture.
When working with a varnish spray, it’s key that you work in an environment with low humidity. Also, you need to keep the temperature at around 50–85°F. Before you start applying the spray onto the wood, make sure you’ve sanded and prepared your wood just like you did in the previous methods. Also, it’s better to go in with a couple of thinner coats than just two thick ones.
There you have it — all the different methods of refinishing and weatherproofing wood. Now, they all have their pros and cons, so it all comes down to how much time you want to dedicate to this project.
If you have the time — I would recommend using a sealant to protect your furniture. It’s durable, penetrates the wood, and gives it a nice, smooth finish.
But if you don’t want to wait for days just for the wood to cure, you can always use a varnish spray. It is a quick and easy option that will get the job done. The only downside to it is that it’s not as durable so you might have to do it once a year.