How to Waterproof Wood (Indoor & Outdoor)

Taking care of the environment should be our first priority;


So, do you want to make your wood waterproof? We all know we must protect the wood from water for its natural beauty and strength. Needless to say, that wood can easily absorb water and there is a huge chance of damage and decay.

To avoid this kind of problem or damage to your wood, we need to learn how to make wood waterproof correctly. With some authentic waterproofing methods, we can reduce the wood’s weakness of water.

In our home wood is everywhere, on the kitchen floor, in the bathroom and bedroom, and outdoors in the garden as well. In this article, you will learn the easy method to protect your woods for years. 

Why Do We Need to Waterproof Wood?

Moisture is the most common thing which can damage the wood but apart from moisture, UV lights, insects, and extreme temperatures also attack the wood.

Waterproofing your wood is also important to protect the natural beauty and color of the wood. When you are waterproofing any of your deck or patio, you are adding some beautiful colors too. 

Waterproofing is important to prevent: 

  • Warping, Cracking, wear & tear.
  • Splitting, wood breakdown, stains
  • Mildew, scratches, heavy foot traffic. 
  • Frost, Deterioration, moisture damage. 

Some wood may not require finishing but some are easily affected by the weather. Outdoor woods and wooden fences are the best examples of this kind of weather-exposed wood. Paint is a good option to protect your woods but honestly, this is the temporary solution. 

Also Read: How to Install a Smart Light Switch 

What Are the Benefits of Waterproofing Wood?

It’s essential to protect your wood from moisture or outdoor elements, especially outdoor woods. Many people think that they will choose water-resistant woods and they can save their wood from damage.

But that’s half true, water resistance has severe limitations and shows results in the long term. Waterproofing your wood gives great protection against outdoor conditions like UV lights.

If you are thinking about the overall long-term durability of your wood then waterproofing the unavoidable. Moisture can eat up the strength of your wood if it is left untreated. This also reduces the cost of repairing if you do waterproofing on time.

How to Waterproof Wood With Oil

how to make wood waterproof with oil

Let’s talk about the first thing first which is our classic waterproofing method, this is a special kind of oil that is designed for only this purpose. You find some popular oil options in the market like walnut oil, tung, linseed, etc.

If you want a rich look with a dark appearance then you should give try mixing tung and linseed oils for waterproofing. But do not forget this mixture is only a solution for waterproofing not for the durability of the wood.

It doesn’t matter whether you mix the oils or purchase a ready-made mix oil but make sure you purchase a high-quality product. I recommended this high-quality natural finishing Tung oil which I found on Amazon.

This is a bit expensive in this pure foam but this oil will protect your wood from moisture and brings out the real beauty of the wood. On the other hand, we have alternative linseed oil and this is affordable and cheap in comparison to tung oil. 

A high-quality product like the above waterproofing oil will retain its quality for a long period of time without any problem. While applying the oil to wood, give some time to observe for better results. 

How to Waterproof Wood With Sealant

This is the second and most famous method of waterproofing and many house owner use this method. Variety of chemically formulated sealers out there in the market.

Manufacturers add ingredients such as varnish and lacquer in their sealant and also give an attractive finish. Quick dry time is another reason that makes sealant a great choice for waterproofing for both indoor and outdoor wood.

You will have to prepare a wood surface where you want to apply this sealer like the oil method. I recommend using sandpaper for a smooth surface ready for sealing.

You will require some additional equipment such as a paintbrush or paint sprayer. I found this best quality paint brush for waterproofing on Amazon and Advance paint sprayer for good results.

Keep this thing in mind you have to apply this sealant a room temperature, above temperature can affect the strength of the sealant. After applying the sealant you have to give it some time to absorb for better results. 

How to Waterproof Wood With Stain and Sealer

How to Waterproof Wood With Stain and Sealer

Stain-sealer and regular sealers are the same product but only have some minor differences. This stain-sealer is used for large products such as wood desks; this product will help you add color and provide water resistance.

I will suggest you use this product when you want to prevent more than moisture damage. Quick drying time is the best thing I like personally in this product. 

How to use stain and sealer for outdoor woods:

  • First, clean your wood and apply a stain seal on the sanded surface with the help of a brush or paint sprayer. 
  • Now, let your wood fully dry for at least 24 hours. 

We discussed the benefits of stain-sealer but it also has some drawbacks. You’ll have to use this stain and sealer every year (it depends on the climate). Wood soaks the oil and water-based stain-sealants but access vaporizes.

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How to Waterproof Wood Using Laminate

Waterproof laminate is something new and trading in the market today, you should try this if you do not want to stain or seal your wood. But let me tell you one thing, this laminate thing you can use only indoor woods. 

  • Cost: Just like the standard laminate, waterproof laminate costs you the same. $2 to $3 per square foot you will have to pay and for a 2000 sq ft. home, you will have to pay $4000 to $6000. And, this is worthy. 
  • Durability: Waterproof laminate is not only protecting your wood but it gives you a guarantee of durability for a longer period of time. 
  • Installation: Installing waterproof laminate is simple like normal laminate. What you need to do is slide one piece into the prior piece and lock it together before pressing it down on the floor. 

How to Make Wood Waterproof for Outdoors

how to make wood waterproof outdoor

Hard UV rays, heavy rain, and unpredictable temperature can damage our outdoor furniture or wood. That simply means we need to protect our outdoor wood in such a way that will increase its lifespan. So, here are some simple steps to make your outdoor wood waterproof:

  • You will require some simple materials to make your outdoor wood waterproof: sandpaper, varnish, and sealant.
  • Now, clean your wood with a damp, soft cloth. Sand the wood to remove dirt or dust as well as old varnish. Sanding will make the surface rough and which will help to make the varnish & sealant stick better.
  • Now it’s time to apply a sealant over the outdoor wood and let it dry completely for better results. 
  • Once the sealant is dried, sand the outdoor wood again for the varnish to stick better when applied. 
  • Apply a smooth layer of varnish, for a smooth layer use regular and continuous movement but avoid more than once on the same spot. 
  • Let the varnish dry before applying another coat.
  • I recommend using at least three layers of varnish coating to waterproof your outdoor wood for long-lasting. But let your varnish dry before applying another coat. 

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 Waterproof Wood Sealer Indoor

Indoor wood does not need heavy-duty waterproofing in comparison to outdoor waterproofing but you have to protect your indoor wood from moisture. And, I am talking about the surface of the bathroom and kitchen.

A number of products are available in the market for interior wood but I tried only the environmentally friendly tool which is tung oil. It requires a little more care than the other tools but trust me the result is worth the effort. 

  • Remove the dirt with a soft and damp cloth, and clean the surface thoroughly. 
  • Now, apply tung oil on the wood with the help of a brush or paint sprayer for a smooth layer.
  • To wipe off the excess oil using a rug. 
  • Let the wood absorb the oil and once it dries, apply another smooth layer of oil.  3 layers of protection is enough for your wood to avoid moisture.

Waterproofing Wood Paint

Scientifically, yes paint can waterproof the wood but not in the long run. If somehow you do not paint the wood thoroughly and cracks appear on the wood that means water can easily reach the wood. Below are a few tips to increase the longevity of the woods:

  • Paint the Complete Wood: Whenever you are planning to paint any product of wood for example desk then do not leave a single place uncovered. And the reason behind this is, wood soaks the moisture from the air.
  • Use Primer Before Painting: Using a primer before painting the wood has two benefits, first one is, it will seal the wood before painting. The second benefit is it will help the paint to stick better on the wood. I recommend you not use water-based primers for waterproofing the wood. 
  • Use High-Quality Exterior Paint: A high-quality exterior paint is developed to remain long-lasting in any weather condition. Oil-based exterior paint is durable and protects your wood from moisture. 

Question & Answer on How to Waterproof Wood

How do you permanently waterproof wood?

You should mix two high-quality oils tung and linseed oil to protect your wood for a longer period of time. Second, the sealer is the most famous method to waterproof the wood because it is formulated with varnish and lacquer. The last method is for large wood products such as desks, and stain-sealer, this also dries quickly and gives a good result.

How do you waterproof wood naturally?

For waterproofing wood naturally use tung oil or linseed oil both are the best. You also can use both of them (mix both oils) or else you can purchase a ready-to-use product. I must say you will be surprised when this oil brings beauty to your wood project.

Will polyurethane make wood waterproof?

Polyurethane is formulated to make your wood waterproof, polished-looking, and weather resistant. This is an oil-based resin that is used to coat the wood. They are available in the market in large numbers, so always choose the right product for your project.


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