Looking after your outdoor woodwork

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If you watch the BBC’s Antique Roadshow you’ll see wooden ornaments and furniture that has lasted hundreds of years. Looked after properly your wooden goods could well outlast you and even your grandchildren! With a little TLC it will certainly serve you as many seasons as you want it for.

Let’s look at the different types of woodwork and what you need to do to keep it good and strong for many years to come.

Low cost panel softwood fencing and sheds

Though treated with a preservative these items will need regular care (every 2-3 years) with a preservative such as Cuprinol. You can buy a range of tools and brushes to apply this with, but a roller and brush is really all you need to put it on. Remember to put on at least two coats per treatment, following the directions on the tin.

Untreated softwood furniture

Clean this every year in Spring and give it a coat of Cuprinol or similar wood preservative every couple of years. For the end of the grain at the feet of the furniture, consider resting them in a pot of preservative overnight so it gets absorbed.

Good quality hardwood furniture and decking

This will have generally been pressure treated and should last many years without having to do anything. Keep it clean and if there are any dark marks on it, look at getting a fungicide treatment to it to kill off fungus that could eat the furniture.

With hardwood furniture don’t be afraid to pressure wash it – it will take a jet of water from a domestic pressure washer with no harm at all to the wood itself.

After you have cleaned it, consider giving the furniture a coat of teak or linseed oil. This will add to the life of the woodwork and bring out its beauty. Remember though that oak, teak and mahogany will age gracefully even without teak oil or other treatments. Just keep it clean and dry and it should last a long time.

Re-painting painted wood

Colours change in fashion and what looked hot in the 90’s may not today! The best way to prepare this for a new coat of paint is by sanding, though remember that emulsion based paints will be absorbed into the wood. Where this is the case, you could either go for the ‘shabby chic’ look (though this is a fad that won’t last into the 2020’s…) or repaint in a colour of your choice.