Protect Your Timber in Winter

With colder weather coming it’s important to protect your outdoor timber structures from the elements. The experts from Owatrol explain why and how

• Why is it important to treat and protect outdoor timber structures such as decking, fences and sheds?

Wood that has been cut and prepared for structural work loses most of its natural protection. Softwoods are porous and liable to moisture ingress, which leads to mould spread, warping, splitting, and cracking, as well as risk of insect infestations. This is exacerbated by the UK climate, with long, cold, and damp winters and unpredictable summers. Within a few years, untreated softwood can become unrecognisable and even dangerous. Therefore, it is essential to replace the woods natural protection with effective treatments.

• How should new timber be treated?

New, freshly cut timber contains the remainder of the natural tree oils as well as mill glaze. This is a by-product of the cutting process, with compressed wood fibres and high temperatures from the sawmill blades melting the sugars, cellulose, and other water-soluble extractives in the wood, leaving a hard resin-like layer on the surface, which can prevent treatments from saturating the wood or adhering effectively. This mill glaze will reduce and break down as the wood is exposed to the elements, a process known as ‘weathering’. If a treatment is to be applied to new wood that hasn’t been weathered, the mill glaze needs to be removed with a product like Owatrol Prepdeck, leaving the wood ready for a treatment.

• What about cleaning and protecting old timber?

Old, weathered wood is far more accepting of treatments, so provided the wood is clean, dry, and free of any coatings, it is ready for treating. One issue may be that the wood has been exposed to UV, turning the wood fibres on the surface grey or silver. This is where a product such as Owatrol Net-Trol can be extremely useful, as it restores the greyed surface fibres and returns the wood to a natural look, as well as cleaning and degreasing the wood. Applying wood oils to partly silvered or greyed wood will leave a finish with unpredictable results.

• Is it possible to paint over treated timber?

Painting over treated timber can be problematic, as you are relying on the performance of the older treatment. If this fails, peels or flakes, it will take the newer coating with it. We always recommend applying Owatrol products to bare or stripped wood, using one of our wood stripping products such as Prepdeck, Aquanett for oils or Dilunett for paints and varnishes. Once stripped and cleaned with Net-Trol you are guaranteeing that the newer coating will have the best chance possible of success.

• How do I decide which paint or stain to use?

You should always aim to buy the best paint or stain that your budget allows. A higher quality product will mean better longevity and performance, saving you money and maintenance cost in the longer term. Try to purchase a paint or stain that is compatible with the wood species, particularly if you are seeking a saturating oil, as the density of the wood in relation to the thickness of the oil is something to consider. For example, our Deks Olje D1 product is a thin oil designed to penetrate the denser exotic hardwoods, whereas our Textrol HES single coat is has been developed for softwoods.

• What are the best finishing products for timber?

There are an extraordinary number of products out there, all claiming to be the best, which can be confusing and intimidating for someone completely unfamiliar with woodcare. A high degree of protection and decoration is generally the priority, and it is certainly worth doing your research. Ease of use is another factor to consider, especially if you are not seeking professional help in applying the products. This is where Owatrol’s range of paint conditioners and bonding primers can help to add quality and ease of use to even stubborn paints and finishes.

• How can I revitalise tired-looking timber structures?

This is dependent on what has been used in the past, but generally, removing older coatings, cleaning the wood, and then treating with a high-quality finish is the best way to revitalise wood. Our wood cleaner and colour restorer, Net-Trol can work wonders on reviving old, untreated wood. Other issues include mould and mildew, which can completely ruin the appearance of wood. This should be treated before anything else is applied to the wood, as it is likely to reappear within months if it isn’t thoroughly taken care of. Using white vinegar or a 50/50 bleach and water mix can prove effective and removing mould problems.

• How long can I expect Owatrol’s paints to last?

Our Solid Colour Stain, Decking Paint and Shed & Fence paint is guaranteed to last 5 years on horizontal surfaces and 15 years on vertical ones, provided the wood is prepared correctly prior to application. Our paints are high quality and contain Owatrol’s Emulsa-Bond, giving it excellent adherence without the need for lengthy preparation and priming.

• What’s the story behind Owatrol?

Owatrol is part of the Durieu group, celebrating its centenary year in 2023. Founded 100 years ago by the great grandfather of the current CEO, over generations the group has constantly grown thanks to its continuous successive innovations. It now distributes in over 50 countries with several brands on several continents, of which Owatrol is the leader.

Owatrol UK produces a range of high quality, long-lasting coatings which offer exceptional protection and superior finish. We pride ourselves on our reputation as being ‘The Professional’s Choice’ and with products which have been established for over 70 years, we can be sure that when purchasing from us you will get a product of the highest quality.

• Where can I find out more about Owatrol?

Please visit our website, for more information about our products.

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