Maintenance treatments for external timber

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The maintenance of external timber commonly serves two purposes: the continuation of certain performance requirements and/or the continuation of a desired visual appearance.

This sheet provides guidance on the use and maintenance of timber finishes in external environments. It offers a number of best practice suggestions on the available products that may be used for finishing as well as details on the few naturally durable timbers that do not need preservative treatment.


  • Finish types
  • End use
  • Preparation
  • Timber surface and orientation
  • Accessibility
  • Health and safety issues
  • Paint
  • Varnish
  • Stains
  • Unfinished external timber

Suggested Reading

Timber fencingnavigation-arrow

Timber has proved to be a particularly suitable material for a wide range of domestic and commercial fencing applications throughout the UK. Easily worked and readily available in a variety of types, shapes and sizes, it can last longer and perform better than many alternative materials - either in its...

23/03/2018 |  Wood Information Sheet  

Timber in playground equipmentnavigation-arrow

Timber and wood products are widely used in children's outdoor play equipment. This is mainly because timber is a versatile, warm, robust material, which fits well into this environment. It is more 'friendly' in the playground context than many alternative materials and has been shown to be preferred by users...

24/09/2021 |  Wood Information Sheet  

Timber for garden projectsnavigation-arrow

Wood is a natural product that can be used in a huge variety of ways to immediately enhance any garden. It is important to choose the right timber for the job so that it will last longer. Timber garden products can last for years, but that little extra care will...

01/01/2012 |  Choose and Use