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Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

Posted by rjinga middle ga, zone 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 30, 09 at 22:53

I am putting a wood work bench into the greenhouse, it's made with 2x4's and plywood. It's not treated material so I wondered what might work best to moistureproof it.

Any suggestions maybe outdoor paint? I guess I could also use deck paint or something with polyeurthane in it?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

I used Behr stain for my greenhouse. It works well. You could also use something like Olympic Oil based stain.

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

  • Posted by rjinga middle ga, zone 8 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 1, 09 at 8:31

so what do you think stain vs paint? Pros /cons?

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

Exterior grade penetrating oil stain wins, hands down. It will penetrate into the pores of the wood and when the resins in it dry, actually hardens the wood and while it may surface fade in time, it won't chip off.

With raw, untreated wood, lay on at least 3 coats. The first one will dry almost immediately, as the wood will literally suck it in.

Each sucessive coat with take a bit longer to dry, so keep coating until the stain seems to lay on the surface. Then, have some patience. Let it sit in a dry place until cured, at least 3 days- and the surface will have a soft sheen.

In fact, if you give it a very light sanding with a fine pad after each coat, then wipe it with a tack cloth before the next and repeat for each coat, you will end up with a satin smooth finish that will clean easily and look a lot nicer than most work benches. Mainly, it will last far longer while it pleases your eye. As a final finish on the top, lay on a coat of paste wax, buff it out, and you will be able to treat it as if it were formica.

Semi-transparent stain is best as it contains more oil than pigment as opposed to solid color stain and given enough coats, will end up with a pretty even color anyway, and if a wee bit of graining still shows through; would that be an issue for you?

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

  • Posted by rjinga middle ga, zone 8 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 1, 09 at 10:40

this is the bench I'm adding (craigslist $20 delivered!!) It of course is not made with slats like you'd hope to see on most garden benches, but I will possibly drill holes into it for drainage, jury's still out on that idea.

Of course, I respect your opinion and will most likely follow it, but I was kinda hoping for something more colorful. I had a really neat bench in my house in San Diego, that I painted blue and it held up fine for many years.

Here's the bench I'm getting:

here is my cute little bench I had to leave behind in SD :* (


RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

I also love that soft French Blue, so use that color when you finish the new bench. If those fastener plates are galvanized steel, and I think they may be, scrub them down them with white vinegar. It really does work to prep. gavlvanized metal for paint, but it has to be oil, not latex. The stain might color them- or not, I really don't know as I've never tried to cover galvanized metal with it.

You can get Olympic semi-transparent, penetrating oil stain in a wide variety of pre-mixed colors and in most home centers, can get it custom tinted.

That new one may not be as cute as the one you had to leave in SD, but looks like it will be one brodacious potting bench, with lots of room to spread out. and in any case, once you have finished it, it will be cute too; just larger and no workbench is ever TOO large.

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood

I've been trying various products for 40 years, and can say with certainty, DO NOT apply anything that surface-seals the wood like a paint or varnish, because moisture will get under it and lift it eventually.

I have also tried various commercial sealers (Thompson's, Olympic, etc.) and they fail to bead after a few weeks or months.

After a decade in the damp Pacific Northwest (one year it rained 101 days in a row), and a couple of years in AZ where wood practically fossilizes in a year, I have settled on using a mixture of a volatile vehicle mixed with used motor oil to apply to decks. USED motor oil has molecules of the metals that wear away inside an engine that act as a mildewcide and which prevents anything from growing that will feed upon the wood.

You can mix the used oil up to 50/50 with any petroleum product, but some, like gasoline, are very strong smelling, so I recommend a cheap sealant such as Thompson's or Olympic, since on sale, they are as cheap as anything.

Apply the mixture liberally with a brush or roller, and allow to soak into the wood. After 24 hours, you can wipe with a cloth to remove any surface oil that has not penetrated the wood.

The resulting finish is not slippery, does not smell, and will impart a warm mid-toned color to seasoned gray deck wood. In fact, I recommend waiting a year before using this on a new deck, and applying when the wood is bone-dry, and it's not scheduled to rain for at least 48 hours.

Used even on a 10 year old deck that was growing moss from it in WA State (a week following a good power washing and application of a 10% mixture of chlorine bleach), it STILL beaded water two years after application!

Warning: Do NOT use motor oil from a diesel engine. While it works great, it's likely to smell for a long time, though I have not tried this since the new ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) standards went into effect recently.!

RE: Best Material to Weatherproof Wood


You could use boat paint which is made to be waterproof.

Or you could stain or paint the wood and then seal it with Spar Varnish or Spar Urethane. You will probably have to reapply it every spring.

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