Sealing Old Wood vs New Wood Guide

Sealing Old Wood

  • Inspect and Prepare: Check for damage, rot, or loose parts; repair as needed. Clean thoroughly and sand smooth.
  • Choose Flexible Sealants: Opt for high-quality, flexible caulk or sealant that can accommodate the wood’s movement and cover imperfections.
  • Penetrating Oil: If the wood is dry and weathered, a penetrating oil (e.g., tung or linseed) can rejuvenate and protect.
  • Preservative First: Apply a wood preservative to protect against rot and pests before sealing.
  • Avoid Heavy Finishes: On very old wood, avoid thick, rigid finishes that can crack; consider breathable, flexible finishes like natural oil or a breathable paint for exterior use.

Sealing New Wood

  • Proper Curing Time: Allow new wood to dry and acclimate to avoid trapping moisture.
  • Use Primer: For painted finishes, apply a primer designed for exterior wood to ensure better adhesion and longevity.
  • Consider Moisture Exposure: For outdoor use, choose sealants with UV protection and water resistance, like exterior-grade polyurethane or varnish.
  • Apply Evenly: Ensure even application of the chosen sealant to prevent uneven weathering and moisture absorption.
  • Maintenance Coat: Plan for a maintenance coat sooner for new wood, as it settles and adjusts to environmental conditions.

General Tips

  • Quality Matters: Invest in high-quality sealants and finishes for long-lasting protection.
  • Regular Maintenance: Inspect and touch up sealed wood regularly to maintain its integrity.
  • Environmental Consideration: Choose eco-friendly and low-VOC products when available to reduce environmental impact and ensure safety during application.
  • Right Tool for the Job: Use appropriate brushes or sprayers for the sealant type to achieve a smooth, professional finish.
  • Test First: Always test the sealant on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and desired appearance.

Selecting the right sealant and applying it properly can significantly extend the life of both old and new wood, maintaining its beauty and structural integrity.