Do I have to preserve old barn wood?

by Mike
(Parkersburg, WV)

I want to use old barn wood in an outside project. It will be exposed to the elements. Should it be treated or preserved with something first?

-Mike
Parkersburg, WV

Hi Mike,

Well, It depends on a few things. What species of wood is it? White Oak lasts a lot longer than other woods because it has more anti-fungal properties than others, the same with cedar, redwood, and black locust. If it is one of these you should have nothing to worry about.

Even if it is not one of these, all types of wood will last a long time outdoors if you care for it properly. The single most important thing you can do is to make sure that the wood cannot trap moisture.

Wood can get wet and be just fine as long as it does not stay wet. Along with that the humidity in the environment has much to do with the length of time your wood will last. If you live in a desert than wood left outdoors could last thousands of years, such as in the case of Egyptian ships that have been recovered after being buried in the desert for thousands of years.

If you live in a more humid environment such as near an ocean, your wood may be more susceptible to rot and fungus. In that case you may want to apply a linseed oil or other type of water repellant finish to your project.

Thank you for your question, and I wish you the best with your project!

Don't for get to come back here and share your barn wood project with the rest of us.

Have a great day!

The Barn Geek

Comments for Do I have to preserve old barn wood?

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Jan 11, 2013
Good stuff to KNOW !
by: Tod A Witek

Thanks Aaron---was just having this conversation with a few looking to purchase some barn siding!

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