3 Easy Ways to Waterproof Wood

Are you going to make a deck in your backyard? Then you should consider these 3 easy ways to waterproof wood to get a long-lasting outdoor living area.

Why Waterproof Wood

Wood is porous, meaning it absorbs water. If it happens relentlessly, the wood will expand and warp, which eventually causes structural problems. For this reason, a water-resistant wood is necessary for building patios, decks, or any woodworking stuff that are prone to prolonged exposure to frequent rain or damp conditions.

A few species of wood are more water-resistant than others. But you will still need to waterproof them by applying some paints and sealers. There are three methods that you can try to waterproof wood. You can apply either wiping oil finishes, sealants, or stain-sealant combos.

Concoct Your Own Wiping Oil Finishes

For centuries, linseed and Tung oil have been widely used as wiping oil to create a beautiful finish as well as protection to dark-grained wood, such as walnut and mahogany. Many people still use them today. Even more, some ready-to-use Tung and linseed oil products have been improved by adding other ingredients that can hasten the drying process without being sticky.

You can make your wiping oil at home by concocting one-part of either Tung or boiled linseed oil, one-part mineral spirits, and one-part polyurethane. Stir it thoroughly. Now, you can apply it. Read on to these steps on how to apply your hand-rubbed oil blend to waterproof wood.

  1. Sand and clean the wood. Use a paintbrush made of natural bristle when you’re applying the wiping oil.
  2. Let it soak into the surface before reapplying to the dried spots.
  3. Wipe off and remove the residual oil by rubbing it thoroughly with clean dry rags.
  4. Leave it for a few hours or even overnight to allow the wood to dry completely.
  5. Lightly sand the waterproof wood with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Repeat the Process Until You Get Your Desired Finish

Bear in mind that the rags that have been used to wipe off excess oil can spontaneously combust. It happens because they generate heat when the oil dries. To prevent it from happening, keep a bucket of water near you. When the rag becomes oil-saturated, put it in the water, get another clean rag, and you can continue working.

Once you are done, hang the rags out to dry, then throw them away. Do not reuse them for any reason because it can be dangerous. If you are going to waterproof wood that features lighter color, skip this method because wiping oils tend to turn yellow over time. So, you had better go for the second or third method below.

Apply Sealants

A stain like polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer can make the wood water-resistant. It will not only seal the woodworking but also color it. You can apply these sealants by either brushing or spraying it onto the wood. Make sure you have sanded and cleaned it previously. After applying the sealant, let it dry completely, and then lightly sand and apply another coat onto it for a better result.

To get the best results, apply it in an environment with room temperature. Do not shake or stir the sealant before using it. Shaking and stirring the sealant can cause air bubbles that will remain on the surface of the wood, even after the sealant gets dry. Since there are various kinds of sealants, you might need to know their benefits and drawbacks so that you know what to purchase.

Polyurethane Sealants

This kind of waterproof wood sealer contains acrylic, polyurethane resins, and other solvents that allow you to have a wide array of finish effects to choose from. Do not worry about the yellow finish produced by this sealant as today’s polyurethane has improved, so you can apply it over your light-toned woods.

For a more durable finish, opt for oil-based polyurethane. However, the cleaning process will be hectic as it requires mineral spirits or turpentine. On the other hand, the cleaning process of water-based polyurethane will be a snap because you will only need soap and water.

Varnish Waterproof Wood

It is mixed from resin, drying oil, and resin. Varnish can result in a hard-shell finish. It is scratch-resistant and does not make your wood turn into yellow. If you are going to waterproof wood your deck or patio, go for marine varnish as it contains UV absorbers that resist sun damage.

Lacquer Waterproof Wood

It is a mixture of a dissolved tree or synthetic resin in alcohol which is suitable for wood furniture.
This kind of sealant provides an elegant finish on deep-toned wood. It is also scratch-resistant.
Lacquer is available in various sheens which can also be thinned. To get a better result, apply light coats of it several times. The drawbacks of lacquer are the yellowish tinge and strong fumes. When applying it, try working outdoors or open the windows and do not forget to use fans.

Go for Stain-Sealant Combos

waterproof wood

If you want to waterproof wood without spending much time staining and sealing, oot for this stain-sealant combo. As the name suggests, this product contains color pigment and binder, allowing you to add color while making your deck or patio resist to water in just a single step. The final result depends on the concentration of pigment found in the product. Therefore, you may get an opaque, transparent, or in-between result. If you are going to use it for exterior wood, you will need to reapply it every year to keep it protected.

How to Waterproof Wood for a Boat

waterproof wood

Boats are prone to experiencing prolonged exposure to water. Therefore, it does need waterproof wood to maintain its top-notch condition. The best sealant for a boat is a stabilizer. A stabilizer is not a finish, nor a stain. It naturally reacts with the alkali found inside the wood, instead. It creates a chemical reaction that makes the wood more resistant to water.

For this reason, it is perfect for the furniture or flooring that is prone to damp and wet, such as bathroom flooring, docks, poolside decks, or boats. Unlike its counterpart that contains chemical substances, a stabilizer is organic. Thus, it is pretty much safe. To get a better result, add a stain or sealer over the stabilizer. Waterproof wood is not an impossible mission. It might require some of your time, money, and elbow grease, but the results are worth the effort.

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