Wood is a great material to use in building projects, from furniture and decks to log homes. Not only does wood have a classic look that never goes out of style, but it is also strong and easy to maintain. Many homeowners who have a wood deck or other exterior wood on their home know they must regularly re-seal this wood to keep it safe from weather, UV rays or insects. However, some people assume that they should do this immediately after a wood deck or other wood exterior on their home is installed. This is not always the case. Some woods, such as pressure-treated wood, needs to go through a process called “weathering” before it can successfully be sealed.

What is Wood Weathering?

Wood weathering may sound like a difficult process or an additional step to add to your to-do list, but it is actually quite simple. Pressure-treated woods contain preservatives to prevent wood rot and insect damage; however, these woods still need additional protection to prevent damage related to sun, weather and other pests. Because of these preservatives, as well as how the wood is stored, pressure-treated wood has a high moisture content. If the wood is already high in moisture, it may have difficulty accepting more liquids, such as sealant. After a new deck or other exterior wood area is installed, allow the wood to weather by waiting about 30 days before staining or sealing. This gives the wood time to dry out and lowers the moisture content of the wood.

Why does wood need to be weathered?

Wood that has been pressure-treated often has a higher moisture content than wood that has received a ADAT (air-dried after treatment) or KDAT (kiln-dried after treatment.) Pressure-treated wood contains preservatives to prevent rot and insect damage. Because of this and the way the wood is stored, it is retaining more water and other liquids when it is purchased. Giving the wood about 30 days to dry out after it is installed will allow the wood to better accept stain or sealant, which will provide greater protection long term and will also create a better appearance in the stain or seal.

How to tell if your wood has weathered

The general rule of thumb is to wait approximately 30 days after a wood deck or other exterior wood project is installed before sealing the wood. This give the wood time to release the moisture and preservatives it is retaining to allow the wood to correctly absorb the sealant. But variations in temperature, climate, humidity and wood types can cause this 30-day window to vary. So how do you know when your wood has been properly weathered and you can apply the sealant?

Drop a small amount of water on the wood. If the water pools or beads up without absorbing into the wood, the wood needs longer to weather. This demonstrates that the wood is not absorbing new liquids, and sealant applied during this time might not absorb into the wood fibers. However, if the water is absorbed into the wood within the first 10 minutes, the wood is ready to accept new liquids. Now it is time to apply sealant!

The weathered look

Just like with fashion, certain trends circulate through the wood home and furniture industry. One trend that seems to be very popular these days is the weathered wood look. You have probably seen this look in antique shops, vintage cafes or even in a friend’s home. In this trend, the wood is weathered, either through an intentional artificial process or by being left outdoors untreated for extended periods of time, and then used in projects. This could include wood furniture that is intentionally painted and stained to look “weathered,” giving it a vintage look, or even slats from an old barn that are used in a decorating project. This process is different from letting pressure treated boards “weather” before staining them, however, and is more a style of staining or building to recreate a vintage look.

Are you ready to stain or seal your wood deck or other external wood project? Contact the team at Lovitt’s Coating to get all the supplies you need to complete your project. Our team are experts on log homes, wood furniture and wood decks, so you can ensure you are getting the right product for your job.