How to Waterproof Wood Furniture for Outdoors

How to Waterproof Wood Furniture for Outdoors? Wooden furniture remains the oldest and best material for building houses. Also, some of the most appealing furniture, cabinets, and trim come from wood. But, wood needs protection from moisture and extreme humidity to survive swelling, rotting, and warping.

The good news is that wood can be protected quickly and at the same time enhance its natural appearance. This article will look at ways you can make wood waterproof to keep it safe from moisture. We are going to help you select the appropriate product and method for wood protection.
Essential tools and materials to waterproof wood furniture

The following materials are crucial to the process of waterproofing furniture for outdoor use.

  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Linseed oil
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Polyurethane coating
  • Bristle paintbrush
  • Wood varnish
  • Sealant
  • Wood stain
  • Lacquer

Three ways to waterproof wood furniture

How to Waterproof Wood Furniture for Outdoors

There are three safe methods used for wood waterproof. These methods can keep your wood from swelling, rotting for years to come.
Using Tung oil to develop a beautiful and protective hand-rubbed finish. The use of polyurethane, lacquer, or varnish to seal the wood. Finally, you can. Finish and waterproof wood at the same time using a stain-sealant combination.

When you want to select the approach that suits your wood furniture, remember that some steps work better for exterior surfaces while others fit furniture used indoors. Hence, we will look at the best approach to take depending on how you intend to use the wood furniture.

Create a warm oil finish

Linseed oil comes from the flax plant, and Tung oil from the Chinese Tung tree remains the starting point for almost all hand-rubbed oil finishes. It has been in use for centuries. This set of oils beautify and provide protection woods such as walnut and mahogany. Nonetheless, they are still used by many people today.

However, few improvements have been made to make the oil more effective. Mixing the oil with other ingredients boosts the time for dryness and removes stickiness. You can buy pre-blended Tung oil and linseed oil and combine them to get a customized finish. A typical hand-rubbed oil blend is made of one-part oil, one-part mineral spirit, and one-part polyurethane.

The following steps will help you apply the hand-rubbed oil effectively.

Read Also: Top 5 Best Sealer for Outdoor Wood Furniture (Review & Buyer’s Guide 2021)

Swirl the blend properly.

Apply the blend using a bristle paintbrush to dark-gained wood after it has been sanded and cleaned. If the wood you intend to waterproof has a lighter color, it would be best to forget about this method entirely. Common examples of wood to avoid using this method on are pine, ash. It would be best if you remembered that hand-rubbed oil often turns yellow after some time.

Allow the oil to soak into the surface. Then, reapply to any point that appears dried. Wipe the remaining oil off, rubbing well with a clean cloth to get rid of the excess.

Give the wood time to dry totally. This may mean you have to wait for few hours or overnight. The length of wait depends on the degree of oil in the mixture.

Sand the wood lightly using fine-grit sandpaper.

Finally, you should repeat the process using as many coats as possible until you get the desired finish on the wood furniture. As you become more familiar with oil-rubbed blends, you should feel free to perform experiments with the formula. To produce thicker products, lessen the number of mineral spirits. If you want more working time before the finish dries up, reducing the quantity of polyurethane.

With more experiments, you can develop different variants of customized blends. It is important to note that the oily range utilized to rub away extra oil is flammable, even when they are not near flame. The reason is the oil produces heat as it dries. Hence, it would be best to be cautious and have water nearby while working; as the rag becomes soggy, drip it in a bucket and continue using a clean rag.

Afterward, allow the rags to dry by hanging them separately. When they are dried, you can cast them away without any threat of combustion. However, rags should not be reused by you.

Make use of Sealants for Best Protection

The use of polyurethane, lacquer, and vanish make excellent sealers with unique waterproof ability. You can either brush or spray them on clean wood after being sanded and allowed to dry correctly. It would be best to apply this sealant after the piece of wood has been lightly sanded and recoated.

To get the desired effect, apply the finish at room temperature (25°C and 33°C). You should know that it is wrong to stir or shake sealants before use because that can lead to the production of air bubbles found on the surface, even after the sealant dries up. Also, it is essential to properly ventilate the sealant during application even though it dries quickly. We shall look at the advantages and disadvantages of prominent types of sealants.

Polyurethane Sealant

This form of sealant consists of acrylic and polyurethane resins alongside other solvents, which will help you decide your choice finish effect. Modern polyurethane won’t turn yellow; therefore, it is an excellent choice for light-toned wood furniture types. The oil-based type of polyurethane provides the most durability.

However, the brush cleanup process needs mineral spirit to work out. On the other hand, water-based polyurethane only needs to snap with soap and water.


This is a mixture of dissolved tree resin or synthetic resin in alcohol. It is an excellent sealant for wood furniture. Although it can create a yellow tinge after some time considered repulsive on lighter woods by most people, the sealant provides a rich, warm, and specially anti-scratch finish on wood furniture.

You can purchase a variety of sheen choices of lacquer sealant. Also, you can make it thinner using lacquer thinner, which will provide optimum results.

For best results, use lacquer several times in light coats. It would be best if you remembered that lacquer gives off more pungent fumes, so ventilation is crucial. Hence, it is essential to use it on wood furniture outdoors or under fans.

Use a stain-sealant Combination

When you are pressed for time or protect a vast project like a wood deck, opt for a quality stain-sealant combination. The use of these multitasking products brings color while bringing water resistance in one step. Stain-sealant products consist of color tint alongside borders, which may be made of oil, water, or alkyd-based.

The final result of the product can be transparent, opaque, or a mixture of both, depending on the concentration of the tint in the product. For wood furniture for outdoor use, you need to apply the stain sealant annually to ensure the wood is protected.

Besides the alkyd-based kind of stain sealant, they don’t build up on the surface of the wood. Instead, they soak in, and any extra evaporates. The alkyd-based stain sealant leaves a light coat on the wood surface. This quality of alky-based sealant makes them perfect for indoor and rustic wood furniture.

On the other hand, alkyd-based stain-sealers often peel if the wood is used outdoors and is not appropriately cleaned and dried before the sealant is applied.

How to Waterproof Furniture for Outdoor Use

The following steps will assist you in waterproofing furniture outdoors. Waterproofing wood is crucial because furniture showered on a rainy day will go wasted if not sufficiently cared for. Hence, exposure to water is the fastest way for furniture made of wood to rot. Therefore, wood furniture exposed to humid weather will weaken before it rots.

So you have to take steps to prevent your wood furniture from wearing out and rotting by making it waterproof. We shall look at ways to make your wood waterproof.

Select the best type of wood for your outdoor furniture

When you select the kind of furniture for outdoor purposes, ensure it comes from excellent wood. Taking this step will help you avoid stress on how to waterproof wood furniture later. Although it can be expensive, it will have better durability when exposed to the element. Common examples of wood for outdoor furniture are,

  • Cypress
  • Shorea
  • Mahogany
  • White oak
  • Teak
  • Redwood
  • Black locust
  • Ipe
  • Cedar
  • Acacia
  • Eucalyptus

Make use of Wood Filler

The first step to waterproof wood furniture for outdoor purposes is to use wood fillers. It is best not to replace a piece of wood furniture annually because we didn’t waterproof them. Fortunately, we can move against wood spoilage by using wood files in our furniture.

When wood fillers are used on scarcely damaged furniture, it can restore their beauty. Wood filers are best used when filling, sealing, and coating wood furniture to prevent water from coming into the holes and cracks found in it. When you discover some discolorations on the furniture, wood fillers can restore its appearance.

Apply to coat
When you get to this point, you are at the concluding process of waterproofing your wood furniture for outdoor purposes. It is best not to start this process without a face mask because you need to spray or paint. Here, you can use varnish, polyurethane, and lacquer to coat your furniture.

Make use of waterproof spray
Here, waterproofing spray can be effective against water penetration into cracks and holes in the wood furniture. You could leave this process if you purchased readymade furniture. This step can bring color and beauty to the furniture while withstanding liquid.

You can purchase waterproof spray online. Also, you don’t have to be a professional before you can use this hardware. All you have to do is spray it around your furniture and allow it dry. When it dries completely, your furniture will be ready to withstand moisture.

Sand it
After sealing cracks and holes in wood furniture, you need to sand it to make the lumps even. Sanding will assist you in accomplishing a fine finish on your furniture by running the additional sealant off. Also, it will help the coat to stick to the wood furniture surface. Ensure you use high-quality sandpaper to get a smoother texture.

Conclusion – How to Waterproof Wood Furniture for Outdoors

Once-in-awhile, we are guilty of using furniture outside the house when we either host a party or get together. However, the weather can truncate put dream – it can bring a flooding rain or toasting heat. Hence we have to do something to offer them protection from the elements of the weather.

One of the best ways to protect wood furniture is by waterproofing them. The various ways to waterproof wood furniture have been discussed above. Each of these methods will help you accomplish waterproofing your wood furniture, and they are not challenging to carry out either.
Therefore, you don’t need to hire a professional for the task.

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