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Posted by Michael Whalen on 3/21/2023 to

How to Choose the Right Coating for Your Industrial Application 

Many people assume wood no longer serves many industrial purposes – but that couldn't be further from the truth. While some primitive materials such as bone and hide seldom find their way into industrial usage in the 21st century, wood's great strength, affordability and versatility make it a perfect material to facilitate a wide range of industrial applications. 

Likewise, although wood treatments are commonly associated with decks and log homes, they are no less indispensable to the many industries that utilize wood as part of their day-to-day operations. There is a wide selection of wood treatments available, which can make picking the ideal coatings for industrial applications seem like a daunting task. It shouldn't be! Here are the right coatings for several of the most popular industrial uses for wood. 

Box Cribbing 

Cribbing is used to make temporary wooden structures and provide support to heavy objects during construction and other heavy-duty work. Grade 1 lumber provides the greatest support, and it does not lose strength so long as its moisture content does not rise above 19%. Any wood is bound to get weaker relative to the amount of water it absorbs – a natural phenomenon you should strongly take into consideration when you are depending on the material to bear tremendous amounts of weight. 

Coating cribbing so that it isn't threatened by significant moisture absorption can help to prevent a disastrous collapse. Because cribbing is treated relatively roughly during its regular usage, a layer of durable and water-resistant oil-based polyurethane finish is optimal. It will take longer to dry than the water-based alternative, but it typically requires fewer applications. 

Equipment Saddles 

Saddles aren't just for Kentucky Derby winners. When they are made of solid wood, the sturdy support systems are designed to keep large machinery and heavy equipment positioned correctly during transport. 

Oak (and especially white oak) is commonly used to create equipment saddles owing to its superior resistance to compression. Hardy white oak is also virtually impervious to moisture infiltration, which makes coating equipment saddles strictly optional. The utilitarian devices typically aren't exposed to the elements or designed with the intention of looking impressive, so you may confidently leave them untreated. 

Foundation Pilings 

Foundation pilings are often made of steel or concrete, although wood is frequently used for buildings such as agricultural pole barns. These long beams are understandably made of very strong wood, although their partial subterranean installation does mean they do well with added protection against moisture. 

Foundation pilings are often invisible once construction has been completed. Alternatively, the purely utilitarian function of the completed building may not demand an aesthetically pleasing wood finish. For that reason, adhering a polymer coat to pressure-treated foundation pilings has become standard practice. In addition to providing outstanding water-resistance, polymer coating can ward off wood-boring insects for as many as 25 years. 


Stoplogs are used to adjust the discharge or water level in a reservoir or other hydraulic engineering structure. Although metal stoplogs are popular, their enormous weight makes them virtually impossible for a single operator to lift on their own. For this reason, redwood and cypress are still frequently used to manufacture stoplogs. 

Both of those woods can do without treatment when they are used in residential applications. But because a stoplog must endure constant exposure to moisture, waterproofing treatment can help to significantly prolong its lifespan. For this reason a marine-grade penetrating wood sealer works well on stoplogs. Alternatively, you may use a waterproofing membrane comprised of elastomeric fluid and copolymer adhesive. 

Marine Fenders 

No industrial dock is complete without marine fenders – i.e. wooden bumpers that save ships' hulls from getting scraped and dented. Because it must withstand constant abrasion, exposure to moisture, and attacks by wood-boring organisms, marine fenders tend to receive the best protection when they receive the same coatings recommended for stoplogs. 

Regardless of whether the dock is surrounded by freshwater or saltwater, marine-grade stain is optimal for timber fender system. A water-based product will have the least impact on the environment, and one which contains zinc particles will provide added protection against ultraviolet rays. 

At Lovitt's Coatings, we understand that picking the ideal stain and sealer for your log home or cabin can be a confusing process. When it comes to industrial applications – where far more than the value of a single home is at stake – selecting the ideal coating can feel even more stressful. But it doesn't have to be. Contact us today and our friendly and knowledgeable team will make certain you have the products that ensure total success!