Here, Ronseal’s woodcare expert, Jimmy Englezos, shares some seasonal tips for getting it right, including how to prep and the best tools and products for the job. Whether you’re looking for new ways to protect old items or handy hacks for making fences, sheds and furniture look their best for longer, his bright ideas are sure to help.
1. Do an autumn audit
Most of us have lots of wood in our outdoor spaces – likely to be in different states of repair – so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.
Look at fences, gates, sheds, cladding, furniture – even wooden doors and window frames – and check for signs of damage or rot in order to evaluate whether parts may need to be replaced or just repaired. Also, consider the condition of any existing coatings, including paints, oils or varnishes, to see if they need to be reapplied or removed.
2. Get kitted out
The great British weather is here to stay, so it’s worth investing in an essentials kit containing some of the tools you’ll need to keep your wood primed, cleaned and in tip-top condition.
If you buy them this autumn/winter, they’ll serve you well for years to come, and you won’t be caught out next time you need them.
As a starting point, I’d suggest buying a stiff brush for removing flaking or old paint, mould and debris, as well as dust sheets to protect plants and shrubbery, sandpaper (in various grits), strong gardening gloves and a dust mask – wide brushes will always come in handy too.
3. Check the forecast
For most maintenance and weatherproofing jobs, it’s best to work in a mild climate when the weather is dry and the temperature is at least 10ºC – this is particularly important if you’re planning to clean, prime or apply products to outdoor wooden surfaces
Even quick-dry products will need an hour or two to become showerproof, so keep an eye out for those rare sunny autumn days.
4. Fine fencing
Fencing can take a real battering from the elements, so it’s important to make sure it’s weatherproofed for winter.
Give wood a good clean – clearing cobwebs and other debris so you can see its condition. Remove or repair any rotten or damaged panels, then think about the kind of protection you need.
The key thing with fencing is to keep water out, but it’s also important to prevent sun damage which can cause fading or greying later in the year. I’d therefore recommend choosing a stain or paint that offers comprehensive and long-lasting protection, such as the Ronseal Shed and Fence Preserver.
5. Give your gates what they need
As well as weatherproofing, gates need protecting from knocks and scuffs too – especially ones in high footfall areas.
When choosing a product for your gate, consider how often it’s used and where it is; for example, is it in direct sunlight or a damp spot?
Most gates are made of smooth, well-played wood, so for ultimate protection, opt for a varnish, like Ronseal’s Crystal Clear Varnish, which will provide unbeatable protection against wear and tear. If your gate is at the front of the house and you want to create stand-out ‘kerb appeal’, then Ronseal’s Garden Paint is a great choice as it offers great protection and comes in a range of 29 colours.
6. Show the shed some love
Our sheds take a bit of a battering from the weather so being proactive about protecting them is a must. Make sure your shed is watertight by checking the roof, windows and doors and tackle any repairs that are needed.
If you want to add a pop of colour, again reach for Ronseal Garden Paint, which can also be used on sheds. Alternatively, for a more neutral coating, Ronseal One Coat Fence Life will do a great job of protecting your property ready for next summer.
7. Perfect furniture all year round
We’re spending more time than ever socialising outdoors, including during autumn and winter, so it’s vital that any wooden furniture is shown some serious TLC.
The condition of furniture can determine the type of product you choose. So, for newer items, in good condition, an oil will highlight the natural beauty of the wood while protecting against the elements – try Ronseal’s Teak Oil for long-lasting protection. For older pieces or items that can’t be stored indoors, a paint – like the all-rounder Ronseal Garden Paint – is better for covering any flaws or imperfections and stopping further weather damage.
8. Be window-wise
Wooden window frames look amazing, but they must be maintained and protected against the elements to keep them looking their best.
It’s a fiddly job and one that can be overlooked, however, choosing a long-lasting, high-performance product – like Ronseal’s 10-Year Weatherproof Wood Stain – will give you peace of mind for a decade. It’s touch-dry in an hour, so you could be done in an afternoon.
9. Front door
Your front door sets the tone for the rest of your home, and traffic, weather and people can all leave their mark.
Give your door a proper clean, then think about re-painting it to keep it looking fabulous for the year ahead. You should be able to use the same product on window frames and doors – saving you money in the long run and making touch-ups easier.
Tired or sun-damaged wooden cladding can look ugly and unsightly and will have a short shelf life, so preventing weather damage is essential.
Most cladding is smooth, planed wood, so it can be treated with a choice of wood stain, paint or varnish, depending on the size of the area and the type of wood used.
Varnishes offer brilliant protection against water, and Ronseal’s Yacht Varnish offers a really high level of protection. Plus, it will enhance the natural look of a wooden surface too.