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Looking after your exterior Joinery

If like most of us you have wooden gates or garage doors you will need to protect from the damaging effects of our volatile British climate. You have basically two choices, wood oils and paint/varnish.

Wood Oils

People often use wood oil rather than paints or varnishes but If you do this keep in mind you could end up having to reapply additional coats of oil every few months to keep the timber in top condition.


Avoid ranch or fence paint from the big DIY stores as these often these are made solely for rough sawn timber and do not protect smooth planed timber. It used to be that gloss paint was the most common choice but this has its problems in that if water does penetrate the paintwork it won't can't then escape effectively. You may have gone to repaint a window frame previously coated in a gloss paint only to find a paint shell on the outside with rotten wood within because moisture has gained access to the timber and was effectively trapped.

These days people tend to use micro porous paint or stains to keep wooden gates, windows and doors in prime condition. These are moisture vapour permeable paints and stains which means the paint or stains will allow the timber to "breathe" which helps prevent any moisture from entering the wood and releasing any moisture already present. Good quality micro porous paints or stains often contain a UV filter too to help protect against damage caused by sunlight.

Painting or staining wooden gates

Before you hanging your gates it's a good idea to apply at least one coat of your chosen treatment,  however, more coats are even better. I usually repaint or re varnish every year, taking the gate off its hinges to do this.

Wooden garage doors

Garage doors

As with wooden gates, timber garage doors should have at least one coat of your chosen treatment applied.

If the garage door in question has windows it is best to remove the glazing beads so that you can get a coat of the paint or stain on where the glass would sit when replaced. Start on the rear of the doors first. The glazing beads will also benefit from a coat but this can be done once the doors are coated. Let them dry before re fixing.

Any frame should also be coated similarly prior to fitting not forgetting the side that will sit against the wall.

When applying your paint or stain always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Apply paint or stain to the timber in the same direction as the grain - don't paint across the grain.

Use the best brush you can afford and one that is appropriate for the treatment you are applying. For water based paints a synthetic brush is best as they don't absorb much water. For oil based treatments natural bristle brushes are the best.

Also ensure you get a decent coating of paint or stain on any end grain of the timber. The end grain is the most susceptible to sucking in water.