Preserving wood is done by treating it with a substance that causes the wood to resist rot, insect damage, and wear. This may be done in a number of ways, and the best method for preserving wood depends on the use that the wood will be put to. Some wood preservatives are absorbed by the wood while others form an impermeable barrier on its surface. Many tricks are used by hobbyists, do-it-yourself enthusiasts, and professionals to preserve wood for all kinds of uses.
The most important thing to consider when approaching wood preservation is the intended use for the wood in question. Hardwood floors require a different type of preservation than wood used for a child's outdoor playset. Some types of woods come pre-treated. Pressure treated lumber is used when the wood is be exposed to the elements. This technique involves infusing the lumber all the way through with any one of various chemicals, some naturally occurring and some manmade, which retard decay.
Once you have determined the use for the wood to be preserved, consider what kind of finish you want. Many wood preservatives are designed to be mostly absorbed into the wood. Others form an external coating on the surface. Most external coatings preserve the wood by preventing the absorption of moisture and by providing a barrier to damage such as scratching and gouging. Most treatments for preserving wood that are fully absorbed prevent rot but may also give the wood a pleasing color or sheen.
Applying a wood preservative should always be done according to the compound manufacturer's instructions. Many of these kinds of materials will give off fumes that are unpleasant or harmful and will almost certainly be flammable if concentrated. Work in an area with adequate ventilation. Dust can get into preservatives, which might alter or even ruin the finish. For this reason, it is best to apply wood preservatives in an area as free from dust, pollen, and other possible airborne particles as possible.
Use the suggested tools and application method when applying a wood preservative. The manufacturers know which methods will work best for applying their product, whether it is with a brush, sponge, rag. Some types, such as spray lacquer, come in an aerosol can. When preserving wood, use a fresh, clean applicator, and except for brushes that have been properly cleaned, do not reuse old applicators.