how to weatherproof wood

How to Waterproof Wood – Comprehensive Waterproofing Wood Tutorial

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Waterproofing wood has many advantages for all kinds of surfaces. This includes preventing wooden materials from damage by weather, for example, sun, heat, and moisture among others. You can also enhance the beauty of your wooden materials and protect them from wear and tear by providing a waterproof layer. However, when learning how to waterproof wood, it is important to know that this won’t provide complete protection. Waterproofed wood finishes will still need regular maintenance over time. Interested in learning how to waterproof wood? We will explore the topic in detail below.



Why Should You Waterproof Wood

Waterproofing is a process of putting a very strong preventive layer on the wooden surface to completely stop water from penetrating the wood.  You can do this in areas such as outdoor wooden decks and furniture. There are different types of wood – some types resist water conditions better while others are weaker and not able to fight against moisture. Usually, the wood used in kitchens and bathrooms requires impermeable waterproof materials to completely dismiss any moisture threats.

We recommend treating all external wooden materials to protect them from warp and cracks. This is because the wood has a tendency of absorbing water since it is porous. This will cause the wood to distort, affecting the structures. Sometimes water will remove the color of the wood and molds will grow and multiply. Wood waterproofing will enhance and improve the longevity of wood, making it resistant to insects and molds. It is advisable to take great care of your wood, to keep it attractive for the longest time.

waterproof wood sealer



How to Waterproof Wood

Since you have learned the importance of waterproofing wood, it is also necessary to understand the best way to do it. Your choice on the type of waterproof wood finish to use for your wood is crucial.  The waterproof wood finish that you use internally is quite the opposite of what you use externally. Certain types of waterproof products function better with brighter colors yet others are better with darker colors. Having the experience of waterproof wood gives a guarantee that your wood materials will last for a very long time. This will also enable you to enjoy an excellent appearance from the wood finish.


Waterproofing Wood Using an Oil-Based Finish

The best and most common oil-based finishes to use for waterproofing wood are linseed and tung oil. A perfect collaboration of great wood oil is made from mineral spirits, polyurethane, and oil. This combination helps in reducing stickiness, is long-lasting, and enhances the adhesive qualities.

Waterproofing wood is not a complicated process. You just need a clean rag to apply the oil onto the surface. You have the option of preparing your own mixture or buying a premix that is ready-to-work. When mixing, put tung or linseed oil into an empty tin, add the mineral spirits and polyurethane. Make sure you first test each mix by applying it to a small piece of wood.


  • Sinks deeper into the wood
  • It has strong adhesive qualities
  • Good at maintaining the original appearance of wood
  • Enhancement of wood lifespan
  • Good value for money
  • Gives a natural appearance to wood surfaces


  • You need to redo the process regularly
  • Does not give a shiny or smooth look compared to varnish
  • Does not completely stop water penetration


Waterproof Wood Sealer

When learning how to waterproof wood, a sealer is a good option. With this option, you must do proper preparation first by cleaning and sanding the surface. This will prepare it for the waterproof wood sealer application. Make sure the first coat dries properly before sanding and adding another layer. You can do this process as many times as you want.

The best waterproof wood sealers available on the market are vanish, lacquer and polyurethane. Like any other painting job, waterproof sealant for wood poses health risks. This process should always be done in an area with free movement of air. Wear masks and goggles to prevent damaging your lungs from inhaling dangerous chemicals from paint when applying waterproof sealant for wood.

Always read labels and manufacturer instructions before purchasing. This is because there are a lot of waterproof wood sealers on the market. These include fencing, deck, and furniture waterproof sealant for wood. If you want a sealant that is stronger to use outdoors, then opt for marine wood sealant. It proves to be the best against moisture and sunlight penetration.


  • Beautifies wood surfaces through color enhancement
  • It has higher adhesive qualities
  • Highly impermeable
  • No need for regular maintenance
  • Offers wood an excellent and rich appearance


  • The cleaning process is very difficult
  • High health risks because of dangerous chemicals
  • A big threat to air pollution
  • The appearance of sealants quickly fades off


Combination Waterproof Sealant Stain on Wood

A combination waterproof sealant stain is another option when learning how to weatherproof wood. This combination provides a great impermeable surface and enhances the appearance through a waterproof layer and color. This is because it contains different color qualities and extra binders. Binders can be water-based, oil-based, or alkyd-based. This type of sealant comes in different colors, it has high adhesive qualities. When learning how to waterproof wood, you are advised to choose a sealant that is highly suitable for outside conditions and not difficult to take care of.


  • Not difficult to process
  • Different colors are available
  • Stronger adhesive qualities
  • Gives a good appearance and protection to wood surfaces


  • Requires you to reapply it all the time
  • A threat to health and the environment
  • Discoloration occurs over time
  • Sealers which are alkyd-based leave a lot of residue



Waterproof Wood Finish That Works

The information we have provided above will help you to find the best waterproof wood finish. There are certain common characteristics that separate a good waterproof wood finish from a bad one. For example water-resistance, crack-bridging ability, resistance to weather changes, fungus growth, bonding qualities, mechanical adaptability, and attractiveness of the appearance. The following are some of the best waterproof wood finish options available. If you are learning how to waterproof wood, then these products are great considerations.

waterproof wood finish


Best Exterior Wood Sealer: READY SEAL Exterior Wood Sealer

This is an example of an oil-based sealer that is highly suitable for application on outside wood surfaces. It is very good at improving the appearance of the wood surfaces. It is normally referred to as a two in one combination of sealer and stain. If you are looking for the best product to protect your wood surfaces from UV rays, then Ready Seal is your perfect choice.


  • You can process it smoothly using a roller, sprayer or brush
  • A two in one of stain and sealer
  • No streaks or defects
  • A primer or thinner is not necessary on this type
  • Resistant to molds and UV threats
  • The product blends by itself
  • A durable and versatile oil-based formula


  • Difficult to clean and maintain, usually requires mineral spirits which incur extra costs
  • Cannot be applied on top of other finishes


Best Waterproof Wood Sealant: RUST-OLEUM Natural Finish

This waterproof wood finish is oil-based and is a popular choice for all sorts of external wood applications. This waterproof sealant is highly resistant to sunlight, chemicals, and moisture. This varnish is good in areas such as railings and furniture. Once applied, the surface lasts longer and the appearance of wood is enhanced. This is a good product when discovering how to waterproof wood as it is very easy to apply.


  • A very fast and easy drying process
  • Protects against UV rays, water, salt, and molds
  • Increase the lifespan of your wood
  • Provides a strong and weather-resistant coat
  • Suitable for a wide range of outdoor wood surfaces
  • Enhances the appearance of wood with its shiny, clear coat


  • Overexposure can cause irritation to eyes and skin, or even lung damage
  • Has a shorter storage life
  • Discoloration due to overexposure to sunlight


Best Wood Oil: HOPE’S Tung OiL

This type of wood oil sinks and bonds well into the wood. It is a versatile oil that sinks deep into the wood pores and provides an external glow. This is your best choice in enhancing the natural appearance of your wood. It is made from natural ingredients and completely free from chemicals or solvents.

If you are looking forward to a 100% natural wood finish then consider tung oil. It penetrates smoothly into the wood and makes it highly resistant to moisture or any other threats. Tung oil is free from solvent and dangerous chemicals that may affect your health and the environment.


  • Fights against water or wet conditions
  • Lasts longer
  • Enhances the appearance of wood
  • It has strong adhesive qualities
  • The color or pigment stays the same over a long
  • Highly natural and free of organics, friendly to the environment
  • Adds beauty to the wood surface


  • More expensive when compared to other options like linseed oil
  • Requires many coats.
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Able to resist water but not able to waterproof completely



How to Waterproof Wood – Applying the Finish

The first process is properly preparing the wood surface by cleaning and sanding until it is ready for application. Wood oil finish must be applied on a platform that is absolutely clean and free of dust particles. You can make your own mixture by putting together several properties. For example make a mixture of oil (one portion), another portion of turpentine, and a half portion of apple cider vinegar.

This combination will make your surface strong and resistant to a number of weather challenges. When doing the application, use a clean cloth to put the oil on the surface. Make sure you do not leave gaps in between your applications. Avoid putting the waterproof on top of old paint but remove the old paint first before a new application.

You need to use the tools according to their specific areas, for example, use a brush to apply solvent-based solutions and a clean cloth specifically for sealants. We recommend a 24-hour gap for drying, and then sand the surface using medium-grit sandpaper. You can put any number of coats that will suit your expectations.

It is very important to read and understand the manufacturer’s guidelines before using any of the products and materials. There are so many different wood products, for example, pine, cedar, softwood, and oak. Each wood requires certain coats, meaning you must have the right type of tool to meet the requirements.

waterproof sealant for wood



How to Waterproof Wood for Bathrooms

Wondering how to waterproof wood for bathrooms? This can be a tricky area to work in. When you do the surface preparation here, make sure that the surface is left completely dry. You can put the piece outside in the presence of open-air and sun to allow it to dry. It is highly advised to prepare and work outside on the wood materials required for the bathroom. This is because the outside temperature should be more suitable.  This will also quicken the drying purposes.

Working in confined places with sealants is very dangerous both to the environment and to your health. There is the danger of damaging your lungs, eyes, and skin from overexposure to toxic components and chemicals. You should wear protective equipment, adhere to instructions and allow proper and free circulation of air.



How to Waterproof Wood Outdoors

The main reason for waterproofing outdoor surfaces is because these external surfaces are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. Waterproofing wood will protect the surfaces against cracks, warping, and peeling off. We advise you to go for wood with strong qualities for external application.

There is a wide range of wood materials available on the market, especially for use in the U.S.A. You might want to consider where you live first before purchasing wood. This is because certain wood materials work better in different environmental temperatures. If you are based in the western parts of the U.S.A, great wood is suitable for you.  For the Midwest, western red cedar works better for you, and for Eastern areas of the U.S.A; cypress will be your best choice.

waterproofing wood



Safety Precautions When Waterproofing Wood

Safety must be a top priority when processing and waterproofing wood. Always be aware of the safety of people, animals, and pets that live in the area. Solvent-based materials are very hazardous to your health and the environment. After waterproofing, clean the equipment in an appropriate cleaning product, and put on gloves that are able to resist chemical penetration to the skin.

It is your duty to take care of your natural environment be it humans, animals, or plants. If any injuries happen during the course of the process please seek advice from your doctor or the nearest health facilities. Below we have outlined some of the key measures that can help you to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you:

  • Ensure free movement of air
  • Ensure that the area is free of humans and animals before starting the process
  • Make sure there are no protrusions of nails to avoid injuries
  • Keep toxic and dangerous apparatuses away from kids and pets
  • Use goggles, face masks, overalls, and boots to maintain your safety
  • Some materials like solvent-based products are highly flammable. Keep these away from fire and heat sources
  • Make sure you properly dispose of used and unwanted materials to keep the environment safe

how to waterproof wood



Frequently Asked Questions


Are Wood Oils Waterproof?

There is a difference between water-resistance and waterproofing. Wood oils can prevent water or moisture penetration to a certain degree. However, they are not like wood sealants that completely stop water from entering wood materials.


Are Wood Waterproof Sealants Safe?

Solvent-based materials are dangerous and there is a need to use protective gear, for example, goggles, face masks, chemical resistant gloves, and boots. We recommend that you read and understand the manufacturers` instructions on how to safely handle the tools and materials. Always make sure there is free circulation of air and the operational environment is free of humans, pets, and dangerous objects.


Is it Possible to Put Indoor Sealers on External Platforms?

It is not possible to put an indoor sealer on outdoor surfaces because the materials used to make the indoor sealer are only able to resist internal conditions. If you put the sealers where they do not belong, your work will be ruined.


How Long Does it Take for a Waterproof Wood Finish to Dry?

There is no straightforward answer to this because there are a lot of factors that determine the time that takes a certain waterproof wood finish to set.  For example temperatures, type of oil, and so forth. Some finishes require a complete day and others take 2 weeks.


How Long Does Waterproof Wood Last?

Waterproof wood finish materials have a long life provided there is proper maintenance. For example, at times you have to renew the coats more often. The nature of the materials you use and how you process the waterproof determines how long your waterproof wood finish will last.


Is Waterproof Sealant Good for Wood?

Waterproof sealant works very well with wood as long as you use the correct application. It is also recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions so as to ensure your personal health and safety, for example, the use of goggles, masks, and the proper free circulation of air.


Wood is a magnificent material, but it requires plenty of care for a long life. There are various different options for waterproofing wood available. Follow our guide above on how to weatherproof wood, and make sure that your wood is finished properly – this will help you to enjoy a longer-lasting and more durable life from the wood.


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