Solved! How to Waterproof Wood? 4 Methods

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Anyone who wants to preserve the natural beauty and strength of wood must know how to protect it against water damage. It’s no secret that wood can easily absorb water which is a huge risk of decay and rot. To avoid this kind of damage to your wood-based projects, it’s required to learn how to waterproof it correctly.

Wood’s weakness to water can be mitigated through some reliable waterproofing methods. Instead of trying to compromise by opting for a different material that’s not susceptible to water damage, it’s worth waterproofing wood to incorporate this great material in your interior or exterior building projects without concerns about durability.

1. Benefits of Waterproofing Wood

There are some great dangers when it comes to water soaking into the porous surface of a wood structure. It’s vital to protect anything made out of wood that’s exposed to the outdoor elements. Decks and boats come easily to mind but there are all kinds of structures that require waterproofing to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Many people assume that choosing a more water-resistant type of wood allows them to skip complete waterproofing. It depends on the type of project but it’s safe to say that water resistance has severe limitations when it comes to long-term water exposure. Unless it’s properly waterproofed, water-resistant wood will still get damaged. It will simply take a bit longer for the effects to show.

Using products for waterproofing wood is also beneficial because you can provide great protection against other outdoor conditions such as UV exposure. Wood that’s been carefully treated to prevent water damage is more resistant to scratches, mold, and other typical dangers. If you’re interested in the overall long-term durability of wood, waterproofing is pretty much mandatory.

2. Using Oil to Waterproof Wood

Anyone who prefers a classic wood waterproofing method should try a special oil designed for this purpose. Some of the typical options you can use are linseed, tung, and walnut oil. If you want to give the wood a rich and dark appearance, we recommend mixing tung and linseed oils for waterproofing. Keep in mind that while oil represents a good waterproofing solution, it’s not the best option for enhancing the wood’s durability.

Whether you mix the oils yourself or purchase a ready-to-use oil, it doesn’t really matter, but make sure you choose a high-quality product. One great option to consider for obtaining a natural finish is this pure tung oil found on Amazon. Even though it’s more expensive in its pure form, raw tung oil offers excellent moisture protection and brings out the true beauty of the wood. Alternatively, this raw linseed oil could be more affordable depending on the size of your waterproofing project.

Oil as a waterproof solution works best for smaller applications such as the treatment of a table or countertop. We’ll look at other methods if you plan on waterproofing large structures made of wood. While it’s recommended to estimate the amount of oil required for your project, don’t worry about getting a little extra. A high-quality waterproofing oil retains its qualities for many years without issues.

Pure oil can deliver satisfying results but if you want to create a more durable treatment, consider combining it with other substances. We recommend mixing one part oil with equal parts turpentine oil. Combine this mixture with half part cider vinegar to improve the durability of the oil even further. You will need a metal container to create the mixture.

Before applying the waterproofing oil or mixture, it’s essential to get rid of any surface imperfections that will become more visible. Remember that this waterproofing method has great potential in terms of making the color of the wood more vibrant. Ideally, you’d want to avoid highlighting imperfections as well so adequate preparation before applying the oil is recommended. Take a fine-grit sandpaper to get your dry wood surface ready for absorbing the waterproofing oil.

To apply the oil, it’s best to use a rag to spread the mixture evenly on the wood’s surface. For a first layer you won’t need a lot of oil but make sure you work carefully to allow proper absorption into the wood. Instead of rubbing excessively, it’s a better idea to gradually add more oil as needed until the surface is covered uniformly. The oil or mixture takes about half an hour to fully settle. Wipe the surface to ensure it’s perfectly dry.

Before applying two extra layers of oil, make sure you allow for a curing period of 24 hours. Steel wool sanding might be required to get a more attractive finish between the layers of oil. After adding the last coating of oil, it can take more than a few days of waiting to ensure adequate curing. Although this wood waterproofing method requires more patience, it’s safe to say that you will be pleased by the results. Add as many layers as needed for getting the kind of smooth look you prefer.

3. Using Sealant to Waterproof Wood

This is a popular method that many homeowners use for waterproofing items and structures made from wood. Although there’s a lot of variety on the market, all sealers out there are chemically formulated. It’s not hard to see why this is a popular waterproofing method considering the superior reliability.

Many sealants include ingredients such as lacquer and varnish to boost durability while also creating an attractive finish. Another reason why sealants are great for waterproofing wood is their quick dry time which makes them a more versatile choice for both outdoor and indoor applications. There’s no need to worry too much about frequent re-applying of the product.

When it comes to choosing the right wood sealant, it’s probably best to stick to a specially-formulated product for your particular project. For example, if you plan on waterproofing a wooden deck, you can purchase a deck sealant or if you work on furniture pieces, there are sealants labeled for application on furniture. Check out this cost-effective waterproofing sealant found on Amazon that’s perfect for a wide range of outdoor wood treatments.

Similar to the oil waterproofing method, you will need to prepare the wood surface where you plan to apply the sealer. Use sandpaper to get a smooth surface ready for sealing. It’s recommended to opt for a sealant if the wood has been previously finished. Applying the sealant will require some additional equipment such as a paintbrush or paint sprayer. Check out this advanced waterproofing brush on Amazon and this high-performance paint sprayer that promises accurate results.

Whether by painting or spraying, apply a uniform layer of the wood sealant when the environmental conditions are within the recommendations for humidity and temperature. You might get some poor sealing performance if the product evaporates too fast. After you’ve covered the entire surface properly, it’s time to check out the drying times for your sealer to finish off the application of the coating. A few hours are usually required to let the sealant dry.

Depending on the type of wood you’re trying to waterproof, it could be required to add additional layers of the product for a proper sealing job. More delicate softwoods such as pine, balsa, and cedar can need three coats but denser hardwoods like mahogany, oak, and hickory will do just fine with a single layer of the sealer. Regardless of your project’s needs, make sure you allow plenty of time for curing to fully waterproof the wood.

4. Using a Stain-Seal Combination to Waterproof Wood

Although there are many similarities between stain-sealers and regular sealants, there are some notable differences that make this kind of product an ideal waterproofing method for wood. Stain-seal products are recommended if you want more than to prevent moisture damage. You can also use them for changing the final finish to a more visually-appealing pigment color. Another advantage involves the quicker drying time.

The Ready Seal exterior stain-and-sealer could be a solid option to try if you want to obtain a professional finish. It comes with a great variety of color options such as redwood, natural cedar, golden pine, and pecan. With the help of this stain, you will be able to tackle all kinds of exterior wood projects involving larger structures. It’s ideal for waterproofing decks, fences, gazebos, and more. You won’t have to wipe afterward to get rid of excess liquid.

If you wish to work on furniture, paneling, doors, and other interior projects, make sure you choose a high-quality wood stain such as this one from Varathane. It offers an impressive color variety so it can match the needs of any interior job. This is an oil-based formula that needs only a single coat application to get the best finish. Just make sure you use it on a dry surface that’s been carefully sanded.


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