How to protect your external wood for the winter

Published Wednesday 11th January 2017

When the weather is windy, wet and gloomy, it’s time to think about protecting your external wood to prevent weather damage. Of course, wood can be damaged at any time of the year but its particularly important to ensure protection throughout the winter months.

Wood’s worst enemy is, of course, water. Therefore it’s important to ensure your wood has adequate protection. Mould will also cause damage if there are any areas exposed to the elements. This is the trickiest to treat once it has happened so ensure you take precautionary measures to prevent it.

It’s important to prepare your wood as early as possible in the year and then keep an eye on it throughout the cold, damp season for potential problem areas.

Inspect the wood each season to ensure you do not miss any cracks or unpainted areas. Dry rot can cause a lot of damage to wood so ensure you spot any potential problem areas before they arise and cover them completely with preserver or wood paint.

Waterproofing is key

Products that best protect exterior wood should be waterproof. Some waterproof coatings can actually prevent fungus and mould while still allowing the wood to breathe.

Steps to preparing your wood

Clean your wood thoroughly with soap and water ahead of applying any product. Then let the wood dry. Wood treatment products will only work if the wood is clean and dry to begin with. Use warm, soapy water and sponge off any residue. You could also use a cloth or a brush but don’t use a steel brush or anything too abrasive as this may damage the wood.

Different coatings

Wood treatment products should be applied liberally to ensure it soaks into every crevice of the wood especially around natural cracks. Preservative treatments prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria which enables the wood to last longer in harsh weather conditions.

Damage prevention

When leaves gather and pile up on your outside wood, be sure to sweep them away to prevent mould or damp from building. Don’t let leaves clog up the gaps in between the wood either. Ensure you clean the gaps regularly to prevent build up.

Wash down your external wood regularly and as soon as you notice stains. In order to prevent this from damaging the wood permanently, clean it off with a stiff metal brush. Its good practice to wash your wood regularly using one of these brushes whether there are noticeable stains or not.

More tips

  • Wood treatments can break down and become worn. When this happens sand it off and reapply.
  • Each product needs a different amount of time in between fresh applications.
  • Stains and protectors both need replenishing – read the advice on the product label to ensure you are updating the coating as often as necessary. It might be advisable to do this before winter so it has adequate time to dry off ahead of bad weather.
  • To prevent unwanted water stains developing, elevate potted plants to stop them from making marks when it rains.

Make sure you follow the necessary steps to prepare your external wood for winter as well as continue to maintain the treatment throughout this period. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any potential problem areas to prevent any issues that may arise from doing so, which could cause your wood damage in the long term.

If you need further information or have any suggestions you would like to share on protecting your wood why not drop us a tweet @intltimber