A Complete Guide to Preserving Wood

Date: 6th June 2024
Categories: Barrettine, Products

Wood is a timeless and versatile building material, adding warmth and character to homes, commercial properties and outdoor spaces. But just like anything exposed to the elements, wood needs proper care to maintain its strength and appearance.

As experts in woodcare, at Barrettine we have a comprehensive range of preservers, protective treatments and preparation products to help you maintain and protect your exterior timber cladding, fencing, decking, doors and more.

Why is preserving wood so important?

Exterior timber is up against many different threats.

Harsh weather conditions (or simply prolonged exposure to the elements) can cause cracking and warping in exterior timber.

Additionally, fungi, like mildew and rot, feast on the wood's nutrients, leaving it weak and brittle. Wood-boring insects also tunnel through the timber, creating unsightly holes and compromising its structural integrity. 

The combined effects of these threats leave once beautiful timber looking dull, weathered, and potentially unsafe. Without proper protection, a timber deck or charming wooden summer house can quickly become both an eyesore and a structural hazard.

Is your exterior timber new, or has it weathered over time?

Before you choose the best wood preservative treatment, it’s worth considering any existing damage to the timber. If you are looking to reapply preserver to exterior timber that has already been exposed to the elements, reviving and cleaning it first before applying a preserver is recommended for best results.

Reviving old, weathered wood

Before treating wood, it's important to make sure it's restored as much as possible. Over time, the sun's harsh UV rays and relentless weather can take a toll on exterior timber, transforming its once vibrant tone to a dull silver or grey.

By using Barrettine Wood Reviver, you can restore the natural wood's tone and colour, bringing back its beauty and character. This product also kills any invisible mould spores in the wood, making it an important first step before adding any preservation products.

Removing mould, mildew & algae

Don't underestimate the importance of cleaning your timber before applying a preservative for exterior use. Mould, mildew and algae isn’t just unsightly – fungal attacks can weaken the structural integrity of the timber, making it susceptible to further damage. Additionally, mould and mildew can break down the wood itself, creating an uneven surface for a preservative to adhere to.

Fortunately, tackling this issue is easy. After using Barrettine Wood Reviver, apply a product like Barrettine Mould & Mildew Cleaner to help clean away any mould, mildew and light dirt.

Choosing the right wood preservation product

It’s crucial to choose the right wood preservative for your needs, as different threats require different defences. 

Understanding whether the exterior timber in question faces moisture issues, harsh sunlight, or insects (or all of the above) will ensure you select a preservative specifically formulated to combat those threats.

Wood Protective Treatment: protecting from moisture ingress

To protect exterior wood from the elements, you’ll need something like our Wood Protective Treatment. This low-odour, water-repellent wood treatment prevents moisture ingress, reducing the chances of swelling and warping within the wood.

This treatment is designed for pre-treated timber that is already protected against fungi and insect attack. With additional resins and UV stabilisers to protect against weathering and keep timber looking healthy and structurally sound, our Wood Protective Treatment  is also harmless to beneficial insects when dry as it contains no biocides.

Barrettine Premier Wood Preserver: comprehensive protection & preservation

For those looking for complete, comprehensive protection in one product, Barrettine Premier Wood Preserver is the ideal choice. Our most premium formula, this product provides all the protection bare untreated timber will need.

As well as preserving wood and protecting against fungi and insects, this product also offers water repellence and contains UV stabilisers within its pigments to combat weathering. Available in either a clear formula or a range of colours, this premium product does not require over-sealing for weather protection.

Universal Primer Wood Preserver: preventing wet rot and decay

Designed to protect timber against wood-destroying/discolouring fungi and insects, Barrettine Clear Universal Primer Wood Preserver is a great choice for those looking to preserve their timber.

This preserver contains biocides specifically designed to combat spores and fungal growths like wood rot and decay, ensuring it remains strong and healthy.

However, this product only protects against fungi and wood-boring insects – it won’t protect against the weather as it is used as a primer for internal and external structural timbers in the main. If your timber is exposed to the elements, you’ll need to also use a top coat either a UV Protection Oil or alternatively an opaque paint designed to prevent water ingress.

Armourflex® Ultimate UV Protection Oil: protection against sun damage & weathering

Unprotected exterior wood is bombarded by the sun's UV rays, which can accelerate cracking and warping, weaken its structure, and turn the wood grey.

Armourflex® UV Protection Oil a specialist coating that offers premium, advanced solutions to protect high-end exterior timber from sun damage and weathering. The blend of natural oils and waxes absorbs UV rays, which are the primary cause of fading, greying, and cracking in exposed wood.

This proactive approach helps maintain the natural colour and structural integrity of both hardwood and softwood. Additionally, Armourflex®  UV Protection Oil provides a water-repellent barrier, offering further protection against the elements and ensuring a long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing finish for your exterior wood surfaces. For unpreserved timber, Barrettine Universal ‘Primer’ Preserver should be used prior to application to prevent wood-destroying fungi (wet rot), wood discolouring fungi and wood-boring insects.

Why choose preservative products from Barrettine?

By choosing Barrettine products, you're not just selecting high-performance solutions for preserving wood; you're benefiting from our commitment to quality and expertise. 

Established in 1879 in Bristol, the Barrettine Group has been providing award-winning chemical products for decades. This legacy of experience is one of the reasons why we are trusted by the professionals to provide premium woodcare preservers, wood finishes, stains and varnishes. Our products are rigorously tested to ensure they deliver exceptional protection, and our commitment to innovation means you'll always have access to the latest advancements in woodcare technology.

Our products are available in stockists across the UK - to find the nearest stockist to you, please follow this link. You can also get in touch with our friendly team about any questions you may have by emailing us at sales@barrettine.co.uk.

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