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    Timber treatments

    Wood can be treated to protect it from decay, make it more durable, fill cracks and splits, and to create an attractive natural finish. Products such as primer and knotting appear under the Paint section. So here we look at other wood treatments that are used in a wide range of DIY projects.

    Wood preservative

    There is a range of wood preservative products on the market for external wood and garden furniture.  A wood preservative will protect the wood from decay and insect attack. It can be applied as a base coat for another finish or on its own. Wood preservative can be water-based or oil-based and is available in a choice of finishes including clear, coloured matt and semi gloss.

    Wood filler

    Multi-purpose wood fillers are available which produce professional, long-lasting repairs to splits, cracks and holes in wood. Extremely flexible multi-purpose wood fillers are suitable for interior and exterior work and will not shrink or crack. When dry, a wood stain, varnish or paint can be applied.

    Wood hardener

    This is a rapid drying solution used to repair decayed wood. Wood hardener strengthens, binds and hardens loose wood fibres to provide a firm base for applying filler or for painting. As the hardener produces a long-lasting, weather-resistant repair it is suitable for exterior as well as interior use.


    Wood stain can be either water-based or oil-based and is available in different natural wood colours and shades. It can produce a matt or gloss finish. When applied the stain soaks into the grain and can emphasise the wood's natural colour or even darken it. Wood stain is suitable for interior and exterior use.


    Oil protects and nourishes the wood and gives a clear finish. It can be used inside and out but it is not suitable for sealed wood.


    Wood dye can be water or oil-based and gives a matt finish. It enhances the natural colour of the wood but is generally used only for interior application unless it has another finish applied on top.


    Only for interior use, wax can produce a transparent or translucent finish in addition to nourishing and protecting the timber. Some wax products can be brought to a high gloss finish by buffing with a clean, dry cloth.


    Varnish is a very versatile and hardwearing wood treatment. It can be transparent or coloured and produces a very decorative finish while protecting the wood at the same time. Varnish can be water or oil-based, have a matt or a gloss finish and is suitable for interior and exterior use.


    Timber that has had preservative impregnated into its grain. This process is carried out at the sawmill. Pressure-tested timber will provide the best protection particularly if the timber is in contact with the ground.

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