Sealant for Outdoor Wood Furniture: How to Choose, Apply, and Maintain

Picture this: you’ve just invested in a beautiful set of outdoor wood furniture. It’s the perfect addition to your backyard oasis, and you can’t wait to host your first summer barbecue. But have you thought about how you will protect your new investment from the elements? That’s where the importance of sealing outdoor wood furniture comes into play. In this article, we’ll delve into why sealing is crucial, its benefits and answer the burning question: “Does outdoor wood furniture need to be sealed?” So, let’s dive in, shall we?

The Importance of Sealing Outdoor Wood Furniture

You might wonder, “Why is sealing outdoor wood furniture so important?” Well, let’s break it down.

Firstly, sealing provides a protective barrier against weather elements. Outside furniture is constantly exposed to harsh conditions, whether the scorching summer sun, the pouring rain, or the freezing snow. The wood can warp, crack, or even rot without a sealant. But with a good sealant, your furniture can withstand these elements, keeping its shape and integrity intact.

Secondly, sealing enhances the lifespan of your furniture. Think about it: outdoor wood furniture isn’t exactly cheap. So, when you make such an investment, you want it to last, right? Sealing can help achieve this. Protecting the wood from damage can extend the furniture’s life, saving you from the cost and hassle of frequent replacements.

Lastly, sealing can enhance the appearance of your furniture. A good sealant can highlight the wood’s natural beauty, highlighting its grain and color. Plus, it can give the furniture a glossy finish, making it look even more attractive.

So, to answer the question, “Does outdoor wood furniture need to be sealed?” Absolutely! It’s a small step that can make a big difference in protecting your furniture and keeping it looking its best.

Weather Elements and Their Effects on Outdoor Wood Furniture

Ah, the great outdoors! While it offers a refreshing ambiance and a perfect relaxing setting, it’s not always friendly to our beloved outdoor wood furniture. Let’s look closer at the weather elements that can wreak havoc on your furniture and how sealants can come to the rescue.

Sun: A Double-Edged Sword

The sun, while providing that warm glow we all love, can be a real menace to wood. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the wood to fade, dry out, and even crack. It’s like leaving your skin unprotected in the sun; eventually, it dries and cracks. The same goes for wood. But fear not! A good sealant with UV protection can shield the wood from the sun’s harmful rays, preserving its color and integrity.

Rain: The Silent Destroyer

Rain might seem harmless, but it’s a silent destroyer of wood. Water can seep into the wood’s pores, causing it to swell and eventually rot. Have you ever noticed how wood left in the rain for too long starts to feel soft and spongy? That’s the beginning of rot. Waterproof wood sealer for outdoor furniture can create a barrier that prevents water from penetrating the wood, keeping it safe and sound.

Snow: The Cold Culprit

Snow, with its freezing temperatures, can cause the wood to contract, leading to cracks and splits. It’s like putting a soda can in the freezer; it eventually bursts. The same principle applies to wood. A sealant that offers protection against freezing temperatures can help prevent this damage, ensuring that your furniture survives the winter unscathed.

Types of Sealants for Outdoor Wood Furniture

So, you’ve learned about the importance of sealing your outdoor wood furniture and the weather elements that can cause damage. Now, let’s dive into the different types of sealants available in the market. Choosing the right sealant can feel daunting, but don’t worry; I’m here to guide you. Let’s explore the options, shall we?

Oil-Based Sealers: Nature’s Gift

Oil-based sealers are a popular choice for outdoor wood furniture. They penetrate deep into the wood, nourishing it and providing a robust barrier against moisture. Think of it as a moisturizing lotion for your wood. Sounds good, right?


  • Deep penetration
  • Enhances wood’s natural color
  • Provides UV protection


  • It may require frequent reapplication
  • It can be more expensive

Suitability: Ideal for hardwoods like teak and mahogany.

Varnish: The Shiny Protector

Varnish is a blend of oils and resins that offers a glossy finish. It’s like putting a shiny coat of armor on your wood, protecting it from the sun, rain, and snow.


  • Durable
  • UV resistant
  • Water-resistant


  • It can be challenging to apply
  • May yellow over time

Suitability: Great for furniture that needs a shiny finish and robust protection.

Lacquer: The Quick Fix

Lacquer dries quickly and offers a smooth finish. It’s like a quick makeover for your furniture, giving it a fresh and polished look.


  • Dries quickly
  • Easy to apply
  • It provides a smooth finish


  • Less durable
  • It may require frequent touch-ups

Suitability: Best for furniture that’s not heavily exposed to weather elements.

Polyurethane: The Tough Guy

Polyurethane is a synthetic sealant that offers robust protection. It’s like a bodyguard for your wood, shielding it from harm.


  • Highly durable
  • Water and UV resistant
  • Available in various finishes


  • Can be tricky to apply
  • May give a plastic-like appearance

Suitability: Perfect for furniture that needs strong protection, especially in harsh weather conditions.

How to Choose the Best Sealant for Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

Choosing the right sealant for outdoor wood furniture is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. It has to fit just right, match your style, and be suitable for the occasion. So, how do you find the perfect sealant? Let’s explore the factors you need to consider and even peek at some of the top sealants in the market.

Consider the Wood Type

Different types of wood have different needs. Hardwoods like teak and mahogany might love an oil-based sealer, while softer woods prefer a polyurethane coat. Know your wood, and you’ll know what it needs.

Mind the Climate

Your local weather plays a significant role in your choice. If you live in a sunny area, UV protection is a must. If rain is a frequent visitor, water resistance should be your priority. Choose a sealant that’s tailored to your climate.

Desired Finish

Do you want a glossy finish that shines in the sun or a natural look that highlights the wood’s grain? Your desired finish will guide your choice. From glossy varnish to matte polyurethane, every style has a sealant.

Top Sealants in the Market

Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the best sealers for outdoor wood furniture that have won the hearts of many:

  1. Seal-Once Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood Sealer: A water-based formula that offers deep penetration and robust protection. It’s like a shield that lets the wood breathe while keeping the enemies at bay.
  2. Wolman Raincoat Clear Oil Base Sealer: This oil-based sealer is known for its water-repellent properties. It’s like an umbrella for your wood, keeping it dry and happy.
  3. Eco Advance Wood Siloxane Waterproofer: If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, this one’s for you. It offers water resistance without harming the environment. It’s like a gentle hug for your wood and Mother Earth.

Preparing Your Outdoor Wood Furniture for Sealing

Alright, friend, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get to business. Before slathering on that sealant, we must ensure our outdoor wood furniture is ready for its big makeover. Think of it like prepping a canvas for a masterpiece painting. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Clean, Clean, Clean

First, we need to get rid of any dirt, grime, or old paint clinging to the wood. Grab a soft brush and some soapy water, and scrub away. Be gentle, though; we don’t want to damage the wood. Rinse it off and let it dry completely. It’s like giving your furniture a spa day!

Step 2: Sanding Time

Next, we’ll need to sand the wood. This step is crucial as it helps the sealant adhere to the wood better. Imagine trying to paint your nails with chipped polish underneath. Not pretty, right? Grab some fine-grit sandpaper and gently sand the surface. Make sure to follow the grain of the wood to avoid scratches.

Step 3: Wipe It Down

After sanding, there will be some dust left behind. We don’t want that mixing with our sealant. So, take a damp cloth and wipe the surface clean. It’s like setting the stage for the main event.

Step 4: Choose the Right Sealant

Remember our discussion about the different types of sealants and how to choose the best one for your furniture? Now’s the time to put that knowledge to use. Pick the sealant that suits your wood type, climate, and desired finish.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Sealant to Outdoor Wood Furniture

Grab your brush and put on your artist’s hat; it’s time to apply the sealant! But wait, before diving in, let’s ensure we know what we’re doing. Applying sealant is like icing a cake; it needs a gentle touch and a keen eye. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you seal your furniture like a pro:

Step 1: Stir, Don’t Shake

Start by stirring the sealant gently. Shaking can create bubbles; we don’t want that in our finish. It’s like mixing a cocktail; a gentle stir is all it takes.

Step 2: Apply Thin Coats

When it comes to applying the sealant, less is more. Use a high-quality brush to apply thin, even coats. Think of it like applying mascara; you want it even and clump-free.

Step 3: Let It Dry

Patience is key here. Allow the sealant to dry completely before applying the next coat. It’s like waiting for your nails to dry; rushing can ruin the finish.

Step 4: Sand Between Coats

For a smooth finish, lightly sand between coats using fine-grit sandpaper. It’s like exfoliating your skin; it leaves it smooth and ready for the next layer.

Step 5: Repeat if Necessary

Depending on the sealant and the look you’re going for, you might need to repeat steps 2 to 4. It’s like building layers of flavor in a dish; each adds depth and richness.

Post-Sealing Care: Ensuring the Longevity of Your Sealed Outdoor Wood Furniture

Congratulations! You’ve sealed your outdoor wood furniture, and it’s looking fabulous. But wait, the journey doesn’t end here. Like a newly planted garden, your sealed furniture needs care and attention to thrive. Let’s explore how to ensure the longevity of your sealed outdoor wood furniture.

Regular Cleaning: Keep It Fresh

Regular cleaning is like giving your furniture a refreshing shower. Use a soft cloth and mild soap to wipe away dirt and grime. Avoid harsh chemicals, as they can damage the sealant. It’s all about gentle love and care.

Avoid Harsh Weather: Shelter It

Cover your furniture or move it to a sheltered area during extreme weather. It’s like giving your furniture a cozy blanket on a cold winter night.

Resealing as Needed: Renew the Protection

Over time, the sealant may wear off. Keep an eye on the furniture; if you notice the sealant thinning, it’s time for a touch-up. It’s like refreshing your makeup before a night out.

Use Protective Covers: Add an Extra Layer

Consider using protective covers when the furniture is not in use. It’s like putting a raincoat on your furniture, keeping it dry and happy.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Sealing Outdoor Wood Furniture

Sealing outdoor wood furniture is a rewarding task, but it has its pitfalls. Let’s take a moment to discuss some common mistakes that people make when sealing outdoor wood furniture. Consider this a friendly heads-up to help you avoid these traps.

Not Preparing the Furniture Properly: The Rush Job

Skipping the cleaning and sanding process is like trying to paint a wall without priming it first. The result? A messy finish that won’t last. Take the time to prepare; your furniture will thank you.

Applying Too Thick a Coat of Sealant: The Overzealous Artist

Applying a thick coat of sealant might seem like a good idea, but it can lead to a sticky and uneven finish. Remember, thin coats are the way to go. It’s like applying perfume; a little goes a long way.

Not Allowing the Sealant to Dry Completely: The Impatient Painter

Rushing the drying process can ruin the finish and reduce the sealant’s effectiveness. Patience is a virtue, my friend. Let it dry, and let it shine.

Ignoring the Weather: The Unlucky Timing

Applying sealant in extreme weather conditions can affect the outcome. It’s like trying to picnic during a storm; timing is everything. Choose a dry and mild day for the best results.

Case Study: Successful Sealing of Outdoor Wood Furniture

Let’s take a moment to step out of the theoretical world and dive into a real-life example. A case study of a successful sealing project that turned a weathered garden bench into a stunning piece of outdoor art. This story is not just about the transformation of wood but a testament to the power of proper sealing.

The Furniture: A Weathered Garden Bench

Our protagonist in this story is a weathered garden bench, once the pride of a beautiful garden, now lost its charm. The wood was dry, the color faded, and it seemed to cry out for some TLC.

The Sealant: Wolman Raincoat Clear Oil Base Sealer

The hero of this tale is Wolman Raincoat Clear Oil Base Sealer, known for its water-repellent properties. It was chosen for its ability to bring back the wood’s natural beauty while providing robust protection.

The Process: A Labor of Love

  1. Cleaning: The bench was cleaned with soapy water and a soft brush, removing years of dirt and grime. It was like washing away the past, preparing for a new beginning.
  2. Sanding: Next, the bench was sanded with fine-grit sandpaper, smoothing out the rough patches and making it ready to embrace the sealant. It was a gentle dance between wood and sandpaper.
  3. Applying the Sealant: The Wolman Raincoat was applied in thin, even coats, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. It was a patient and careful process, like painting a masterpiece.
  4. Final Touches: The bench was left to dry completely after the final coat. The transformation was complete, and the bench was ready to face the world again.

The Results: A Stunning Transformation

The once-weathered garden bench was now a stunning piece of outdoor furniture, its wood glowing with health and beauty. The sealant enhanced its appearance and protected it against the elements. It was like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.


Sealing outdoor wood furniture is a topic filled with curiosity and questions. Let’s take a moment to address some of the most frequently asked questions that might be dancing in your mind. Consider this a quick guide to quenching your thirst for knowledge.

What is the best protection for outdoor furniture?

The best protection for outdoor furniture depends on the type of wood and the weather conditions in your area. Oil-based sealers, varnishes, and polyurethane are popular choices. Products like “Seal-Once Nano+Poly Penetrating Wood Sealer” are known for their robust protection.

What should I use to seal outdoor wood furniture?

Choosing the right sealant depends on your furniture’s wood type and desired finish. Oil-based sealers enhance the wood’s natural beauty, while varnishes provide a glossy finish. Researching and understanding your furniture’s needs will guide you to the perfect sealant.

How often should I reseal my outdoor wood furniture?

Resealing depends on the wear and tear and the type of sealant used. Generally, resealing every 1-3 years is recommended. Keep an eye on the furniture; it’s time for a touch-up if you notice the sealant wearing off.

Can I seal painted outdoor wood furniture?

Yes, you can seal painted outdoor wood furniture. A clear sealant over the paint can add an extra layer of protection and enhance the paint’s durability.


We’ve covered everything from understanding the importance of sealing to choosing the right sealant, from preparing the furniture to applying the sealant, and from caring for sealed furniture to avoiding common mistakes.

Remember, your outdoor wood furniture is more than just pieces of wood; it’s a part of your outdoor living space, a witness to countless memories. Taking proper care of it by sealing it correctly is not just about protecting but preserving those memories.

So, grab that sealant, put on your DIY hat, and give your outdoor wood furniture the love and care it deserves. Let it shine, glow, and show your creativity and care.