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Garden furniture and other wooden elements give the garden an extremely natural appearance. However, many garden owners shy away from the natural material because many types of wood have to be weatherproofed regularly.

In a nutshell

  • Basics of wood impregnation include cleaning, application and drying
  • only use waterproofing agents for outdoor use
  • a second layer often increases protection

Why impregnate?

In the garden, garden furniture, fences or the small wooden hut are exposed to a wide variety of weather influences, such as moisture, heat and, in the case of wooden huts and fences, frost. In addition, pests and mold can settle in the wood, so that in the worst case the natural material becomes rotten and collapses.

Therefore, you should protect garden furniture and other wooden elements that are in your garden from these dangers. Not only do they extend their lifespan, but you also maintain their appearance with the appropriate care, because impregnation serves to protect the material

  • water repellent and
  • weatherproof

close. In addition, it protects the wood

  • UV rays,
  • dehydration,
  • insects and
  • molds.

waterproofing agent

There are various means for impregnating wooden elements. When choosing the right impregnation agent, it helps if you consider whether it is wood that stays outdoors all year round (e.g. garden fence) or is only exposed to wind and weather at a certain time of the year. such as garden furniture that is put away in autumn.

Furthermore, you should only use products that are intended for outdoor use. Because means for inside do not meet the demands for outside. In addition, dark coatings protect the wood better from UV light, as they let through a smaller proportion of the rays than light ones.


Varnishes keep water away from the wood surface because it is covered with a thin layer of varnish when varnished. Among the various types of varnish, the so-called wood protection varnish is a very good choice to make the wood weatherproof. However, you have to reckon with the fact that this paint finish will flake off over time, especially if it is exposed to the sun for a long time. Nevertheless, impregnation with high-quality paints lasts longer than with glazes, as long as the paint layer does not get scratched.

Tip: A boat varnish offers even better protection, as this protects boat hulls from water. The disadvantage of this type of varnish, however, is that the natural wood look is changed very much.


In contrast to impregnation with varnish, the protection with glazing is not based on an outer layer, but takes place from the inside, since glazing penetrates deep into the wood. The advantages of a glaze are:

  • long-term and high wood protection
  • particularly weather-resistant
  • Grain is preserved
  • no tendency to peel off
  • Thin layer glaze ideal for garden furniture, wooden fences or window frames (deep penetration and protection from the inside)
  • is especially recommended for softwoods

Tip: If the material is raw, untreated, it is advisable to apply a primer beforehand. Because this ensures better adhesion of the subsequent layers.


Impregnation with oils has the following advantages:

  • Wood grain is preserved and emerges
  • penetrates deep into the interior
  • Material remains breathable (no clogging of the pores)
  • Penetrated moisture can be easily released (increased resistance to mold and graying)
  • natural feel of the surface
  • suitable for all types of wood
  • colorless (natural) or available in natural colors

How often you should oil the wood surface in a year depends on how much it is used. For wooden table tops, for example, it is recommended to oil them two to three times a calendar year. However, it is advisable to apply the oil protection once a year, ideally in spring (garden furniture) and in autumn (garden fence or cottage).

Tip: If the wood surface feels rough, then an oil treatment is necessary in any case.

Oily home remedies

Natural oils without chemical additives are also suitable for making the natural raw material weatherproof. However, they do not seal completely. Therefore, the home remedies must be applied at shorter intervals.

linseed oil

Linseed oil is the all-rounder among the natural oils, as it is not only tried and tested, but can also be applied to sensitive wood. However, you should not use anything other than a high-quality product for waterproofing.

Tip: In order for the linseed oil to penetrate the wood well, the outside temperature should be at least 15 degrees Celsius. 20 degrees Celsius or more is ideal.

olive oil

Since olive oil often does not penetrate the wood so well, it is mixed with lemon juice. Because the citric acid ensures that the oil can penetrate faster. The juice also muffles the odor of the olive oil, which some find unpleasant. Proceed as follows to prepare the mixture:

  • Combine 3 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice in a spray bottle
  • shake well

Tip: An alternative is a mixture of vinegar essence with sunflower or olive oil.

Basics of impregnation

When impregnating garden furniture or wooden elements in the garden, the following three to four steps are essential:

  • Prepare (clean and sand down)
  • Applying the waterproofing agent
  • dry
  • if necessary, apply a second layer (increases protection) and allow to dry


Good preparation is one of the basics of wood impregnation. Because this can only unfold its full effect if it can penetrate all areas evenly. Therefore, before impregnation, the wood must be cleaned, freed from old coatings and roughened.


It is best to use soapy water and a cloth (cloth or sponge) for cleaning. Proceed as follows:

  • Soak the textile in the soapy water and wring it out well
  • Thoroughly wipe wooden surfaces
  • Wipe wood dry with another cloth
  • also let it dry in the fresh air

Notice: The wood must be completely dry before roughening so that no moisture is trapped during later impregnation.

Remove old paint and roughen

Old varnish and paint form a barrier through which the impregnating agent cannot penetrate. Therefore, these old coats of paint must be removed. It is helpful to use a hair dryer and spatula, because these tools make it easier to get the color off. After that

  • Roughen wood with sandpaper
  • always sand in the direction of the grain

The final step of preparation is to surface the

  • remnants of the sandpaper as well
  • wood dust

to free. If residues and dust remain on the wood, they mix with the impregnation agent, which is not only visually noticeable, but also reduces the protection.

Applying the waterproofing agent

You should choose a dry day to apply the waterproofing agent. Since direct sunlight encourages staining, work in the shade or under a roof or cover.

You should also mask off all areas that are not to be impregnated to avoid unsightly stains. For the same reason, you should also protect the floor with cardboard or newspaper. Before you get to work, you need to choose the right application tool. In general, the following applies here:

  • Plastic bristles for water-based impregnation agents
  • Natural bristles for solvent-based impregnations
  • Textile cloth or sponge without steel wool for oils

When applying, proceed as follows:

  • Apply or work in the impregnation agent from top to bottom in the direction of the fibers
  • Use narrower brushes for edges and hard-to-reach areas

Notice: In the case of self-made mixtures of lemon juice or vinegar essence and olive or sunflower oil, the wood surface is sprayed with the emulsion.


Once the first layer of the impregnating agent has been applied, it must dry or, in the case of oils and glazes, soak in. Wiping of runners or drips is done at

  • Glazes after about ten minutes
  • Oil after about five to ten minutes (drops)

Drying times also vary depending on the agent chosen. When impregnating with oil, you should plan for 24. If it is garden furniture, you should rather wait two days so that there are no stains on cushions or clothing. If oily home remedies were used, should

  • Dry linseed oil for about 24 hours
  • pure olive oil about 48 hours

Apply second layer

To increase protection, you can apply a second layer. However, the first one must be well, but not completely dry beforehand. In the case of glazes, it is advisable to roughen the material slightly with sandpaper before treating it again. As with the first coat, you should wipe away drips and runners after application and then allow the wood to dry.

frequently asked Questions

Are waxes suitable for impregnation?

Waxes offer the least protection among the impregnating agents. However, if the wax is applied to linseed oil, it ensures a shiny surface.

Can I use a microfiber cloth to apply oils?

A microfiber cloth is not suitable for applying an oil impregnation as it removes oil from the wood. A brush or a lint-free cotton cloth is ideal.

Which types of wood are weatherproof?

Types of wood that are extremely weatherproof include Douglas fir, larch, robinia and teak. Bamboo, which actually belongs to the sweet grasses, is also included. Although these trees defy the weather, they will turn gray over the years without care.

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