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

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Treating pine wood makes the outdoor surfaces resilient to wood insects and extreme weather conditions. If you think about it, there are wooden furniture and decks that have lasted for decades.

This can only be possible if you know how to treat pine wood for outdoor use. So today, our wood experts will explain the steps to get this done. 

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

Woodworkers choose pine wood as their top choice for artistic woodworking. It’s easy to curve, affordable, and available in the market. But when using pine wood outdoors, you should treat it.

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

While preparing your pine wood, there are drawbacks, such as difficulty in applying finishing products to it because of its uneven wood pores. Therefore, our experts recommend painting 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 were not sealed, water could easily penetrate the wood, given that it is considered porous wood. Then, fungi and microorganisms relying on moisture will dwell in it. Later on, it 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 that 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

Next to pine wood as reliable wood for outdoor surfaces, cedar is one of our woodworkers’ favorites. 

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

Meanwhile, if you wish to use combined stain and sealant, then you can do it. 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 our experts recommend, painting is the best way to treat your pine wood. So 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 woodworking.

preparing work area for painting

Step #2: Choose an oil-based or latex paint. This paint is ideal for deflecting UV rays. Just remember 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. Let it soak and dry for at least 30 minutes. 

Step #5: Then, you can 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

Our last method to treat your pine wood is applying polyurethane.

Step #1: You can start by diluting poly in a container and 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 you painted, 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. Then you can follow these basic steps.

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 to cure of the sealants before applying the final coat. 

How to Keep Your Pine in Its Best Condition

If you have untreated pinewood and you prefer it that way, here are the simple steps to keep your pinewood in the best condition.

More useful guides here:

Yellow Pine Amoire

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

Using treated pine wood, you 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?

For 2×4, untreated pine boards can only last for at least 1 year. The longer it can withstand weather conditions and external factors is up to 2 years. More than this, you can see your pine board 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.


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

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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