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A valuable and versatile material, wood has been used to build bridges, houses, ships and other major structures since the dawn of civilization. Wood is not only a strong and stiff building material but is also light, flexible, and surprisingly delicate. There are different preservatives that can be used to restore the strength of damaged wood and extend its life, one of which is a liquid wood hardener that penetrates deeply into the wood to protect it against further decay. There are various liquid wood hardeners to choose from, hence the need to conduct thorough research to ensure that you buy the best product suitable for your needs.
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Why Should You Harden Wood?
As a widely used building material the world over, wood requires specialized maintenance for durability. Damage caused by bacteria, insects, moisture, and rot can be detrimental – particularly for load-bearing timber – and can compromise the quality and aesthetic value of your wooden furniture and household trimmings. A wood hardener is a swift and easy way to tackle these threats and guarantee a prolonged life for your wood.
As a wooden structure owner, watching your wood waste away can be distressing. Wood hardeners require no skill or expertise and are very easy to use, which makes them suitable for at-home wood enthusiasts. A wood hardener is a quick-drying liquid formula that soaks deeply into the wood and offers protection against further rot, while sealing the surface and protecting against elements like moisture.
Identifying the appropriate wood hardener for your wooden structure is crucial, as there are many rotted wood restorer products available on the market. Read further to discover some wood hardener reviews that will help you find the best product for your unique needs.
Consistency is Crucial
Different kinds of preservatives and restoratives help to protect and preserve wood in varied ways, which means that choosing the right consistency for your wood is crucial. The precise consistency for your project is determined by various factors, including the extent of the damage, the wooden surface, and whether your wood is indoors or outdoors. The right consistency also dictates how you can apply the hardener to get the best possible outcome.
Spraying thinner consistencies onto the wooden structure is often easier when it comes to restoration, and some choose to soak the wood when it is severely damaged. In contrast, thicker consistency hardeners produce the best outcome when they are brushed on. A thinner consistency works better if you are working with a piece of wood that is extremely damaged by rot. On the other hand, if you want to stabilize wood throughout, a thick hardener can easily soak deep into the pores of the wood and ensure stabilization.
Working with horizontal flat surfaces will allow you to use either a thick or thin consistency hardener, while for a vertical surface using a thicker consistency to reduce running and dripping might be easier.
When it comes to refurbishing your damaged fence or wooden structure based outside, where it will be exposed to weather elements like water, you must use a wood hardener that can seal the surface while offering durability.
Our Top Three Recommended Wood Hardeners
Once you notice that your wooden furniture or structures are starting to rot, you need only use the best wood hardeners to restore the rotted wood and ensure a prolonged life. There are various products available on the market and you must identify the right product that will suit your needs. It is not always easy to choose the best product, as it can be difficult to weigh the cost with the quality. Below are some of the options you can choose from as you embark on your journey of wood restoration.
Best Value Recommendation: J-B WELD Wood Restore Liquid Hardener
A highly affordable rotten wood stabilizer, J-B Weld’s liquid hardener is highly recommended by many woodworkers. The most effective element about this product is that it targets and reduces moisture in wood, which in turn helps in forming a solid base for filling, painting, and priming. There are many advantages to using this product, and chief among them is that the wood hardener significantly reduces the moisture present in decayed or rotted wood surfaces. It does this while also penetrating the wood so as to reinforce its fibers, preventing additional rot.
Some wood hardeners on the market only service the surface and fail to penetrate wood, which can result in the wood rotting internally.
Another advantage is that this liquid hardener is fast-drying, which makes it easy to work with and ideal for vertical pieces of wood. The liquid hardener has been also accredited for being long-lasting, with some people indicating that it has can have a 10-year span before needing reapplication.
However, there are a few disadvantages that come with using this rotten wood restorer, with the biggest being that the formula can be highly toxic. There is need to exercise caution when using this rotten wood restorer and ensure that it is kept out of reach of children and pets. To protect yourself when applying the wood hardener, you should wear a face mask and goggles to avoid breathing in dust or chemicals, as this can make you sick.
Another disadvantage is that it requires sanding between coats. Despite these disadvantages, this product is ideal to use on window frames, door frames, sills, eaves, sashes, columns, garages, fences, corner boards, antique furniture, and more.
Budget-Friendly: PC PRODUCTS PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener
PC-Petrifier is another affordable wood hardener available on the market with several advantages. Rotting and insects are some of the common agents that can cause significant damage your wood. To counter this threat, you need PC- Petrifier, as it is highly suitable for repairing wood damaged by insects or rot. This water-based wood hardener can be applied by brushing, spraying, or injecting it into wood’s pores. Since PC-Petrifier is water-based rather than solvent, it is less toxic, easier to clean, and is suitable for light-weight repairs. As the world is reeling from the effects of climate change, the water base used for PC-Petrifier not only makes it less toxic, but environmentally friendly.
- Wood Hardener repairs wood damaged by insects or rot
- It is a liquid that is brushed, sprayed or injected into the pores of the wood
- No mixin, Prepares wood for filling, priming and painting
This formula has a thicker consistency than other products, which can enable you to brush it onto a rough or vertical surface with ease. The wood hardener also does a good job in preparing your wood surface for painting, filling, or priming. However, the PC-Petrifier’s thickness also has a downside, as this means that the hardener cannot penetrate wood as efficiently as other products. Other disadvantages for using this wood hardener include that it does not go along with other fillers and it is not suitable for structural repairs. Some users have also expressed concern that the wood hardener’s bottle can spurt large blobs of hardener sometimes, making it difficult to smooth.
Premium Choice Recommendation: MINWAX High-Performance Wood Hardener
A little more expensive than our previous suggestions, Minwax High-Performance Wood Hardener is still midrange with many advantages. This wood hardener has a thin and watery consistency, thus allowing it to sink deep and strengthen decayed wood. Its versatility means that it can be used for outdoor projects such as window frames, fences, door frames, windowsills, and decks, as well as indoor projects including floors and furniture.
Its thin and watery consistency also enables it to dry quickly, leaving behind the hardened resin that will bind the wood fibers together. Minwax wood hardener also acts as a sealer against more moisture, rot, and water damage. This wood hardener’s thin consistency is a double-edged sword, however, as it has its downsides. This wood hardener dries fast, which requires you to work with precision as there is less time to correct errors you might make. Another problem is that Minwax’s wood hardener is highly toxic and dangerous, as it melts latex gloves. You need to exercise extreme caution when using this wood hardener, ensuring that you do not get it on your eyes and hands by wearing a face shield and rubber gloves.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wood Hardener
Carefully choosing your wood hardener is important, as it means that you will get what suits your needs at an affordable price. Things to consider include durability, drying time, color, and cost, as these can shape the outcome of your project.
Buying a wood hardener that will only last for a couple of months is a waste of time, money, and resources, which is where durability comes in. Before buying a wood hardener, it is important for you to conduct thorough research on available wood hardeners and customer reviews to ensure that you purchase a durable product that will suit and sustain your project. Examples of durable hardener include J-B Weld, which is said to last up to 10 years.
Different wood hardeners come with varying dying times and it is important that you select one you can easily work with. Fast drying wood hardeners enable you to complete tasks quickly, which is useful when working outdoors, but this gives little room to correct mistakes. Moderate to fast-drying formulations can be ideal for a wide range of projects.
Wood hardeners, as with paints, come in different colors. Some wood hardeners are clear, meaning that they do not affect the color of the wood, whereas others do. When deciding on a color, you should consider how it will match your environment. If you are going to apply wood fillers, you should aim to choose your hardener and filler at the same time so as to ensure that the colors match.
It is important to budget for the product you want to buy before buying it. If you are working on a low budget, research becomes critical for you to find the best product that will suit your project at an affordable price. Similarly, if you are working with a high budget, then you need to conduct thorough research because an expensive product does not automatically translate to a good product.
Applying Your Wood Hardener
Using a wood hardener is a straightforward process, although it does require some preparation. To get the best outcome when using a hardener, what you need to do is to ensure that you clean and prepare the wood before applying the formula. Once this stage is completed, you can proceed to use a filler to patch-up any holes, after which you can then paint or prime the wood.
Preparing Your Wood for Hardening
First, you need to identify the area on your wood or wooden structure that needs to be hardened. After this, you need to ensure that the wood that you are hardening is dried and has no moisture inside, because locking in moisture will result in the wood rotting from the inside.
The time it will take to finish preparation depends on the structure you are working with, for example, large wooden surfaces can take a few days to a month. Once the wood has dried, you need to scrape away any decayed or loose wood using a putty knife or even your hands, ensuring that you remove all dust and dirt that may get caught up in your hardener.
The drying time of your hardener determines the speed you should work with. If you are working with a fast-drying hardener, then you will need to work quickly and have all of your equipment in place before you commence your work. This is the step where you should put on protective clothing, including latex gloves and face masks.
The next step is to shake, open, and start applying your wood hardener to the wood. Depending on the severity of the damage, you can spray it onto the wood, brush the paint, or inject the hardener directly into the wood. Apply a second or third coat for extra strength and durability. The next step is to patiently wait for the hardener to dry, after which you can proceed to sand, paint, or stain the surface.
Aftercare to Ensure Longevity
Once you have finished applying your hardener, you can inspect your wood to see if there are any holes and cracks. If there are any cracks or holes on your wooden surface, you can repair these using a wooden filler. While most wood hardeners can act as sealants against moisture, it is also important to use varnish or a primer for additional waterproofing and strength. Wood hardeners like the PC-Petrifier can double as a primer, so you can apply your paint directly on top.
View our Stabilizing Rotted Wood web story here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Wood Hardener Stop Rot?
Wood hardeners can be used to prevent further rotting. Resins found in wood hardeners, once dried, effectively consolidate and harden rotted wood, leaving it tough, strong, stable, and more resilient to damage. It is important to ensure that your wood is completely dried before you apply your wood hardener, because leaving any moisture on the inside means that the wood will still rot from the inside. Although many liquid hardeners seal out moisture, it is still important to use products like varnishes and primers to protect your wood from absorbing moisture.
Can Wood Hardener Be Applied to Wet Wood?
A simple and straightforward answer is that wood hardeners cannot be applied to wet wood. Drying wood is the most important element of keeping wood strong and free from softening. Therefore, before applying your hardener, you need to make sure that you get rid of all internal and external moisture. Applying a wood hardener where there is moisture simply means that the wood will continue to rot on the inside.
What Are Wood Hardeners Made of?
Wood hardeners are made of an acrylic resin dissolved in some form of a solvent. The solvent helps push the resin deep into the wood, binding together the fibers of damaged wood. The solvent can be highly toxic if it gets in contact with your eyes or skin, hence the need to wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves and face masks when handling the formula.
What is the Best Way to Apply Wood Hardener?
Before applying your hardener, ensure that your wood is dried. Wood hardeners can be applied through painting with a brush or spraying, depending on the type of wood or structure as well as the consistency of the hardener. For example, a thin wood hardener can be applied with ease using a sprayer, while for a vertical surface you can drill small holes and squirt some hardener with a syringe to help with absorption.
You can also make use of a paintbrush to apply hardeners with a thicker consistency, and for resilience you can apply several coats until you obtain a shiny surface. Soaking extremely rotten or soft wood in a wood hardener can also improve absorption.