How Do You Waterproof a Wooden Table for Outdoor Use?

Photo of wooden outdoor table

There’s a reason why outdoor wooden furniture is among the favorites with many homeowners. A wooden table fits wonderfully in a lush backyard as much as it does on a small patio. However, wooden structures are easily damaged outdoors, especially when it rains.

The first step to ensuring your wooden table has a long life span is to choose resilient materials, and the other is to waterproof it. But how do you waterproof a wooden table for outdoor use?

While it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about waterproofing your outdoor wooden table.

The Importance of Waterproofing Wood

When you purchase a lovely wooden outdoor table for dining, it would be a shame to see it fall apart too soon. The fact is that unless you waterproof your outdoor table, the rot from the rain is going to get it sooner rather than later.

It’s not about just the rot either. Not waterproofing your outdoor table means it will be exposed to UV rays, excess humidity, frost, and even damage by insects.

Going through the waterproofing process will prolong the life of your wooden table. If you do it properly, you’ll also avoid seeing cracks and warping of the wood.

How to Waterproof Wood for Outdoors

There are two basic approaches for protecting your outdoor furniture, such as a table, from weather elements. One of them is to use a polyurethane sealant which offers a high-gloss on top of protection.

Or you can use a similar coating such as varnish or lacquer, which are great when it comes to absorbing sun damage.

However, one of the quickest and most affordable ways to fully waterproof your table for outdoor use is to use natural oil such as linseed oil. Other options include walnut and tung oil. Many DIY stores sell linseed oil in raw and boiled form.

Make sure to choose raw linseed oil because boiled metal drying agents are not great for wooden furniture used in combination with food. When you have the right coating for the table, let’s see how you waterproof a wooden table for outdoor use in a step-by-step guide.

Prepare the Table

Take time to make sure that there are no imperfections on your wooden table. You can use a metal file or a piece of thick sandpaper and level out all the noticeable blemishes from the table’s surface.

Then get fine sandpaper and go over it again. This will make sure that the oil or finish you use is absorbed efficiently and without a flaw. Once you’re done, use a dry cloth and wipe down the table before treating the wood.

Apply the First Coat

If you’re using oil, put a little bit of it on a dry cloth. One of the biggest mistakes is pouring oil directly on the wooden table

This immediately causes uneven distribution of the oil and, creating oil puddles on the table can cause discoloration. When the cloth becomes dry, add more oil and continue the process.

Let It Dry

Your table should dry for at least 30 minutes before you can use another clean cloth to wipe all the excess oil from it. After that, the wooden table should dry for 24 hours or even more depending on the weather conditions.

Sealants will dry faster than natural oil, but either way, be patient. When the table dries, use steel wool to scrape the surface. Again, wipe the table with a dry clean cloth to prepare it for the final coat.

Applying the Second Coat

Apply the second coat following the same instructions for the first. It’s possible that you’ll need even a third or a fourth coat, depending on the table’s condition and how well the wood absorbs it.

The entire process with the coating and drying sometimes takes days or even weeks to complete. But for efficient and long-term waterproofing of your outdoor table, this is what you have to do. There are no shortcuts to it.

Bonus Tip: You can add apple cider vinegar or turpentine to your natural oil to preserve the oil supply. Blend the ingredients in a metal container. This combination also provides a more durable finish for outdoor wood.

Ensuring Your Outdoor Furniture Lasts Longer

How do you waterproof a wooden table for outdoor use? You need to have patience and enjoy the process as much as possible. It can be incredibly satisfying to work with wood, especially if you’re working on a piece that will become an essential part of your furniture.

Using natural oil such as linseed oil or walnut oil is a fantastic way to waterproof your table and protect it from sun, mold, and insects. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have a robust and waterproof table in no time.

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