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Eco Outdoor Wood Paints - Quick Guide

Eco Outdoor Wood Paints - Quick Guide

Posted by Celtic Sustainables on 29th Apr 2020

This eco outdoor wood finish guide is intended as a quick reference only. Please always read datasheets and instructions before applying (and preferably before purchasing!). If in any doubt at all about what eco outside wood finish you could use on your project, please do contact us. We are always happy to help. For the full range of outside wood finishes see out External Wood Finishes Page.

Wood Oils for Bare Outside Wood

Putdoor Wendy House being painted with Auro 160 Natural Woodstain In most situations we would recommend a wood oil for bare wood - especially when the wood is mainly in a vertical position. However there are exceptions (please keep reading to find out which scenarios break this rule).

Sometimes known as wood stains, wood oils have the advantages of penetrating the wood, nourishing it and flexing with the wood over the seasons and so won't crack, blister or flake off.

They are available in either pigmented or clear versions.

Pigmented oils after the second coat often look like paint (see the image of the Summer Houses at the Cwtch Café above), or to see the wood grain more one coat of pigmented oil followed by one coat of clear.

Clear external wood oils are often available with UV protection (so that sunlight does not change the colour over time) or without UV protection.

Eco Outdoor Wood Oil Finishes include:

Paint for External Painted Wood

Wooden Garden Gate painted with Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell (sometimes known as Exterior Eggshell, Gloss or Satin Paint)

If your wood work has already been painted, the easiest thing to do is remove all the flaky paint, give the surface a light sand, and paint it again. The alternative is to remove all the paint completely and treat like bare wood.

Eco Outdoor Wood Paints include: 

Note: if you want to use an exterior paint on bare wood you will need to use a primer first.

Painting and Protecting Wooden Decking

Decking Colours available from the Treatex Exterior Wood Oil Range We recommend wood oils that have been specially formulated for decking. They are best applied to bare wood. 

If your decking already has a paint on it (or other film forming finish) that stops oils penetrating into the timbers, it must be fully removed prior to application. When over coating a previously finished surface, a trial application is essential. 

For older decking you must ensure that the timber is dry and free from possible contaminates e.g. algae, grease, dirt, dust etc.(see below).

If your timber or location is susceptible to mould and fungi you should pre-treat with a suitable undercoat for extra protection (see below).

Eco Decking Wood Oil Finishes include: 

2 coats are recommended. 

If you are concerned about slipping on your decking, the second coat can be an "anti-slip" coat.

Eco Anti-Slip Decking Finishes include: 

Another option: 

Note: If your decking is grooved like the picture please be aware that the surface area that the oil will be applied to is greater than the horizontal square meterage of the deck. Also be super careful as you apply the oil to make sure oil doesn't sit too much in the grooves (keep checking for drips and brush out as necessary).

Outdoor Oak, Fir, Cedar, Teak and Tropical Woods

Treatex Teak Protection Oak wood is rich in tannins. Douglas Fir, Cedar and tropical hard woods have active oils/resins in them or are very close grained. These characteristics mean that these woods may require more specialist finishes (see also Woods in Damp or Wet Environments below).

Luckily our eco suppliers have these woods covered too.

If you are not sure what type of wood your timber is a small trial application is essential.

Eco External Finishes for Oak include: 

Eco External Finishes for Douglas Fir/Cedar/Larch include: 

Eco External Finishes for Tropical Woods include: 

Love Natural Grey Weathering

Organowood protects outside wood while it greys naturally If you love the natural grey weathering effect that happens over time with woods like spruce, larch, pine and oak but want to make sure the wood is protected from rot, fire, dirt and water Organowood is the solution for you.

Organowood was developed in Sweden and is an effective wood protection system that is entirely non-toxic.

The processs mimics the natural fossilisation process that occurs in organic materials and the water repellent (superhydrophobic) properties of the lotus leaf.

Three Organowood products include: 

Beehives and Wildlife Houses

Wood Finishes for Bees and Wildlife homes For wood finishes that are suitable for Beehives, Bird Boxes and other wildlife houses you are looking for a finish that is both low in VOC and also has zero biocides. Biocides are sometimes used to help preserve paints and paint brands do not necessarily disclose whether they have been used on the tin.

We have many enquiries about which paints are suitable for wildlife and have made the following list.

Eco Wood Paints for wildlife include: 

Important: Please ensure the paint is fully cured (2 to 3 days) before introducting the wildlife to their new home.

Note: we don't know which colour wildlife prefers and there is a lot of debate about whether colours or whites are best or even matter. Please research that depending on what wildlife you are hoping to help. If you find any definative answers, please let us know!

Wood in Damp or Wet Environments

Some woods easily stain and should be treated with a Stain Protector Woods that are either prone to staining (because of a high tannin content like Oak, Teak and Mahogany) or where they will be situated in wet or damp environment or will be stood on the ground (and therefore prone to rotting) may require a protecting undercoat before using one of the finishing products above. 

It's best to read the datasheets for the outside wood finish that you want to use and then decide whether you need extra protection undercoat for your wood and location. 

We have two extra protection options for you:

Eco Outdoor Wood Cleaners and Paint Removers

Other eco outside wood finishes

We are adding to our range all the time, please check out our External Wood Finishes pages for a full list of eco outdoor wood finishes.

[article originally published June 2019, updated August 2022]