Wood can be protected from environmental influences with varnishes, glazes and wood oils. This guide shows you what distinguishes paint, glaze and oil from one another and what is important when processing them.
How do you protect wood outdoors?
Outside, wood is exposed to the elements. By applying varnish, glaze or wood oil, you protect the natural material from wind and weather.
UV radiation: The sun’s rays fade the surface and the wood can become brittle over time.
Moisture: When it rains, untreated outdoor wooden furniture rot faster and loses its stability.
Wood pests: Certain fungi and insects, such as the longhorn beetle, can affect the wood without adequate protection.
With the right wood protection, you can prevent premature graying, swelling and pest infestation. Which product is right for you depends not only on the weather conditions, but also on the type of wood and the required maintenance. Depending on the load, you should renew the protective layer after 1 to 5 years.
Wood protection with varnish
A varnish protects wood from environmental influences and increases its durability in regular use. Lacquer also beautifies the wood with decorative new and renovation coatings. Note that paint is an opaque coat. This means that the natural grain of the wood can no longer be seen after painting.
Depending on the object and according to your personal ideas, you choose the right paint. Colored lacquers are available in numerous colors as well as with different surface looks – from semi-gloss to high-gloss. Colored paints are also available as acrylic paints and synthetic resin paints.
For dimensionally stable wooden elements such as windows, robust, solvent-based synthetic resin paints are ideal. For wooden furniture, on the other hand, quick-drying, water-based acrylic paints are more suitable. These low-solvent paints are particularly environmentally friendly, and low in odor and pollutants – ideal for use in interior and living areas. You can also use certain designs that have been designated as harmless to health to paint children’s toys.
In the outdoor area, weather protection paints offer colored, covering wood protection against weather influences such as UV rays and rain. Weather protection paints are suitable for all non-dimensionally stable wooden substrates that require an opaque color, for example on wooden fences.
Wood protection with glaze
A glaze is a color-giving, but transparent coating of wood. Since it does not cover, the natural grain remains visible even after the treatment. In addition to the optical effect, the glaze protects the wood from the effects of the weather and makes it more durable and resistant.
In general, a distinction can be made between thin-layer and thick-layer glazes. With thin-layer variants, the glaze penetrates deep into the wood, protecting it from the inside. They are therefore ideal for coating components that are not dimensionally stable, such as fences or screens. Thick-layer glazes, on the other hand, form a paint-like film on the wood surface. These glazes offer effective protection against moisture penetration, especially for dimensionally stable components such as windows and doors.
Note: Most wood stains are not suitable for wooden floors as the stress from use and wear and tear is too high in this area.
Tip: You should treat woods endangered by blue stains, such as spruce or fir, with a special wood protection primer outdoors.
Wood protection with oil
Untreated wood dries out over time and tends to turn gray. Regular care with wood oil visibly extends the shelf life: the oil penetrates deep into the wood, emphasizes the natural grain and intensifies the color tone. The area of application of wood oils is concentrated on terrace floors and wooden furniture indoors and outdoors, for example balcony furniture.
Painting, glazing, oiling: tips for a good result
Before you paint, varnish or oil wood, the surface must be dry, clean, stable and free of grease. After a thorough cleaning, you apply the appropriate wood primer. It creates receptive surfaces for long-lasting top coats. Depending on the surface and intended use, you apply a varnish, a glaze or an oil after the surface is dry.
It should be noted that a paint coat generally consists of a primer, intermediate and final coat. You sand the wood before and between the respective coats. On the one hand you remove unevenness in the wood, on the other hand you improve the adhesion of the subsequent coating by roughening with an abrasive. A clear varnish as a finish additionally increases the durability.
Overview of wood protection
|Features||– Opaque paint|
– Many colors available
|– Natural, invisible protection|
– The grain is retained
– Use thick layer glaze for dimensionally accurate parts
|– Protection against graying, drying out, cracking|
– Refreshing the colors
– Long durability
|Applications||– Furniture (acrylic paint)|
– Window (synthetic resin paint)
– Toys (special low-solvent paint)
|– Garden houses|
– Fences, privacy screens
– Raised beds
– Windows and doors (thick layer glaze)
– Wooden furniture, garden furniture
The right tool for paint, glaze and oil – brush and roller
The choice of the right painting tools is decisive for the painting result. Brushes with a wide handle, which are available in different sizes, are suitable for painting and oiling. You can use wide brushes for simple, straight surfaces; smaller designs are recommended for angled surfaces and finer work.
Oil can also be applied using a cloth or sponge. There are special glaze brushes for glazing. Brushes in special shapes are also available for the respective substrate, for example window brushes.
Paint rollers are recommended for painting larger areas. The paint is ideally applied with a short-pile microfibre paint roller and then finished with a fine-pored foam roller.
Note: To ensure that the bristles of the brush do not swell when handling water-based paints and glazes, the right painting tool is important. The manufacturer’s information often provides information in this regard.
Which is better for wood: glaze or oil?
You can protect wood by painting it as well as with a glaze.
Lacquer forms a protective layer on the wood surface against moisture and other environmental influences. External forces can damage the paint, causing parts to flake off. To avoid damage to the wood, you should touch up the area as soon as possible. A layer of varnish is thicker than a glaze and usually covers the wood grain. This opens up design options: With colored paint you can give the product a new coat of paint. It is different with the clear lacquer, which reveals the wood structure.
Tip: It is possible to paint over varnished wood with varnish.
A wood glaze penetrates the wood and protects it from the inside. We recommend renewing a glaze about once a year. A thick-layer glaze contains more solids than a thin-layer glaze, so that a protective film forms on the wooden product. As with paint, there is a risk that parts of the protective layer will flake off when blown.
Tip: Wood oil also penetrates the material and protects the wood from drying out and, with regular use, prevents cracks from forming in the wood. You can also prevent premature graying with a layer of wood oil.
- Wood oil
- Wood glaze