Why You Need to Treat Your Wooden Gate with Oil-Based Products

There’s a reason wooden gates are so popular. Their elegance is something to behold, whether through the intricate patterns in some creations or the simplicity of others. Whatever your wooden gates look like, caring for them is vital for the preservation of their magnificent looks, and doing so can be difficult if you’re unsure what you need to do. Here, the team at Strand Systems will detail why oil-based products are the right choice for your wooden gates.

Should I use a water-based product?

There are some benefits to water-based products: they dry quickly, they don’t contain as many VOCs as other products, and they also don’t have the same strong odour. When you use such products to clean your gate, the water will be absorbed into the wood, which aids the development of rot and cracks. Once rot has set in, the wood is then even more vulnerable to water absorption, which exacerbates the process even further.

What are VOCs?

VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds. These take the form of gases emitted from various solids and liquids, and the effects of these gases can vary, including short and long-term effects on our health. They are much more prominent indoors, with a concentration 10 times higher than outdoors. These compounds are found in a variety of products that we use in our homes, from varnishes and paints to many cleaning products, so we are often exposed to them in our day to day lives.

They’re also present in wood preservatives, which means that we can be exposed to them when caring for our wooden gates, if the correct precautions aren’t taken. Prolonged exposure to VOCs can lead to varying health problems, from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat to dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

What else do I need to know?

You should know that even with the utmost care and attention, the wood can be affected by the elements. This is part of the natural characteristics of the wood, and if you see slight cracks along the grain, or shrinking or swelling of the wood, remember it is to be expected.
It’s also important to make sure that your oil treatments are inspected yearly and that the bottom of the gate is sealed for these treatments.
You also need to allow 2-6 hours for the solution to dry – this is longer than water-based treatments, but it does allow for extra touches if necessary, such as removing excess liquid before it dries on.

There are three different types of wood you can use for your gates – hardwood, redwood softwood and pressure treated softwood.

Redwood softwood require water-repellent treatments to prevent swelling, cracking and warping.

Hardwood requires much less maintenance and protection, but they do experience colour fading, which makes oil staining crucial if you want to preserve its original look.

Pressure treated softwood is already prepared to repel rot, thanks to the treatment it undergoes before being sold. Preservatives are forced into the wood through a vacuum, which means that you only need to use oil stains for aesthetic reasons, rather than to protect the health of the material.

Are oil-based wood treatments right for my gate?

As well as the beautiful looks you get from using an oil-based product on your gate, you’re helping to preserve the longevity of the wood. When the oil product is absorbed, it repels water and moisture, helping to prevent rot, which could otherwise be disastrous for your gate.

How often should I treat my wooden gate?

Wood stains don’t need frequent coats to maintain their finish, but it’s advised that you re-apply oil treatments every 1-2 years to ensure the upkeep of your wooden gates’ looks. This can vary, though, on the type of weather your gate is exposed to – the oil will make your gate waterproof, but if it’s exposed to excessive heat, more coats might need to be applied.

wooden farm gate

Strand Systems are leading providers of bespoke wooden gates for domestic, commercial and industrial clients. For more information about what we do, please contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.