Wood is an undeniably beautiful and robust material. Those traits are part of why it's used in everything from home construction to art. However, wood does have one built-in disadvantage - wooden surfaces are highly vulnerable to water damage. Moisture and humidity alike can cause swelling, rotting, or even insect infestations. Thankfully, waterproofing wood is easier than most people would suspect. And in doing so, one will ensure that projects using wood will stand the test of time. However, one does need to choose between the three main methods of waterproofing wood.
Stain-sealant works with larger scale and short timelines
Stain-sealants combine colored pigments and binding agents. The coloring can even be transparent, so one shouldn't assume that it'll fundamentally change the look of wood. However, stain-sealants are the most invasive form of waterproofing. In fact, it quite literally soaks into the wood.
In general, people prefer stain-sealants for larger projects which need to be done quickly. It doesn't offer the fine detail people receive with other waterproofing options. And it does need reapplying every few years. However, it's also something that can be easily applied in bulk.
Using oils for waterproofing
One should always consider oils when the question of how to waterproof wood comes up. Oils usually come in one of two varieties - linseed oil and tung oil. In general, these oils work best with dark-grained woods. So if one has mahogany or walnut, oil might be the best option.
This form of waterproofing does require more active effort than a stain-sealant. One should begin by carefully sanding and cleaning the wood. Next, the oil should be applied using a paintbrush. It's best to wait a while before looking over the surface once again. It's essential to look for any dry areas that might have been missed during the initial application. These areas should be oiled as well. Finally, one should wipe off residual oil before letting it dry. This will take anywhere between two to eight hours. From here, one can also do a light sanding.
Sealants as a middle ground
Sealants are something of a middle ground between the other two options. They can either be brushed or sprayed onto the wood. The process tends to be fairly quick, as well. Sealants typically dry after only 15 minutes. One applies the sealant and waits. At that point, one needs to do a quick re-sanding and recoating.
It's faster than using oils. However, this is still somewhat slower than using a stain-sealant. And in general, that's one of the major points to remember when wondering how to waterproof wood. The technique and material used are heavily tied to how much time and effort one can put into the project.