How to Seal Charred Wood

Charred wood can provide an absolutely beautiful tone and texture to any home. When using it outside, however, it’s important to seal it properly to prevent damage from the elements. Weather can quickly turn your wonderful wood patio or deck into a battered shadow of its former self.

Here we will be going over the process of properly sealing your charred wood to ensure that it looks its best rain or shine.

Before we get started, feel free to check our charred wood projects gallery.

How to seal charred wood
– How to seal charred wood

Why You Should Seal Your Burnt Wood

You may not be familiar with charred wood and its resilient properties. If you aren’t, then here’s a quick primer. Charred timber, also called Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi, is a time-honored Japanese tradition of burning and treating wood with oil that improves longevity and appearance.

Though the resiliency of charred timber is greater than untreated wood, it is still advisable to seal any wood that will be used outdoors. Sealing the wood adds an extra level of protection against the elements, preventing cracks, peels, and chipping.

You may think that you only need to seal outdoor wood, but there are many cases where indoor wood furniture also needs to be sealed, and requires a slightly different method.

Here’s the Deal on the Best Way to Seal

Sealing indoor and outdoor burnt wood is basically the same, with only a few minor differences. The process is simple, and straightforward, and does not require great skill in woodworking. Follow these simple steps to seal your charred wood.

1. Brush it down

Brushing down your wood prepares it for treatment. Without this step, the sealant will not be able to penetrate the wood’s outer surface, especially with burnt wood, which has been altered by the Shou Sugi Ban process. It will be resistant to any treatment without this first step. You don’t need to brush very much or very hard. A light brushing of the top will be sufficient to “open” the wood enough for the sealant to permeate through – which is what is needed. Be sure to remove any leftover brushing or wood dust before continuing to the next step.

2. Stain the grain (optional)

Most people are pleased with the appearance of Yakisugi wood in its natural state. However, if you want to make additional visual alterations by painting or staining the wood, this is the time. You can apply any color of paint or stain that you prefer. There’s not much to this step. Just be sure to let the paint dry before moving on.

3. Seal it up

After we have brushed the wood down and painted it, it’s now time to seal it back up. Like the other steps, this is also simple to do. The key is not to apply the sealant too thick. Many people think, “If a little sealant is good, more will be even better”, but that’s not the case here. You don’t need a large amount of sealant to get the job done.

3a. Choosing the right sealant for the right job

The most popular outdoor sealant is polyurethane. There are different types of polyurethane mixtures, some made with oils, and some made with water. The consensus is that oil-based polyurethane is more weather-resistant, and is the better choice.

For indoor wood furniture and floors, you will instead want to use shellac sealant. Shellac is safer than polyurethane and non-toxic, making it ideal for indoor use. The one downside to shellac is that it does not hold up well to water, so using it outdoors makes it vulnerable to rain.

3b. Different strokes for different folks

If you painted or stained your wood in step two, do not use the same brush in this step. Use a clean brush and lightly dip it in the sealant. Wipe off any overly thick globs that may be on the brush and apply a thin coat of sealant.

The general method is to start from the inside of the wood and brush with slow even strokes outward. If you find that you have a nice even layer, then you are done, and you can let the sealant set and dry. If you find that the coat is not even, you can apply a second layer from the outside in.

Nothing must touch the sealant while it’s drying, especially if you plan to use shellac wood sealant on indoor wood furniture or flooring. Not touching parts of the floor can be challenging, which is why the application tends to be inside to outside and then back in.

Each product is a bit different, but generally, you should allow each coat to dry for about one hour before applying additional coats. Depending on which sealant you are using, additional brushing may also be required. Read your specific sealant’s instructions for the details on proper application.

Charred wood facade
– Charred wood facade

A Great Seal For a Great Feel

Whether indoors or outdoors, a good sealant can be the perfect complement to ensure that your charred wood remains in top shape. Sealing Yakisugi wood can also give it an extra shine, which plays perfectly with natural lighting to create an unmatched atmosphere and style.

If you’re looking to add burnt wood to your home, Degmeda are experts in the art of traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban. They offer many types of timber to suit your style, including Accoya, larch, pine, spruce, and cedar.

Contact Degmeda today for professional advice and assistance in planning your next home improvement project.