How to waterproof wood furniture for outdoors

Outdoor wood furniture adds a touch of elegance and comfort to your patio, garden, or backyard. But wood, being a natural material, can be susceptible to damage from the elements, particularly moisture. This is why it’s crucial to waterproof your wood furniture for outdoor use.

Waterproofing protects your furniture from rain and humidity and helps maintain its appearance and durability.

In this article, we will guide you through the waterproofing process, discuss different types of wood, and explore the best methods to keep your wood furniture in tip-top shape.

Types of wood to waterproof outdoor

Can you put pine wood outside?

The answer is yes but with some precautions. Pine wood is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its affordability and lightweight nature.

However, it’s a softwood, making it more susceptible to moisture and decay. To treat pine wood for outdoor use, apply a high-quality wood preservative, a waterproof sealant, and finish with a UV-resistant topcoat to protect against sun damage.

Can painted wood be waterproofed?

Can painted wood furniture be left outside? Painted wood furniture can be left outdoors, but proper waterproofing is essential.

A high-quality paint job can serve as a barrier to water, but applying a waterproof sealant is still necessary to ensure long-lasting protection.

Choosing weather-resistant paint and applying multiple coats for added durability is also a good idea.

Other Common Types of Wood Used for Outdoor Furniture

Other popular wood choices for outdoor furniture include teak, cedar, and redwood. Teak is highly sought after for its natural water resistance, while cedar and redwood boast a natural resistance to decay and insects.

Regardless of the type of wood, applying a waterproofing treatment to enhance its longevity and maintain its appearance is still a good practice.

Best Waterproofing Methods for Wood

Waterproof Varnish

A clear waterproof varnish for wood is one of the most popular and effective ways to protect your furniture from moisture.

The best waterproof varnish for wood forms a hard, transparent film that seals the wood’s pores, preventing water from seeping in. Additionally, it enhances the natural beauty of the wood grain, making your furniture look even more attractive.


Clear waterproof sealants for wood are another excellent option for protecting outdoor furniture. These sealants penetrate the wood’s pores, forming a barrier against moisture and decay.

They also provide UV protection, which helps prevent sun damage and keeps your furniture looking great for years.


Waterproof paint for wood is a fantastic choice to add a pop of color to your outdoor space while protecting your furniture from the elements.

Waterproofing wood paint is available in various finishes and colors, allowing you to customize your furniture to match your aesthetic. Be sure to select a high-quality paint specifically designed for outdoor use.

Best Waterproofing for Wood

Waterproofing ensures the longevity of your wooden surfaces and enhances their appearance. We’ll discuss the importance of waterproofing and factors to consider when choosing a sealer. We’ll introduce some of the top products available on the market.

Types of Waterproofing Sealers

To protect your wooden surfaces, you’ll need a waterproofing sealer. These sealers come in various types, each designed for specific applications. Let’s explore some of the most common types.

A. Clear Waterproof Sealant for Wood

Olympic Clear Waterguard and Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer are two examples of clear waterproof sealants for wood. These products provide a protective barrier that’s nearly invisible, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through.

B. Marine Wood Sealer

Marine wood sealers, like Seal-Once Marine Wood Sealer, are specifically designed for use in damp or wet environments, such as docks, piers, and boats. These sealers provide excellent protection against moisture, rot, and decay.

C. Waterproof Sealer for Wood

Products like Thompson’s Water Seal and Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer offer to waterproof for various wooden surfaces. These sealers form a barrier that repels water, preventing moisture, mold, and mildew damage.

Best Waterproofing for Specific Applications

Depending on your needs, different waterproofing products will be better suited for specific applications. Explore the best options for outdoor wood, indoor furniture, and UV protection.

Outdoor Wood

  • Best Wood Sealer for Decks: Olympic Maximum, Seal-Once Nano+Poly Wood Sealer, and Thompson’s Waterseal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain Sealer provide excellent protection for wooden decks, helping them withstand the elements and maintain their appearance.
  • Best Exterior Wood Sealer: Roxil Wood Protection Cream and Thompson’s Waterseal TH.021801-16 Waterproofer Plus Wood Protector are ideal for exterior wood surfaces, offering long-lasting protection against moisture, decay, and UV damage.

Indoor Furniture

  • Best Wood Sealer for Indoor Furniture: Pure Tung Oil Natural Wood Sealer and Rainguard Premium Wood Sealer offer excellent protection for indoor furniture, preserving the natural beauty of the wood while guarding against spills, stains, and moisture.
  • Best Sealer for Wood Furniture: Thompson’s Waterseal Transparent Wood Sealer is another great option for indoor furniture, providing a clear protective barrier that repels water and stains without altering the wood’s appearance.

UV Protection

  • Best Wood Sealer for UV Protection: Olympic Waterguard offers exceptional UV protection, shielding your wooden surfaces from the sun’s harmful rays and preventing fading, discoloration, and other damage.

Natural Waterproofing Methods

Natural waterproofing methods offer several benefits, including being environmentally friendly and non-toxic.

One of the best ways to naturally waterproof wood is by using Pure Tung Oil Natural Wood Sealer.

Derived from the nuts of the tung tree, this oil penetrates the wood, providing a durable, water-resistant finish.

How to Permanently Waterproof Wood

The best waterproofing for wood depends on the type of wood, its intended use, and your preferences.

To ensure long-lasting waterproofing, follow these steps and use products like Eco Advance Wood Silox Siloxane Waterproofer and Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer.

Steps to Follow for Effective Waterproofing

  • Clean the surface: Before applying any sealer, ensure the wooden surface is clean and free of dirt, debris, and any old finishes. Sanding the surface may be necessary to remove old coatings and create an even surface for the sealer to adhere to.
  • Choose the right sealer: As we’ve discussed, different sealers are suited for specific applications. Ensure you select the appropriate product based on your needs and the type of wood you’re working with.
  • Apply the sealer: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the sealer evenly and consistently across the surface. Depending on the product, you may need to apply multiple coats for optimal protection. Allow the sealer to dry according to the recommended drying time.
  • Inspect the surface: Once the sealer has dried, inspect the surface to ensure complete and even coverage. If necessary, apply additional coats to achieve the desired level of protection.

Application Techniques

Proper application techniques are crucial for achieving long-lasting protection when waterproofing wood for the outdoors.

Whether you’re waterproofing wood for a boat, bathroom, or outdoor furniture, follow these steps for the best results:

Choose the right tools: Use a high-quality brush, roller, or sprayer to apply the waterproofing product evenly and efficiently.

Apply thin, even coats: Multiple thin coats provide better protection than a single thick coat. As the product’s instructions recommended, allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one.

Follow the grain: Always follow the wood grain’s direction when applying waterproofing products. This helps the product penetrate deeper into the wood and ensures a smoother finish.

Protect against UV damage: If your waterproofing product doesn’t offer UV protection, consider applying a UV-resistant topcoat to shield your furniture from sun damage.

How to Waterproof Specific Types of Wood Furniture

Pine wood is an affordable and versatile option for outdoor furniture but requires proper treatment to withstand the elements.

To treat pine wood for indoor use, you can apply a clear finish, such as polyurethane or varnish, for a natural look or paint it with a high-quality interior paint.

The best waterproofing for pine wood furniture involves a three-step process:

  • Apply a high-quality wood preservative to protect against decay and insects.
  • Apply a waterproof sealant to create a moisture barrier.
  • Finish with a UV-resistant topcoat to shield against sun damage.

Waterproofing Painted Wood Furniture for Outdoors

To waterproof painted wood furniture for outdoor use, follow these steps:

  • Choose a high-quality exterior paint that offers weather resistance and UV protection.
  • Apply multiple thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
  • Finish by applying a clear waterproof sealant over the paint for added protection against moisture.

How to Waterproof a Couch for Outdoors

To waterproof the fabric components of a couch for outdoor use, consider the following options:

  • Use outdoor-grade fabric that is water-resistant and UV-protected.
  • Apply a fabric waterproofing spray, such as a silicone-based product, to create a protective barrier against moisture.

To convert an indoor sofa to an outdoor one, follow these steps:

  • Identify the type of wood used in the couch’s frame and research its natural resistance to moisture and decay.
  • Sand the wooden frame to prepare the surface for waterproofing.
  • Apply a suitable waterproofing product, such as a varnish, sealant, or paint, depending on the desired look and level of protection.

How to Weatherproof Indoor Furniture for Outdoor Use

Before attempting to weatherproof indoor furniture, identify the type of wood used in its construction.

This will help you determine the appropriate waterproofing method and assess the furniture’s suitability for outdoor use.

Assessing the Condition of the Furniture

Inspect the furniture for signs of damage, such as cracks, splits, or rot. Repair any issues before proceeding with the weatherproofing process.

Appropriate Waterproofing Methods

To weatherproof indoor furniture for outdoor use, consider the following techniques:

Painting: Use exterior-grade paint to create a moisture-resistant barrier. For an attractive and durable finish, apply multiple thin coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

Varnishing: Apply a clear waterproof varnish to protect the wood while maintaining its natural appearance. Choose a varnish with built-in UV protection to prevent sun damage.

Sealing: Use a waterproof sealant to penetrate the wood’s pores and create a barrier against moisture and decay.

Maintaining Waterproofed Wood Furniture

Protect your outdoor furniture from weather-related damage by following these cleaning and care tips:

  • Regularly clean the furniture using a soft brush and mild soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before using.
  • Cover or store the furniture indoors during extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, to minimize potential damage.

Routine Inspections

Regularly inspect your outdoor furniture for signs of wear or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Reapplication of Waterproofing Products When Necessary

The lifespan of waterproof varnish and other waterproofing products varies, but generally, they should be reapplied every two to three years. Monitor the condition of your furniture and reapply waterproofing products as needed to maintain its integrity and appearance.

Repurposing Indoor Furniture for Outdoor Use

Transforming indoor furniture for outdoor use is an excellent way to save money and create unique, functional pieces for your outdoor space. Here are some tips for converting indoor dining tables and other furniture pieces for outdoor use:

Tips for Converting Indoor Dining Tables to Outdoor Use

Inspect the table for signs of damage and repair any issues before proceeding.

Sand the table’s surface to remove any existing finish and prepare it for waterproofing.

Apply a suitable waterproofing product, such as an exterior-grade paint, varnish, or sealant, to protect the table from moisture and decay.

Repurposed Furniture Ideas for Outdoor Use

Get creative with repurposing indoor furniture for outdoor use. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Convert a wooden dresser into an outdoor bar or buffet by waterproofing the exterior and adding a protective topcoat.
  • Transform an old bookshelf into a vertical garden by painting it with exterior-grade paint and adding weather-resistant planters.
  • Repurpose an indoor coffee table into an outdoor ottoman by adding a cushion from outdoor-grade fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make Wood 100% Waterproof?

While making wood entirely waterproof is impossible, you can significantly increase its resistance to moisture by applying appropriate waterproofing products and regularly maintaining the protective coating.

Can You Waterproof Wood with Varnish?

Yes, varnish can waterproof wood by creating a protective film on its surface. Choose a waterproof varnish specifically designed for outdoor use, and ensure it offers UV protection to prevent sun damage.

How Do You Make Indoor Wood Last Outside?

To make indoor wood last outside, treat it with suitable waterproofing products, such as exterior-grade paint, waterproof sealant, or varnish. Regularly inspect and maintain the protective coating to prolong the wood’s lifespan outdoors.

What Can I Put on Painted Wood to Protect It Outside?

To protect painted wood outdoors, apply a clear waterproof sealant over the paint. This will create a moisture-resistant barrier and help preserve the paint’s appearance.


Proper waterproofing is essential for the longevity and preservation of outdoor wood furniture.

By understanding the characteristics of different types of wood, choosing the right waterproofing methods, and maintaining your furniture regularly, you can ensure your outdoor pieces remain functional and attractive for years.

Embrace the opportunity to repurpose indoor furniture for outdoor use, and don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek expert advice when needed.

With the right care and attention, your outdoor wood furniture will be a beautiful and comfortable addition to your outdoor living space.