How to make wood last longer outdoors

The preservation of wood in the outdoors is of vital importance, Without proper protection, moisture, salt, sun, rain, frost can have dramatic effects on the stability and appearance of wooden structures.

Wooden structures can last forever by following a few simple rules on wood care.

The Wood Itself

Make sure that the wood has been thoroughly dried to prevent shrinkage. If there is any sign that the wood may be green, save yourself the trouble and do not buy it.

The most commonly used type of outdoor wood is treated, specifically pressure treated pine or fir, cheaper and more readily available than untreated Redwood or Cedar, treated wood does have some drawbacks.

  1. It can be expensive.
  2. Health concerns surrounding the safety of chemicals used in wood treatments have increased in recent years.

Remember that pressure treated wood come in two varieties: above ground and ground contact. For any part of your shed, deck, that comes in direct contact with the ground, be sure to use ground contact timber. 

Avoid Decay

Preservative Treatment to avoid decay should be used on a regular basis, good quality preservatives can be purchased from most good diy stores. Water Treatment (repellant) is the most common form of treatment, They consist of oil or water-based liquid (Thompson’s Water Seal for example). By repelling water, naturally discourages the growth of moulds and fungi that could jeopardise the integrity of the wood.


There are two main varieties of stain, Natural and Unnatural. both options require minimal effort to apply and little in the way of maintenance.

Natural: If your shed is made of expensive wood like redwood, this will be the finish to use. These stains are designed to enhance rather than overpower the natural beauty of the wood, with the pigments ranging from transparent to semi-coloured.

Unnatural: When building anything from rough or cheap lumber like pine or plywood, exterior-paint is the most common unnatural finish applied on basic-use outdoor wood. To obtain the best results, apply at least two coats of primer taking care to make certain the first coat has completely dried before applying the second.

Coastal Considerations

Take extra precautions to protect your wood.

Not only do coastal regions tend to have higher concentrations of moisture in the air than inland, they also have to deal with salt in the air.

Salt spray eats away at the cellular structure of the wood leaving it seriously weakened.

Wood Lane Timber Merchants Ltd supply a vast range of products and accessories. For additional product information please call 0115 964 0888 or email us on

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