How To Waterproof Painted Wood Furniture For Outdoors (3 Effective Methods)

We all want to own long-lasting wooden furniture, right? But, unfortunately, when wood furniture is used outdoors, they quickly rot and crack due to the effects of the weather. So if you want to use wood furniture outdoors, it is necessary to waterproof them to increase durability.

Today, we’ll cover how to waterproof painted wood furniture for outdoors. So let’s dive right in! 

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3 Methods Of Waterproofing Painted Wood Furniture for Outdoors

To waterproof wood furniture, you can apply one of three ways:

  • Apply natural oils
  • Use Clear Coat Sealers
  •  Apply an All-In-One Stain & Sealer

1. Waterproof Outdoor Wood Furniture With Natural Oils

Common Natural Oils

  • Linseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is prevalent because of its environmental friendliness. Besides, its moisture resistance is perfect. Moreover, it can highlight the natural beauty of wood. However, on the downside, it does not provide a strong layer of protection.

There are three types of linseed oil: raw linseed oil, boiled linseed oil, and polymerized linseed oil.

Raw linseed oil provides the best natural look and protection for wood furniture. However, each coat requires at least two weeks to dry.

Boiled linseed oil contains additional ingredients that significantly reduce drying time. But, unfortunately, they also emit harmful VOCs.

Polymerized linseed oil includes the advantages of the two above. Specifically, it dries quickly and is VOC-free. In addition, you can apply multiple coats of polymerized linseed oil within two to three days.

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  • Tung Oil

Tung oil is a non-toxic finish for wooden furniture. It is eco-friendly and dries as quickly as polymerized linseed oil. However, its moisture & scratches resistance is better. Overall, it is the perfect choice for maple and other light woods.

Materials & Tools Needed

  • Linseed oil or tung oil
  • High-quality bristle paintbrush
  • Clean rags

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Use a bristle paintbrush to apply a thin layer of oil to your furniture; Make sure that the oil covers the entire surface of the furniture. Then use mineral water to clean the bristle paintbrush.
  • Step 2: After the furniture has absorbed the oil, use a clean rag to wipe the wood surface. Then place the rags in a bucket of water to prevent them from igniting on their own.
  • Step 3: Allow your furniture overnight to dry totally.
  • Step 4: Apply a second or third coat if you want. Allow each coat to dry for half an hour before applying another coat.
  • Step 5: After finishing the last coat, allow your furniture to dry for at least one day.

2. Waterproof Outdoor Wood Furniture With Clear Coat Sealers

Commons Clear Coat Sealers

Clear coat sealers do not penetrate the wood as easily as very natural oils; Instead, they form a hard and shiny coating atop the wood; So they help protect the wood from moisture and scratches. 

However, this coating will peel off over time. Furthermore, clear coat sealers contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are potentially hazardous to the user.

  • Polyurethane

Polyurethane can form a thin coat atop the wood. This coat is waterproof and resistant to dents and scratches. Polyurethane is available in two forms: water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane. However, only oil-based products are suitable to apply to outdoor furniture. Unfortunately, It has high levels of VOCs.

  • Varnish

Varnish can form a flexible coat that is not easily cracked in harsh conditions. Therefore, its ability to resist moisture and UV rays is unparalleled. However, you will have to spend a lot of time and effort when applying it.

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  • Lacquer

Lacquer can create a durable and scratch-resistant coat. Besides, it can provide extremely high gloss for furniture. However, lacquer tends to become discolored over time. Moreover, it contains large amounts of VOCs.

Materials & Tools Needed

  • Protective equipment: protective or respirator mask.
  • Polyurethane, oil-based varnish, or lacquer.
  • High-quality bristle paintbrush.

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Wear a respirator mask; Make sure your work area is well ventilated.
  • Step 2: Use Bristle Paintbrush to cover a thin layer of polyurethane (or lacquer, varnish) to the wood furniture.
  • Step 3: Allow your wood furniture overnight to dry totally.
  • Step 4: Apply additional coats in the same way; Recommended: Two coats of lacquer or polyurethane and eight coats of varnish. Allow each coat to dry totally before applying the other coat.
  • Step 5: After applying the final coat, allow your furniture to dry for at least one day.

3. Waterproof Outdoor Wood Furniture With All-In-One Stain & Sealer 

Applying an all-in-one stain & sealer is a great solution to protect your furniture from water and UV rays. Moreover, it adds rich color to your furniture as well. But, like clear coat sealers, they contain VOCs.

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Materials & Tools Needed

  • Protective equipment: Protective or respirator mask.
  • High-quality bristle paintbrush.
  • Oil-based all-in-one stain + sealer.

Step-by-step Guide

  • Step 1: Wear a respirator mask and work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Step 2: Use Bristle Paintbrush to cover a coat of all-in-one stain + sealer to your furniture. After that, use mineral water to clean your bristle paintbrush.
  • Step 3: Allow your wood furniture overnight to dry totally.
  • Step 4: Apply other coats in the same way.
  • Step 5: After applying the final coat, allow your furniture to dry for at least twenty-four hours.

For an insight into how to seal & protect painted outdoor furniture, check out this video.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I protect the wood from UV rays?

All of the above methods can protect your wooden furniture from UV rays. However, we highly recommend water-based polyurethane and water-based lacquer for use in indoor furniture. In addition, tung oil or linseed oil is highly effective on stained outdoor furniture.

2. Should I waterproof wood before painting?

It is not necessary to waterproof the wood before painting. Instead, it is wise to use exterior-rated primer and paint. By applying both primer and paint to wooden furniture properly, you will achieve the expected results.

3. How often should I oil my wood furniture?

If the wooden furniture is well protected, it is best to oil it once a year. Conversely, if it is frequently exposed to the elements, you should oil them twice per year or more.

4. Can varnish protect painted wood?

Varnish can be applied to preserve, protect, and enhance paint. According to professionals, the water-based varnish is the best pick to use over paint.

5. Can you use gloss paint on outdoor wood?

The short answer is yes.

Gloss paint is suitable for applying over gloss paint. Once it dries, it allows the furniture to be waterproof and withstand both hot and cold temperatures.

In summary, learning how to waterproof painted wood furniture for outdoors is essential to protect your furniture from moisture and UV rays. 

Bottom Line

It is wise to use tung oil or linseed oil to give the furniture a natural look. Besides, if you want to preserve the color and grain of the wood, apply high-quality clear coat sealers. On the other hand, an all-in-one stain + sealer is a perfect pick for adding a stain color and protecting the furniture.