How to Treat Pine for Outdoor Use — Make it Water & Weatherproof

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Treating pine wood effectively transforms outdoor surfaces, making them sturdy against wood insects and extreme weather conditions. I’ve come across decks and wooden furniture that have stood the test of time, looking almost as good as the day they were built.

The secret behind their longevity? Knowing how to treat pine wood for outdoor use. Allow me to guide you through the essential steps to ensure your pine wood serves you well for years to come.

How to Make Pine Wood Last Outdoors: Can You Treat it?

Pine is a go-to for many woodworkers, particularly when it comes to artistic projects. Its ease of carving, affordability, and ready availability make it a preferred choice. However, if you’re taking your pine wood creations outdoors, treating the wood is a critical step.

Treating your pine wood is imperative to make it last longer, and also it will require less maintenance. You can use polyurethane products or natural oil, depending on the finish you want to achieve. 

Pine log

However, preparing your pine wood also comes with its own set of drawbacks. One, it can be difficult in applying finishing products due its uneven wood pores. Therefore, I highly recommend painting instead to treat your pine wood. 

Will it Be Safe to Use Untreated Pine Outdoors? What are the Risks?

If you skip treating your pine wood, there are consequences and risks that you should act upon. If you use untreated pine wood for decks and outdoor surfaces, be prepared for the following hazards:  


If pine wood pores are not sealed, water could easily penetrate the wood, given that it is considered a porous wood. Fungi and microorganisms relying on moisture will then dwell in it. Later on, these will cause decay and rot to your exterior wood surfaces.


Without protection, the natural colors of the wood will be depleted if exposed to too much sunlight. According to studies, UV rays are harmful to wood surfaces, particularly to untreated lumber.


At high levels of humidity, say 32 to 90 degrees, the wood becomes food for fungus and microorganisms. As a result, they will thrive and multiply, and if left unattended, the wood will rot and decay over time.

Pine lumber

Weather Conditions

In any exterior wood surface, weather conditions contribute to affecting the physiology of wood. So rather than bringing inside and out the wooden furniture, you can treat it and maintain it regularly to prevent decay and rot.

4 Alternatives to Pine Wood For Outdoor Use

There are also alternatives for pine wood, such as cypress, redwood, cedar, and oak. You can rely as well on these woods as they offer durability and resiliency, especially in weather conditions.

1. Cypress

For pests and decay resistance, you can use cypress wood. This is ideal if your wood project is outdoor furniture or decks. It offers the natural color of the wood and contains natural oils to protect its inner wood.

2. Redwood

You can also choose redwood for its durability against damaging factors. You can rely on this one if you are looking for wood that is versatile with a variety of colors.

3. Cedar

Another reliable wood for outdoor surfaces is cedar. It’s is one of my favorite wood types to work with due to its durability and remarkable appearance.

Cedar wood grain pattern

This wood offers natural resistance to decay and wood pests. It is ideal for the construction of houses, boats, decks, roofs, and other outdoor wooden furniture.

4. Teak

You can also use teak wood to give your wood project any design, style, and personality. Your teak furniture and exterior surface can last for decades and only requires less maintenance. 

It is ideal for warm climates, so you will have no worries about its tendency to bend or warp over time.

Treating Your Untreated Pine Wood For Outdoor Use: 5 Methods

Tools & Materials Needed

Method #1: Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish

tools for painting

To treat your pine wood using this method, you need to stir the tung oil or linseed oil-based finish. Actually, you can apply boiled linseed oil on pine. Regardless, make sure you sand the wood before applying the oil, depending on the shade you want.  

Re-apply the linseed or tung oil on pine if you want a darker shade. Otherwise, wipe off the excess oils and let the pine wood dry for at least 24 hours. Lightly sand and reapply the coat as necessary as you want. 

This finish gives your wood surface an aesthetic look while adding protection from decay [1]

See Also: Danish Oil Finish on Pine Wood

Method #2: Sealants

The next method is using sealants in treating pine wood, such as varnish, lacquer, and polyurethane. This method offers excellent waterproofing for your pine wood. 

Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood

Make sure that before applying, you should never shake or stir the sealants. This will keep away the formation of air bubbles. Also, work in a well-ventilated and room-temperature workspace. 

Method #3: Stain-Sealant Combo

Opting for a combined stain and sealant product is a smart move for those who want both aesthetic appeal and protection in one go. The advantage of this method is to be able to add color and to have a water-resistant wooden surface. This method is ideal for decks and other large spaces. 

It is only necessary to reapply the sealant and stain every two years to maintain the protection and appearance of the wood surfaces. Moreover, regular reapplication of the sealant and stain helps to ensure that the wood remains well-protected and visually appealing over time.

Method #4: By Painting

As I previously mentioned, painting is the best way to treat your pine wood. Here are the basic steps to do it: 

Step #1: Prepare your workspace. You need a tarp underneath to protect your floorings and other objects to be accidentally painted. Also, make sure that air circulation is in good condition before you start.

preparing work area for painting

Step #2: Choose an oil-based or latex paint. This paint is ideal for deflecting UV rays. If your pine wood has undergone pressure treatment, you have to use latex paint.

Step #3: Using fine-grit sandpaper, sand the surface in circular motions. For bumps and any surface impurities, you can use a wood stripper. 

Step #4: Once the surface has been smoothened, you can apply your primer of chocie. Let it soak and dry for at least 30 minutes. 

Step #5: Then, apply two to three thin layers of paint. After each layer, wait between 30 – 60 minutes before applying the next coat.

treating lumber

Step #6: Finally, to make sure that your pine wood can withstand extreme weather, termites, and fungus, you have to apply sealant. Make sure the sealant is evenly sprayed. After drying it for an hour, you already have treated pine wood.

Method #5: Polyurethane

My last recommend method to treat your pine wood is by applying polyurethane.

Step #1: Start by diluting poly in a container, then start sealing the surface. The sealant solution should have a ratio of 1:2 using 2 parts of mineral spirits and 1 part of poly.

Step #2: Next, apply the sealant solution using a paintbrush and following the directions of wood grains. Wait for 24 – 36 hours to cure the pine wood.

Step #3: Then, you can apply polyurethane to the wood surface using a brush. Make sure to spread it out evenly. 

applying polyurethane with a foam roller

Step #4: If the surface needs additional coating, you can add at least two coats. 

Step #5: After painting, check the surface for bumps. If you can some impurities, use 400-grit abrasive sandpaper for these areas. 

Step #6: Wipe off the dust using a wet cloth, then apply your final coat of polyurethane.

How To Seal Pine Wood Pieces

Aside from different methods of treating untreated pine wood, you can also seal pine wood pieces. 

The sealing process of pine wood can be achievable if you rely on a high-quality sealer for non-pressure-treated wood. Follow these steps for the sealing process:

treated lumber

Step #1: Prepare the wood pieces and make sure that it is dry, have no marks and prints, and are in good condition or without any early signs of decay or rot. Otherwise, clean the pine wood pieces and wait for 2-3 days to dry.

Step #2: Then apply the first layer of wood sealant following the directions on its container or bottle. Allow it to dry before applying the second coat. 

Step #3: Next, allow the sealants to cure before applying the final coat. 

How to Keep Your Pine in Its Best Condition

Yellow Pine Amoire

If you appreciate the natural beauty of untreated pine, let me share some straightforward steps to keep that pinewood looking its best.

More useful guides here:

It is Recommended to Use Non-Pressure Treated Pine For Decks?

I wouldn’t recommend using non-pressure-treated pine for decks. The elements can be harsh, and untreated pine simply doesn’t have the longevity or resistance to decay that pressure-treated wood offers.

Meanwhile, treated pine wood can make fine and durable outdoor furniture and decks. Pinewood has natural properties to resist fungus and termites, but you have to stain, paint, and seal it to last outdoors.


How long do 2x4 untreated pine boards last outdoors?

2×4 untreated pine boards can only last for at least 1 year. It can withstand weather conditions and external factors up to 2 years. More than this period, the pine board can start deteriorating.

What’s the difference between untreated and treated pine wood?

Finding a treated pine wood over an untreated one can be simple by looking for the green or brown tint. The treated wood has this marking which indicates that there’s a chemical reaction. You can also see tags on treated wood.

Are treated wood types safe for use?

Treated wood types are safe for your indoor and outdoor surfaces. You can also use this wood when building a playground for kids. But treated wood cannot be used for cutting boards and countertops.


Once you learn how to treat pine wood for outdoor use, you can now protect your exterior furniture and wood decks from extreme weather conditions. You can now use and enjoy your exterior wood projects without worrying about decay or rot after a year or two. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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