Outdoor timber is a great addition to your garden, but if you don’t treat it properly, it isn’t likely to last as long as you want it too. There are many mistakes you can make when treating your wood that can leave your wood vulnerable to damage and hazards. The weather in the UK is unpredictable at the best of times and so it is important your decking, outdoor furniture and other outdoor wood is treated correctly. Here, Timber 2 U Direct break down the do’s and don’ts of sealing and treating your outdoor timber so you are ready for whatever the weather throws at you.
DO wait a month before sealing a deck
If you have just installed a new decked area in your garden, we would recommend waiting to seal it. This is because the preservatives in most woods take 30 days to dwell before they can soak up sealant. Once the 30 days are up, pour some water on the wood. If the water beads up, you will need to wait a little longer as the wood is still too wet to seal. If the water is absorbed, it’s time to seal your decking. Once you have conducted this test, you must seal quickly to avoid any damage occurring from UV or other elements.
DON’T confuse your paint, stain, and sealant
All three have different functions and levels of protection for your outdoor timber.
Paint can either be latex or oil based and can be used on your furniture and decking to protect against UV and moisture. We would recommend also using sealant alongside paint, as paint doesn’t offer the highest level of protection. The paint will likely bubble and chip after a small amount of time, making the maintenance of your outdoor timber harder. It is important you don’t use just paint as a sealant.
Stain offers moderate protection from moisture; however, it adds colour to your furniture and decking without having to paint and can help to protect the wood from any UV damage.
A sealants main job is to keep moisture out of the wood. It usually contains waterproof and water repellent elements that are thicker and more protective than stains. They are less effective against UV rays. There are stain and sealant combination products available that provide both protection from moisture and UV. You can also stain the deck, wait 48 hours, and then apply a sealant. This will give you a similar level of protection.
DO reapply your sealant and stain
If you want a continued level of protection for your outdoor timber, you will have to ensure you apply a sealant and stain every year. The weather in the UK means that the protectants can wear away quicker than expected, especially if your area is prone to higher rainfall. It may be possible to leave it two, maybe three years, but it is always worth checking and keeping an eye on it – if you can tell there is some damage or issues, fix and deal with them sooner rather than later to prevent them from escalating.
DON’T seal in bad weather
This may sound like a trivial thing, but ensure the weather is good before sealing your timber. You will want to seal on a day that isn’t too hot as the sealant can evaporate before the wood has had a chance to absorb it. This makes spring, or a nice autumn day, the best time to seal any outdoor timber furniture.
Applying sealant to wood that is wet, damp, or frosty is also not ideal and can leave the surface of your project uneven and unprotected. To avoid this, pick a day at least 24 hours after any bad rainfall.
DO use the proper tools
Tools for sealing timber can make all the difference to the effectiveness of your sealant. You can use a roller, a paint brush, or a paint sprayer to apply, but you must make sure that the entire surface area of your deck or piece of furniture is covered and gets the correct amount of sealant. Doing so will guarantee no moisture can get in. When applying, make sure not to apply more than one coat at a time as this can oversaturate the surface. You will most likely only need one coat for your project but if you do need a second one, wait at least 24 hours before applying it.
DON’T go mad with a pressure washer on decking
If you are looking after your decking, as tempting as it is, don’t go crazy on the pressure washing. It may save time but if it is too powerful, it can leave your decking looking rough and damaged. We recommend sweeping the nozzle at an angle about 8 inches from the surface and moving it continually whilst it is on. This way the clean will be even and, the pressure will not cause damage to the surface of your decking.
DO sand your furniture before sealing
To ensure you get a nice even surface, sand down your furniture before you seal or stain it. Hand sanding is recommended as it will allow you to control the amount of sanding you do. Make sure you have wiped away all the excess sanding before you seal or paint your furniture.
Now you’re prepared to prep outdoor timber properly, it’s time to purchase that wood for that project you haven’t started. Here at Timber 2 U Direct, the online trading arm of Brooks Bros LTD, we have a range of made-to-measure timber available for you to purchase. We will even deliver it directly to your doorstep from one of our yards across the country so there’s no need to worry about fitting it in your car!