Wood Preserves and Caring for Outdoor Wooden Furniture

Updated on January 5, 2017
Scarborough Bench by Woodcraft UK
Scarborough Bench by Woodcraft UK | Source

The harmful effects of weathering on your wooden furniture

During Autumn and Winter months your wooden garden furniture and patio furniture can take a beating from the elements. Damp conditions during Autumn can soak the wooden grain deeply with moisture which then causes damage as it freezes during Winter.

Most material expands when warmed and contracts when cooled. Wood, however, expands when soaked in water because water molecules are engrained in the wood molecules. When heated, water molecules in the wood obtain additional energy and escapes from the wood molecular structure and thus, the wood contracts. Add to this the natural expansion and contraction associated with hot and cold conditions and it is easy to see why wood eventually warps and splits. Old, patchy varnish blisters and won't protect your wooden garden furniture and paint flakes and fades.

It's time to protect your wooden garden furniture.

Often the best approach to protecting your wooden garden furniture is to prevent moisture from getting into it's pores whilst allowing the grain of the wood to breathe. Paint and varnishes can be harsh to your wood's lifespan and while they will protect from the elements, they can often render the wooden furniture with a dead look and never to regain that vibrant, natural finish it once had. Wood stains, on the other hand, may not protect at all and do little more than tone your wooden finish.

Wood preservatives come in all sorts of options. From 5 litre tins of clear wood preserver to coloured end grain lacquers, pesticides, anti fungi and insect repellants, there are so many types of wood preservatives that it is often hard to work out which ones you need for your job. Remember to think of the finish you require and aim for a general purpose, all round, high performance moisture repellant that coats and treats the wood and is absorbed rather than smothering the wood.

How do wood preservatives work?

Wood preservative contains bio chemicals that remove fungi and insects that discolour, harm and degrade wood. Chemical wood preservatives are classified as pesticides, so their use is strictly regulated by environmental regulations and quite rightly so. They should be handled and disposed of with care, following the instructions on the label. Aerosols should be disposed of by taking them to your local waste recycling centre and also make sure any glass or plastic bottles re-enter the recycling chain.

Water repellents are penetrating wood finishes containing oils, waxes and lacquers designed to prevent water from sinking into outdoor wooden furniture. Bacteria and small organisms that discolour or destroy wooden garden furniture depend upon water to survive, and a water-repellent treatment makes more difficult for them to survive, as long as it is continually applied to untreated wood annually. Water repellents also stabilize wooden garden furniture, reducing its tendency to split and warp.

Wood preservatives are primarily used for decking, outdoor benches, wooden garden tables, pergolas and gazebos that won't normally be painted. Applying an anti fungal wood preservative to all sides of a piece of outdoor wooden furniture before painting gives the best protection against decay and destruction and doesn't need to be reapplied until the wooden furniture needs a new coat of paint.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

What types of garden furniture should I treat?

Varieties of other outdoor wooden furniture include teak, oak, cedar, pine, and redwood. Wooden garden furniture made out of these woods must be treated with a preservative to prevent degrading of the wood, which can occur quickly if continually exposed to incumbent weather environments. Protecting this wood furniture with a water resistant stain, wood protective oil, and / or polyurethane is also recommended, however the manufacturers instructions must be strictly adhered to as misuse of these wooden care products can result in damage to your wooden garden furniture. Your local home and garden or DIY store will have many options from which to choose from, and they should be able to help you in selecting the most appropriate product to be reapplied regularly (check manufacturer's instructions for details).

All wooden garden furniture is susceptible to decay and rot if left in humid, damp, and shady areas for a long time. Wooden furniture that becomes saturated with rainwater is more likely to rot and warp, so using using waterproof protective covers when your furniture is not in use is recommended to keep your outdoor wooden patio furniture in tip top condition. The bases and bottoms of furniture legs are definitely the most susceptible when it comes to rain water and standing water damage . If your wood furniture is kept on the grass, at the poolside, or on a surface that collects an amount of rain water, the legs can become easily saturated and damaged and break over time. Covering the bottoms of each furniture leg with rubberised material or small sections of fencing material will help protect your furniture from rotting.

Types of Garden Furniture include:

  • Outdoor Chairs
  • Wooden Gazebos
  • Wooden Signs
  • Hardwood and Softwood Benches
  • Wooden Pergolas
  • Wooden Plaques & Engraved furniture
  • Wooden Patio Tables
  • Cabins & Shelters
  • Notice Boards
  • Solid Wood Gates
  • Hardwood Planters
  • Finger Posts
  • Wooden Sun Loungers
  • Hardwood Bollards

Gentle care

Whatever your approach to your outdoor furniture, make sure you protect it from the elements so that you can enjoy it for years to come. The more effort you put into it, the longer you will have to enjoy it. As time goes by, you will see a natural colouring and ageing of the wood which can be quite beautiful and will show your guests that you care very much for your garden.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)