How To Protect Untreated Wood Outdoors

How To Protect Untreated Wood Outdoors

Any type of wood that is outside can be at a battle with the elements each day. Any type of wood that is outdoors needs to be protected against weathering and insects no matter the type or climate in most cases. For most wood products, if you want to keep it looking great, you’ll need to apply a sealer every few years.

Applying a sealant to untreated wood can help to protect it and it’s pretty simple to do. You can do this yourself, but it’s good to understand what sealant, how often, and problems you should be on the lookout for. This article will cover those topics.

Using Treated and Untreated Wood Outdoors

Outdoor use Wood

The first thing you need to do is decide what type of wood you want to treat and the wood sealers that you will be using. There are mainly two categories of wood, hardwoods and softwoods. And of course there is all sorts of wood in between. Determining what type of wood will need to be treated can help you choose a sealant better. Here are some methods to make sure the untreated wood is ready for the weather ahead:

Paint the untreated wood

There are several types of exterior paint you can use when painting wood outside, but it’s best to get exterior latex paint. This is the most popular choice because it provides protection against moisture, insects, mold, mildew, and UV rays. It is usually applied over another finish such as primer. Latex paints come in several types including flat, semi-gloss, satin, gloss, matte, and eggshell. Simply paint the wood and it will be protected.


Polyurethane is one of the most versatile materials out there. In fact, it’s used in everything from building products like insulation and roofing shingles to paints and sealants. And now, you can even use polyurethane to protect the wooden products you have outside.

The process starts with a clear coat, which protects the surface of the wood. Next, you apply a stain or color to the wood. Then, you add a protective layer of polyurethane. Finally, you let it dry and apply another coat. This process is much like painting the wood except you get the wood grain finish which can really look great.

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Wood oils (Linseed Oil)

Wood oils are great for protecting wooden surfaces against rot and fading. They are also available in different kinds of formulations, like water repellent or even stain resistant. One of the more popular is Linseed oil. But sealers are usually better options for long term protection.

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Using a sealant

Wood treated with a sealer prevents rot and decay. Sealing is one of the simplest methods you can use to preserve your outdoor wood. You don’t even need special equipment. All you need are a few basic tools.

A sealer helps protect the surface of your wood against moisture. If you live in a wet climate, it’s important to apply a sealer every couple of years to keep your wood looking good.

You’ll find many types of sealants at home improvement stores and lumberyards. Some sealers contain chemicals that make the wood look darker. Others contain waxes and oils that give the wood a natural appearance.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your family and pets, you might want to choose a product without toxic ingredients. Look for products labeled as pet friendly or non-toxic. Eco Advantage has a great product which is pet safe and non-toxic.

The best way to ensure that your sealant lasts is to apply several coats. Apply a coat once a year and let each coat dry completely before applying the next layer.

Pressure treated woods

Pressure treating is an effective way of protecting wood against rot. In fact, it’s one of the most common ways of preserving wooden furniture since the wood fibers are soaked in treatment they can ensure your outdoor wood projects are protected for years. But what exactly does pressure treating do? And how does it differ from other methods of preservation?

What Is Pressure Treated Wood?

Wood treated with pressure is called pressure-treated lumber. It’s usually used for outdoor applications such as decks, fences, playground equipment, picnic tables, outdoor wood furniture, etc. The process involves applying a chemical mixture to the surface of the wood. Once applied, the wood dries out and becomes resistant to decay.

There are several types of pressure treatments. Some use chromium compounds; others contain copper salts. Both types are effective, but some people prefer the look and feel of untreated wood. As long as the pressure-treated wood meets certain requirements, it can be used indoors. Treated wood costs a little more than untreated wood of the same species of wood.

Types Of Pressure Treatments

The most popular types of pressure treatments include:

• Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA): This is the most commonly used method of pressure treating. It works well on softwoods like pine, fir, cedar, hemlock, and cypress. It can also be used on hardwood species like oak and maple preventing water damage to the wood.

Protecting woods using varnishes

Varnishes are available in several different colors and finishes. They are used to protect wood against UV rays with a UV protector mixed in. Good quality varnishes should last up to five years and can be used on a wide variety of products. If you apply a varnish over a stained surface it gives a darker appearance than simply applying a stain directly. You will need to seal the wood afterwards to keep it dry.

There are many types of varnishes available and some are designed specifically for exterior use while others are suitable for interior use. Varnishes applied over natural wood will darken the color of the wood. For example, red oak will turn browner when treated with a clear varnish.

Using a combination treatment for protection

A stain/sealer combination helps protect outdoor wood against fading, cracking and warping. Here are some tips for how to use it effectively. It’s made to be a one product solution to protecting untreated wood outdoors. It’s applied just like any other sealant with a brush or roller. Remember to apply a few coats and let each one dry completely before adding another coat.

Apply Sealant

To avoid damaging the finish, apply a sealer immediately after sanding. If you wait too long, moisture could cause the surface to swell and crack. Before applying the sealer, make sure it is clean and free of dust particles. Use a rag dampened with water to wipe away dirt. Then use a tack cloth to gently brush off excess debris.

Apply one coat of sealer per side, letting each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next. After the final coat dries, let it sit overnight before moving furniture or cleaning up. If you’re using a light-colored wood the sealant may make the wood look a bit darker such as with a wood stain but it may get lighter once dry.

Advantages of using treated wood

Treated wood is an ideal material to use for outdoor wood furniture, decks and fences because it resists rot and decay. Treated wood lasts much, much longer than untreated wood, which makes it great for outdoor living spaces. And treated wood doesn’t require painting like untreated wood does; you don’t have to worry about staining and fading.

Protection from the elements

Wood needs protection from the elements in order to keep it looking good over time. This includes protecting it from the sun, rain, snow, wind, and insects. If you live in an area where there’s lots of moisture, you might want to consider installing some sort of treated material such as pressure treated lumber for your wood furniture, fences, outdoor chairs, and more.

Insect resistant

Wood treated with insecticide will keep insects out while still looking great. Insect resistant treated wood isn’t just good for looks – it can actually protect against pest damage. Some types of pressure treated wood are even effective ways to keep termites away, according to the USDA Forest Service. When choosing a wood for your product consider treated wood for this. If you have children or pets that will also be using the outdoor furniture, then you may want to opt out of chemically treated wood.

Fire retardant

Fire retardants are used to help protect against fires. They work by slowing down the spread of flames, preventing the fire from getting out of control, and helping firefighters do their job safely. Most pressure treated woods do not have fire retardant in them. They will burn comparably to untreated wood. Some sealants may even accelerate fires if the wood were to catch fire.

Untreated wood lifespan when outside

So what’s the lifespan of untreated wood? There is no clear cut definition for what “untreated wood” actually is. Different woods behave differently when they’re exposed to different environments. Some woods will deteriorate quicker than others if left outside. There are many different types of projects where treated wood can last much longer than untreated wood – like outdoor furniture, wooden decks, fences, etc. Treated wood can be stored outdoors away from moisture and off the ground. Untreated wood should be kept inside, out of direct sunlight and away from humidity.

Which types of wood is the best for use in exterior applications?

There aren’t any one types of wood that last forever. Different species of woods have varying levels of durability depending on what they’re used for. For example, cedar is great for outdoor furniture because it’s naturally resistant to rot. But while cedar does well outdoors, it doesn’t do well indoors. Cedarwood, on the other hand, is best for indoor use.

When choosing wood for outside projects, consider the environment you live in. If you live in a cold climate, select wood that’s good for winter weather. If you live in hot climates, choose wood that’s suitable for summertime. Also, remember that different trees grow differently. For instance, some tree species produce fast growing woods like pine and spruce. Others take longer to mature, producing harder woods like Oak and Maple. Here are some types of wood that you may consider for your project:


The cedar tree is native to North America. In fact, there are over 200 species of cedars worldwide. Cedar is one of the most durable trees out there. It can withstand extreme weather conditions such as drought, heat, cold, wind, snow, rain, insects, disease, and fire. This makes cedar ideal for building houses, fences, decks, furniture, boats, etc. Many homes will utilize Cedar as siding for the home. Cedar shakes are used in areas of the home such as around doors or in gables of homes to give it a more natural look.


Another popular wood used for outdoor project is Redwood. Redwood is often used for furniture because it is easy to work with and holds up well over time. However, there are some downsides to working with Redwood. First off, it is quite expensive compared to other woods like pine or oak and it’s a lot heavier. However, Redwood is extremely strong. It is incredibly hard and dense, making it ideal for use in outdoor furniture. It is also resistant to decay and insect damage.


Teak is an extremely hard wood and very resistant to water. It is often used for outdoor patio furniture and boat decks. If you are looking for something special, you might want to consider teak. It is expensive, but if it’s something you really love and want to protect, you’ll find that it’s well worth the investment.

Spruce / White Pine / Fir

Spruce Pine and Fir trees are very popular choices for many home improvement projects but they typically aren’t a good choice for outdoor use. These woods are softer and will absorb moisture if left untreated. They are however, easy to work with, light, and inexpensive. Sometimes abbreviated as SPF (Spruce, Pine, Fir) this wood can be grown fast. While spruce pine and fir trees are beautiful additions to any yard, they aren’t suitable for outdoor use.

Yellow Pine

One of the more common types of pressure treated lumber is Yellow Pine. Yellow Pine is harder and more dense than White Pine which is typically used indoors. Most pressure treated lumber is Yellow Pine sold at home improvement stores. Yellow Pine is also typically offered in larger wood choices such as 2×8, 2×12 ,etc…

Other types of outdoor woods

There are several other types of wood that can be utilized for outdoor use. The biggest factor is the climate you live in. The more humidity and moisture there is the more likely you need treatment on your deck, furniture, or fence. Proper sealant applications each year can help to protect your outdoor space for years to come.

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