How to protect exterior wood from weather

Wooden furniture brings an organic aesthetic touch that seamlessly integrates into outdoor backdrops – but it does demand protection, refinishing, and waterproofing against elements to preserve its attractive appearance.

Outodoor Woodworking
Source: familyhandyman

Why does outdoor wood need to be protected?

Throughout the year, outdoor wood furniture is subjected to temperature variations, dampness, rain, sunlight, wind, and a variety of other outdoor elements. As a result, outdoor furniture is more prone to cracking, scratching, discolouration, and deterioration than indoor wood furniture

All outdoor wood needs protection from the elements unless you want to let the wood age naturally. Though unprotected wood will soon surrender to mildew, or decay, and will have to be replaced. While all outdoor finishes ultimately break down and must be renewed, there are solutions that can be used to protect exterior wood and spruce up a weary surface to have it looking fine all year round.

Protecting Wood Furniture
Source: blogdecoraciones

So, this article focuses on how to protect outdoor furniture from various elements such as sun, rain, wind, and moisture, as well as what are the best treatments you can use to protect outdoor furniture and extend its lifespan.

So, let’s keep going!

6 basic ways to protect exterior wood

There are several methods to protect exterior wood from the changing weather:

  1. Painting furniture 
  2. Sealing furniture 
  3. Varnishing furniture 
  4. Changing the location of the furniture
  5. Covering
  6. Keep the furniture clean

1. Painting Wood Furniture for Outdoor Use

Paint is an excellent way to provide strong protection from the elements for your beloved wood furniture. Paint can prevent sunlight from penetrating the wood’s surface. Paint can also block UV rays and protect the wood beneath from discolouration and a variety of other issues. 

Latex paint provides better long-term protection for outdoor furniture than traditional oil-based paints. Latex paints are used for cosmetic repairs and are simple to apply. Latex paints come in a wide range of colours and can hide scratches. A good coat of paint will provide better protection against outdoor elements such as water and UV radiation. 

Painting Wood Furniture
Source: bricolaje10

Even after painting, you should inspect your wood for scratches, dents, peelings, and fading every few months and reapply the paint all over the surface.

I’ve listed the benefits and drawbacks of using paint to protect outdoor furniture from the elements. 

Pros

  • Any colour is possible
  • UV protection is provided.
  • Offer moisture protection.
  • There is no need for routine maintenance.

Cons

  • The look of real wood is difficult to achieve.
  • It takes a long time to apply.

Because wood loses its natural colour, some people prefer to use other methods to protect it from the elements. So, let’s take a look at how sealing outdoor wood furniture can help protect it from the elements.

2. Sealing Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, sealing is extremely useful. Water will be kept out of your outdoor wood furniture if you use a sealer. 

The majority of the time outdoor furniture deteriorates due to moisture and rain. Water molecules easily penetrate the wood and cause a slew of problems. The natural look of the wood will never fade if water sealant is used instead of paint. Water sealant is transparent and, unlike other protectors, does not change the colour of the wood. 

Best Sealer For Outdoor Wood Furniture
Source: woodworkingclarity

Never leave a piece of wood furniture unfinished. Fill all cracks by sealing underneath, joints, and even the bottoms of the legs. 

Most importantly, sealants not only protect your outdoor wood furniture from moisture but also allow damp wood contained within the sealant to dry faster. This will keep the wood from rotting, splitting, or warping.

You can use the following popular sealants for this task:

  • Polyurethane sealant
  • Lacquer

As you can see, sealing outdoor wood furniture provides better overall protection while preserving the natural appearance of the wood. So, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of sealing outdoor furniture.

Pros

  • Protect wood from moisture
  • High durability
  • Give a rich warm unique look to the wood
  • Scratch resistance

Cons

  • Take a lot of time to apply
  • Yellowing
  • Brush cleaning is difficult and necessitates the use of turpentine or spirits.
  • Strong fumes can be harmful to one’s health.

3. Varnishing the Furniture for Outdoor Use

Varnishing is also a type of sealing, but there is a lot more to know about varnishing. You can protect exterior wood furniture from moisture by varnishing it because it is water-resistant

Varnish is widely regarded as the superior alternative to sealing or painting. Varnish will not change the colour of your wood furniture and will leave it looking natural

Wood Impregnator

UV rays, which are one of the most damaging to wood and its appearance, can be absorbed by the varnish layer. Varnish protects wood furniture from sun damage by absorbing UV rays. This will keep the wood from discolouring and extend its life. 

We advise using marine varnish for outdoor furniture because it is more water-resistant than other types of varnish. For example, spar varnish is the best choice for indoor furniture.

So, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of varnishing outdoor wood furniture to protect it from the elements.

Pros

  • Keep the natural wood colour
  • Give protection from UV
  • Protect from moisture
  • Easy to apply
  • Brushstrokes aren’t visible

Cons

  • Consistent application is required.Less resistant than polyurethane sealants
  • Dries slowly
  • Bubbles can give hard time when applying

4. Changing Location of the Furniture

This is what we usually do when we suspect that furniture has been damaged due to extreme weather conditions. This is the best option if you have plenty of space in your garden or other outdoor area and a lot of places to keep your favourite furniture. 

No sealant, paint, varnish, or shellac provides complete protection from the elements. As a result, we advise you to avoid storing wooden furniture that is exposed to direct sunlight, high moisture levels, and other extreme weather conditions, because wood is extremely sensitive to outdoor elements and has very little natural protection

To avoid harsh weather conditions, store your outdoor furniture inside your garage during the winter. Because winter is full of moisture, many finishers, sealants, and paints cannot withstand and provide the same protection as they did in other seasons during winter. So, it’s your responsibility to relocate furniture to a safe location, especially during the winter. 

Aside from moving furniture around, you can create some shades to keep direct sunlight from hitting the wood surface. This will protect the furniture from UV damage, and shades can absorb or reflect 90% of UV rays, allowing only visible light to pass through.

Garden Cover

So, let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of moving the furniture to protect it from the elements.

Pros

  • Protect from UV rays
  • Protect from extreme moisture conditions
  • Protect from winter harsh conditions

Cons

  • Difficult to move heavy furniture
  • Not all furniture can be moved frequently
  • Furniture can be damaged during movement

5. Covering

Covering outdoor wood furniture is a simple way to protect it from the elements. We also advise you covering your outdoor furniture, especially in harsh weather conditions, even if paint or sealant has been applied previously. 

The furniture will be physically protected from moisture, rain, UV rays in sunlight, and other bad weather conditions if properly covered. 

For this task, you can use patio furniture covers, protective mantles, or other fabrics. However, make sure to get them in the correct sizes to completely cover your furniture. When outdoor wood furniture is not in use, it must be covered

Normal roofs or roofs with UV filters also provide excellent protection from outdoor elements such as rain and sunlight.

So, here are some advantages and disadvantages of covering your outdoor furniture to protect it from the elements.

Pros

  • Protect from UV rays
  • Protect from rain

Cons

  • Applicable only when furniture is not in use
  • Less resistant from moisture

As you can see, while covering is a good way to protect your wood furniture, covering without first applying paint or sealer is not a good idea. Covering is a bonus that strengthens the shield of furniture against outdoor elements.

6. Keep the Furniture Clean

Outdoor furniture requires regular cleaning not only to protect it from the elements but also to ensure that it lasts a long time. Wood deteriorates as a result of mud, mold, and dirt

Even if the furniture is fully covered or painted, cleaning is required. Dirt and mud can quickly accumulate on the wooden surface, causing rot

For small amounts of dust, simply blow it away with a tack or microfiber cloth. Tack cloth can pick up every last bit of dust and completely clean the surface. For a larger amount of dirt, use the method outlined below. 

protect exterior wood
Source: chrislovesjulia

Soak a sponge in soap water and wash carefully until soap residues are rinsed away with a sponge, mild dish soap, and warm water. Allow the furniture to dry completely before repositioning it. 

When we consider the drawbacks of keeping the furniture clean, there are none. So cleaning provides numerous benefits with no drawbacks.  

Summary

We can not control the weather conditions, but we can certainly protect exterior wood from varying weather. There are a lot of ideas and techniques available to guard the wood against all conditions and make it available for use in outdoor spaces.

We looked into every possible way to protect the wood from the elements. We’ve talked about the best sealants to use to provide the best overall protection for your wood furniture. Aside from that, we’ve discussed how changing the covering and location of your furniture can help it last a long time.

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