How Do You Waterproof Painted Wood? Tips and Tricks

Are you looking for ways to waterproof painted wood? Perhaps you’re restoring an old wooden boat or simply want to protect your garden furniture from the elements. Whatever the reason, waterproofing painted wood isn’t as straightforward as you might think. With so many different products on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a finish that peels or flakes off within a matter of weeks.

Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-tested methods for waterproofing painted wood. Some involve applying sealants, while others rely on specific types of paint or varnish. The key is to choose a product that’s suited to your needs and the type of wood you’re working with. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a complete beginner, with a little guidance, you’ll be able to create a waterproof finish that lasts for years to come.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best ways to waterproof painted wood. We’ll cover everything from which products to use, to tips for applying them effectively. We’ll also explore some common mistakes to avoid and answer some frequently asked questions. So, if you’re ready to get started on your next project, let’s dive in!

Why do you need to waterproof painted wood?

Wood is a natural material that is susceptible to damage caused by water, humidity, and changes in temperature. When wood is painted, it is protected to some extent from moisture and water damage, but it does not completely eliminate the risk. This is why it is necessary to waterproof painted wood to prevent rot, discoloration, and deformation that can lead to costly repairs or replacements.

  • Prevent water damage: Painted wood alone cannot withstand the effects of moisture and water. Waterproofing sealed the area where the paint has missed, preventing moisture from seeping, slowing down the rotting process, and damage.
  • Extend the lifespan: Wood is a natural material prone to rot, warping, and discoloration. Waterproofing the painted wood can protect it from water, UV rays, and humidity to extend your wood’s lifespan and reduce your maintenance costs.
  • Protect your investment: Furniture, decks, and outdoor structures made of wood are a substantial investment. Waterproofing them ensures added protection, protecting your investment and ensuring that your wood is looking good for years to come.

As you can see, waterproofing painted wood can prevent water damage, extend its lifespan, and protect your investment. It is the best way to ensure your wooden surfaces are protected and maintained, offering you years of enjoyment and providing outstanding results for your property value. The next step is to learn how to waterproof painted wood, and luckily, we have got you covered.

Different types of paint suitable for waterproofing

Painting wood surfaces is an effective way to enhance their appearance and protect them from environmental damages. However, not all types of paint are suitable for waterproofing wood. The wrong choice of paint can lead to flaking, peeling, and moisture damage. Therefore, it is important to use paints that offer good waterproofing properties to ensure the longevity and durability of the wood surfaces.

  • Oil-based paint: Oil-based paints are known for their excellent waterproofing properties. They form a hard, impermeable coating that repels water and prevents it from penetrating the wood surface. Oil-based paint is also resistant to UV rays and can withstand temperature changes, making it a perfect choice for exterior wood surfaces. However, oil-based paint takes longer to dry and has a strong odor, which may require proper ventilation when applying.
  • Lacquer paint: Lacquer paint is another good option for waterproofing wood surfaces, especially those that are exposed to water frequently. It creates a smooth, rugged finish that repels water and prevents wood rot. Lacquer paint is easy to apply and dries quickly, leaving a hard, durable surface. However, it is more expensive than other options and requires frequent application to maintain its waterproofing properties.
  • Epoxy paint: Epoxy paint is a type of paint that contains resin and hardener. When combined, the resin and hardener create a strong, waterproof coating that protects wood surfaces from moisture and water damage. Epoxy paint is ideal for wood surfaces that are submerged in water or exposed to high humidity. It is also resistant to UV rays and can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, epoxy paint is expensive and requires proper preparation and application.


Choosing the right paint for waterproofing wood surfaces is important to ensure their longevity and durability. Oil-based paint, lacquer paint, and epoxy paint are all good options for waterproofing wood, offering excellent protection against moisture, water damage, and other environmental factors. Consider the conditions under which the wood surface will be exposed to and choose the paint that best suits your needs and budget.

Paint Type Pros Cons
Oil-based paint Excellent waterproofing properties, UV-resistant, durable Longer drying time, strong odor
Lacquer paint Creates rugged finish, easy application, quick drying time Expensive, requires frequent re-application
Epoxy paint Strong, waterproof coating, UV-resistant, withstands harsh weather conditions Expensive, requires proper preparation and application

Overall, the choice of paint will depend on your specific needs and budget. However, selecting an appropriate type of paint with good waterproofing properties is essential to protect wood surfaces and prevent damage from moisture and water.

How to prepare the wood before painting and waterproofing

Before waterproofing painted wood, it is important to properly prepare the surface to ensure optimal adhesion and longevity of the waterproofing product. Below are the steps you should follow to prepare the wood:

  • Clean the wood: Remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the wood surface using a stiff brush or vacuum. This will help the waterproofing product adhere to the wood more effectively.
  • Sand the wood: Use sandpaper to give the wood a smooth surface. This will help the waterproofing product penetrate the wood better, resulting in better protection. Be sure to sand the wood with consistent pressure and sand in the direction of the grain to avoid scratch marks.
  • Fill any gaps: Use an exterior-grade wood filler to fill in any gaps, cracks or holes in the wood. This will prevent water from seeping into the wood through those gaps. Allow the filler to dry completely before sanding it down flush with the wood surface.

Once you’ve finished preparing the wood surface, you’re ready to apply the waterproofing product. However, it is important to note that different types of waterproofing products have different application methods. Regardless of the product you choose, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Here’s a general process of how to apply the waterproofing product:

Step 1: Apply the product using a brush or roller, starting at the top of the wood surface and working downwards.

Step 2: Ensure that the product is applied evenly and in thin coats. Avoid applying too much product at once as this can prevent it from adhering to the wood surface effectively.

Step 3: Wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying additional coats. The number of coats required will vary depending on the product you choose and the level of protection you require.

Step 4: Allow the final coat to dry completely before exposing the wood surface to any moisture.

Type of Waterproofing Product Application Method
Solvent-Based Use a brush or sprayer to apply the product in thin coats. Ensure that the space is well ventilated as fumes can be harmful.
Water-Based Use a brush or roller to apply the product. Clean-up can be done using soap and water.
Epoxy Apply the product using a brush or roller, ensuring the surface is completely covered. This product is suitable for high traffic areas.

By following these steps and using the correct waterproofing product for your specific needs, you can ensure that your painted wood is protected from water damage and will last for a long time.

Top waterproofing products available in the market

Painting wood is a great way to add color and protect the surface from damage. However, painted wood is not always waterproof and can be susceptible to moisture damage. Fortunately, numerous waterproofing products are available in the market that can help protect your painted wood and extend its lifespan. Here are the top waterproofing products available in the market:

  • Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector: This waterproofing solution offers long-lasting protection against water damage, mildew, and UV rays. It is easy to apply and dries quickly, making it an ideal product for outdoor wood surfaces.
  • Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane: This waterproofing product is perfect for wood surfaces exposed to harsh weather conditions like sun, rain, and snow. It protects the wood from moisture damage, fading, and chipping, making it an ideal choice for outdoor furniture and boats.
  • Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Topside Paint: This waterproofing paint is specially formulated for wooden boats and other marine applications. It offers excellent adhesion, UV protection, and resistance to water, making it a perfect choice for boats, docks, and decks.

How to waterproof painted wood

The process of waterproofing painted wood involves applying a waterproofing solution or paint over the painted surface. Before applying the waterproofing product, it is essential to ensure the surface is clean and dry. Here are the steps to waterproof painted wood:

Step 1: Clean the surface with a mild detergent and a stiff brush. Rinse the surface with clean water and let it dry completely.

Step 2: Sand the surface with a fine grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for the waterproofing product.

Step 3: Apply the waterproofing product using a brush, roller, or spray gun. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the product evenly.

Step 4: Allow the waterproofing product to dry completely before subjecting the surface to water or other moisture.

Factors to consider when choosing a waterproofing product

Choosing the right waterproofing product for your painted wood can be overwhelming, given the numerous options available in the market. Here are the factors to consider when choosing a waterproofing product:

  • Surface type: Different waterproofing products are suitable for different surfaces. For instance, a waterproofing solution that works for outdoor wood surfaces may not be ideal for indoor surfaces.
  • Application method: Consider the ease of application and the tools needed to apply the product. Some products are easier to apply using a roller, while others require a spray gun or brush.
  • Protection level: Look for a product that offers long-lasting protection against water damage, UV rays, and mildew.
  • Color and finish: Some waterproofing products are clear while others come in various colors and finishes. Choose a product that matches the color and finish of your painted wood.


Applying a waterproofing product over your painted wood can help prolong its lifespan and protect it from water damage, mildew, and UV rays. When choosing a waterproofing product, consider factors such as surface type, application method, protection level, color, and finish. The top waterproofing products available in the market include Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector, Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane, and Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Topside Paint. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the product for the best results.

Best practices for waterproofing painted wood

Painted wood is a beautiful addition to any interior or exterior design, but it can be vulnerable to the damaging effects of water. To ensure the longevity of your painted wood, it is important to follow the best practices for waterproofing it. Here are some tips:

  • Start with a clean surface: Before you apply any waterproofing agent, make sure the painted wood surface is clean and free of any dirt, dust, or debris. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the surface and remove any loose paint chips.
  • Choose the right waterproofing agent: There are many different types of waterproofing agents available, such as sealers, stains, and coatings. Make sure to choose the one that is appropriate for your painted wood surface and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Apply the waterproofing agent in thin, even layers: Using a brush or roller, apply the waterproofing agent in thin, even layers. Be sure to avoid over-applying, as this can result in a blotchy appearance or cause the paint to peel.

In addition to these general tips, there are also specific best practices for waterproofing different types of painted wood, such as furniture, decks, and windowsills. Here are a few more tips:

Furniture: To waterproof painted wood furniture, first, clean the surface and let it dry completely. Then, apply a thin layer of waterproofing sealant or wax, using a soft cloth or brush. Allow the sealant to dry completely before using the furniture.

Decks: To waterproof a painted wood deck, start by cleaning the surface with a deck cleaner and letting it dry completely. Then, apply a waterproofing deck stain or sealer, using a brush or roller. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

Product Name Type Price range
Thompson’s WaterSeal Sealer $10-$50
Bear Plus Solid Colour Waterproofing Wood Stain Stain $30-$50
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Clear Gloss Coating $4-$15

Windowsills: To waterproof painted wood windowsills, first, clean the surface and let it dry completely. Then, apply a thin layer of waterproofing sealant, using a small brush. Allow the sealant to dry completely before opening the windows.

By following these best practices for waterproofing painted wood, you can keep your surfaces looking great for years to come.

How Often Should You Waterproof Painted Wood?

Waterproofing painted wood is necessary to protect it from water damage, moisture, and decay. But how often should you do it? The answer depends on several factors that affect the durability of the wood. Below are some of the factors that determine the frequency of waterproofing painted wood.

  • The climate: If you live in a humid area with high rainfall, you may need to waterproof painted wood more frequently than someone living in a dry climate.
  • The type of wood: Some types of wood are more resistant to water damage than others. Hardwoods like teak and cedar are naturally resistant to moisture and decay and may require less frequent waterproofing.
  • The location of the wood: Wood that is exposed to direct sunlight, rain, and snow may require more frequent waterproofing than wood in a sheltered location.

As a general rule, it is recommended to waterproof painted wood every 3 to 5 years or as needed. However, you should inspect the wood regularly to check for signs of water damage and decay. If you notice any damage or discoloration, it may be time to waterproof the wood.

The frequency of waterproofing also depends on the quality of the paint and the waterproofing product used. High-quality paint and waterproofing products can last longer and require less frequent reapplication. However, if you notice any signs of water damage, it is best to apply a new coat of waterproofing as soon as possible.


Waterproofing painted wood is an essential maintenance task that can help prolong the life of the wood and prevent costly repairs. The frequency of waterproofing depends on several factors, including the climate, type of wood, and location of the wood. As a general rule, it is recommended to waterproof painted wood every 3 to 5 years or as needed, but you should inspect the wood regularly and apply new waterproofing as soon as you notice any signs of damage.

Benefits of Waterproofing Painted Wood

Painting wood gives it a fresh, sleek look, but without proper maintenance, it can lose its luster and even deteriorate over time. This is where waterproofing comes in. Waterproofing painted wood offers numerous benefits that make it a worthwhile investment. Here are some of the benefits of waterproofing painted wood:

  • Protection from water damage: The primary benefit of waterproofing painted wood is that it protects the wood from water damage. Water can seep into the pores of the wood and cause it to warp, crack, and rot. With waterproofing, you create a barrier that prevents water from penetrating the wood.
  • Increased durability and longevity: Waterproofing extends the life of your painted wood. By preventing water damage, it helps to maintain the wood’s structural integrity, preventing cracks and other signs of wear and tear that can shorten its lifespan.
  • Reduced maintenance: Waterproofing painted wood reduces the need for regular maintenance. Without waterproofing, you may need to repaint or even replace the wood more frequently due to water damage. With waterproofing, you can extend the time between touch-ups or replacements.

Overall, waterproofing your painted wood is a smart investment that can save you money and ensure the longevity of your project. Here are some additional benefits:

  • Improves resistance to UV damage
  • Improves resistance to mold and mildew growth
  • Provides a protective coating against pests
  • Improves the visual appearance of the wood by enhancing color and texture

The Waterproofing Process for Painted Wood

There are several ways to waterproof painted wood, depending on your project and the type of wood you’re using. Here are some common options:

Method Description
Applying sealant Sealants are applied directly to the painted wood to create a waterproof barrier. They can be either clear or tinted and are available in spray or brush-on formulas. This method works well for smaller projects, such as outdoor furniture.
Using a waterproofing paint or stain Waterproofing paint or stain is applied directly over the painted wood and creates a waterproof barrier. This method is ideal for larger projects, such as decks or patios.
Applying a waterproofing membrane A waterproofing membrane is a thin layer of material that is applied between the painted wood and the surface it sits on. This method is commonly used for outdoor flooring projects or for areas that may be in constant contact with moisture, such as a shower or bathtub.

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the waterproofing product generously for maximum protection.

FAQs: How Do You Waterproof Painted Wood?

1. Can I use regular paint to waterproof wood?

No, regular paint does not provide sufficient waterproofing for wood. You will need to use a sealant or specialized waterproof paint to protect painted wood from moisture damage.

2. What type of waterproof paint is best for painted wood?

There are several types of waterproof paint that are suitable for painted wood, including acrylic-based waterproof paints, oil-based paints, and marine paints. The best type of paint will depend on the specific use and environmental conditions your wood will be exposed to.

3. Do I need to sand the painted wood before applying waterproofing?

Yes, it is recommended to sand the painted wood before applying waterproofing to ensure that the sealant or paint adheres properly. Sanding will also help to remove any existing surface damage or flaking paint.

4. How many coats of waterproofing do I need to apply?

The number of coats will vary depending on the type of waterproofing product and the level of protection you require. Some sealants and paints require multiple coats, while others only need one. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow their recommendations.

5. How long will the waterproofing last?

The durability of your waterproofing will depend on a number of factors, including the quality of the product you use, the type of wood, and the environmental conditions it is exposed to. On average, a well-applied waterproofing treatment should last at least several years.

6. Can I apply waterproofing over chipped or peeling paint?

No, it is not recommended to apply waterproofing over damaged or peeling paint as it will not provide effective protection. You should repair any damage to the paint before applying a waterproofing product.

7. Is it safe to use waterproofing products around plants and animals?

Some waterproofing products may contain harmful chemicals that can be toxic to plants and animals. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take precautions to ensure that the area is well-ventilated and that pets and plants are kept away until the product has dried.

Closing: Thanks for Reading

We hope this article has been helpful in answering your questions about how to waterproof painted wood. Remember to take your time and choose the right product for your specific needs, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. With proper waterproofing, your painted wood will be able to withstand the wettest of weather and provide long-lasting durability. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you back here soon!

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