Keep Wood From Molding

How Do You Protect Wood from Water Damage?

Water damage is difficult to deal with in any scenario. Floods can be life-destroying, devastating everything that the water comes into contact with. It can be dangerous to go into floodwaters, considering you won’t be able to see the life-threatening things beneath it. There could be deep holes, sharp debris, and sickness-inducing microbes in it. It could be mixed with sewage water and other things. The time it takes to drain can be agonizing, but you have to wait until the flood lowers to go back into your home.

There are many things that can still be salvaged after a flood. Restoration is a service that some may not think of when it comes to home-ruining floods. However, it should be thought of whenever there’s any sort of water damage. Flooding is one thing, but anything can happen. Water pipes can burst in or under your home, a hole can be put through a roof, and more. Humidity can even gather inside if you don’t have good ventilation, making it soak the walls and grow mold that way. Ceilings can get water damaged too, but it's a bit easier to repair.

Some things are more porous than others, meaning there are tiny holes that can house microbes. Microbes are tiny, microscopic organisms that can grow bigger with the right circumstances. For example, mold and mildew can grow on and in wood more easily than glazed ceramic tile. There are different types of wood and each has a different amount of porousness. Either way, wood can be important to protect. There are many ways you can do it, too.

What are the types of wood?

When it comes to water damage, there are a few things to keep in mind. With the different types, water affects each one differently and some are even unsalvageable. It can sometimes be difficult to tell which types of wood you have in your home, but most wood can be protected from moisture either way. There are many different types and each one falls under two categories: hardwood and softwood.

The terms “soft” and “hard” refer to the types of reproduction these trees go through. Hardwood seeds produce seeds that are covered with a shell or some other covering, whereas softwood seeds don’t have any sort of covering and are left to their own survival. That means that hard and soft woods do not have much difference other than their seeds! It depends on the specific type of wood, but these two categories don’t have many differences.

Hardwood vs. Softwood

Softwood is one of the more common woods when it comes to flooring, furniture, and other lumber materials. It makes up about 80% of the United States’ lumber usage. It is usually cheaper than its hardwood counterpart. Softwoods are trees like Spruce, Pine, Cedar, Fir, and Larch. There isn’t much difference between the woods other than mostly light and dark, with softwood usually being on the lighter side.

Hardwood is denser since the trees grow slowly. However, that does not mean they are less quality than softwood. They do tend to be denser and, as such, have a better water resistance than its softwood counterparts. That does not mean that it is less porous, though. Most hardwoods are darker and this category includes trees like Alder, Aspen, Balsa, Beech, and more.

Difference Between Manufactured Wood and Particle Board

It is very difficult to find true, solid wood items from retail stores or brand names. Most furniture and flooring are composed of a mixture of manufactured wood and solid wood. They’re made in the same wood, but are mostly made with scraps and other fibers that don’t come from the wood itself. It’s not exactly particle board, which is only compressed wood chips and resin, coated with veneer.

Particle wood is more of a filler than anything. It is a fine temporary solution to something, but it shouldn’t be a long-term solution. Manufactured wood is a lot stronger and can take the place of solid wood, considering that is what much of today’s furniture is made out of. It has greater structural strength, making it last a lot longer than particle board or pressboard.

Pressboard is also very weak when it comes to supporting things, compared to its other wooden counterparts. When exposed to water, it will soak it up like a sponge and will need to be thrown out either way. You can’t seal particle board very well, so going for the manufactured or solid woods will be better overall. Never settle for less when it comes to furniture, considering it can even be salvaged when water damage comes into play.

Protect Wood from Water Damage

There is no type of wood that is perfectly safe from water damage if it is subjected to it. There are multiple ways that you can protect your wooden goods, so consider your options if you’re in a humid or flooding area. Many pieces of furniture and floors are made of wood, so it can be important to know what you can do to protect your wood.

Unfinished wood is some of the easiest surfaces to become water damaged. These unfinished surfaces are more porous than finished ones, considering they aren’t treated with any sort of sealant. This is a great time to stain or polish the wood to give it a beautiful color, but be sure to seal it up afterward. Otherwise, it will get damaged by water.

Waterproofing Wood

Considering that wood is porous, it’s easy to apply waterproof and sealant. Oil-based sealants are a great way to cover up the pores in the wood, keeping water and other microbes out of the wood and keeping them safe from water damage. These sealants are also used to keep water out of basement areas, so applying similar waterproofs to your wooden furniture, decks, or flooring can go a long way.

When planning to waterproof your surfaces, it is a good idea to use a cleaner to get rid of any mold, mildew, or dirt that may be on the wood. If you seal it with these microbes on it, it could ruin the wood very quickly. At this point, you can also remove weathered waterproof covering if it needs it, as well as a stripper to pull off solid stains. Applying a stronger waterproof coating is a good idea.

Best Practices

It’s a good idea to get tinted waterproof sealants rather than clear ones, considering that UV exposure from the sun can cause wood to fade in color. It will look less and less like the wood you originally had, considering wood contains pigment and it can be destroyed by the sun.

Never wait too long to apply finishing or waterproofing to wood. The longer you wait, the more problems you could have that are easily preventable. Wood can be beautiful, but it can also be sensitive to exposure. Light, moisture, and weather can ruin a beautiful piece of furniture or a deck, so never wait longer than you should.


Wood is a beautiful thing if you want to put it in your house or outside in your garden or patio. A deck can really tie a home together with the outside. Furniture and flooring can be given a beautiful, natural look if you decide to go with it. It all needs to be protected from water, though, especially the outside wood. Furniture, flooring, and even walls need to be sealed properly to avoid water damage.

There are many sealants and waterproof liquids out there that can be applied to wood. It’s a good idea to look for tinted sealants, considering clear ones can lead to ultraviolet exposure from the sun. Either way, you should do it soon after you get the wood if it’s not finished. Of course, it’s a good idea to let it set two to three weeks if it’s a brand new surface. Don’t wait too long, though.