How to Protect your Wood from the Elements

There are many reasons to use wood for construction. But, most people value wood’s strength. Wood has a natural resistance to the elements. Although it tends to last for many years, it will break down and decay over time. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the decay and make sure your wood structure maintains its integrity for many years to come.

Reasons Wood Decays

Fungi cause wood to decay. Microscopic fungus spores are anywhere and they look for the right conditions to invade wood and cause rot. Such conditions include warmth, oxygen, and moisture. Although these are a potent biological combination that nature offers, they can cause problems for manmade structures.

Things you can Do

Here are tips to maintain the quality and prolong the life your wood:

  • Buy sturdy wood. If you are looking to build on strong wood, choose rough cedar lumber and redwood. Buy from them from a local lumber yard so you can ask more about these options. These kinds of wood will retain their integrity forever. But, you can expect them to be discolored because of water and sunlight through oxidation.
  • Stain the wood. Staining offers the wood a unique appearance and keeps wood structures from rotting. To protect wood, choose oil-based stains since it penetrates the pores of the wood where rot takes place. The oil seals off the pores from water.

  • Wash the wood. As wood starts to look gray, it is often due to the tannic acid inside the wood that arises to the surface. But, the acid only changes the wood’s color temporarily. You can use some wood brightener, a rag or brush, and wood cleaner to wash the wood and restore its original look. You can also use a power washer to clean the wood if the acid has been building up for a while.
  • Use pressure-treated lumber. This lumber is treated with chemicals which repel dirt, insects, water, and other substances that can harm wood. Pressure-treated wood is used for demanding structures such as deck posts. It is best for projects that require wood to withstand the harshest conditions.
  • Cover the wood. Covering the wood you will need for your project will protect it from the elements. This is necessary especially if your project takes a few days to complete. Leaving out your wood without being covered can cause it to bend or twist. If you don’t have a garage or shed for storing the wood, cover it tarps fully on the top and bottom.
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