How to Seal Your Cypress Wood Benches for Outdoor Usage?

Sealing Cypress Wood

Cypress wood has been used for thousands of years in shipbuilding, so it is well-known for its water-resistance properties.

Due to these properties and because it is easy to work with, cypress wood has also become quite popular in building outdoor furniture, garden structures, deck, siding, and more

But being a softwood, the cypress is subject to dents and dings, so you will need to craft the furniture with care when using this wood.

Also, it’s important to clean and seal the wood by applying the paint, stain, or clear sealant annually to prevent the wood from fading.

Can Cypress Wood be Painted?

While Cypress can accept the paints and stains readily; clear sealers are mostly preferred for keeping the stunning appeal of its natural honey-like hues.

Clear sealers like polyurethane when applied carefully and by following all the instructions can deliver timeless beauty to Cypress that lasts for long without swelling or shrinking.  

If you are picking any other finish (other than paint, stain, or clear sealer) for your Cypress wood structures or furniture, I would recommend consulting your retailer or paint supplier first before trying them out.

Cleaning Cypress Wood Before Refinishing

Cleaning and sanding the Cypress wood is important to prepare it for getting the wood sealer varnish or paints well.

The easiest way to clean your old Cypress wood furniture is by using warm soapy water and a scrub brush.

If the wood is heavily soiled with black marks, mildew or molds consider using a chemical wood cleaner product such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleanser, bleach, or oxalic acid for washing.

To use oxalic acid for cleaning you can follow these steps:

  • Wear a face mask along with eye protection and rubber gloves
  • Dissolve 1 to 4-ounces of oxalic acid in 1 quart of warm water
  • Scrub the stained wood with a brush and then rinse thoroughly with fresh water

It’s worth noting that if your old wood is already stained or sealed, remove all the paint by using sandpaper. Be sure you do not over-sand the surface otherwise the wood will lose much of its desirable look and properties.

If the area you need to remove the paint is large, you can use an electric sander, a chemical wood stripper, or a heat gun to make the process bit easier and faster.   

TIP: In case the wood surface has a coat of sealant that is still in good condition, a light buffing with fine steel wool or sandpaper is all you need for preparation.  

Clean off all the sanded dust and allow the wood to dry completely before you proceed to paint or stain.

painting cypress wood

Painting Your Outdoor Cypress Wood Benches

For painting the Cypress wood start by using a high-quality stain-blocking primer.

Using a regular synthetic- or natural-bristle paintbrush, apply the primer along the grains for getting a tighter seal and adhesion for paint.

After the primer is completely dried, apply at least two coats of paint on the cypress using oil-based interior or exterior paint.

It’s good to pick the paint that is specifically recommended by a paint manufacturer for use on exterior wood siding.

TIP: When applying the paint, be sure to cover all exposed edges and corners for a more uniform coverage and a quality paint job.

Tips for Staining Your Old Cypress Wood Furniture

staining cypress wood for outdoor projects

Sealing Your Cypress Wood Structures for Natural Finish

Final Thoughts

Cypress wood is relatively rare these days which makes it quite expensive.

Although its natural oils help it resists insects and rot, you should keep them clean and sealed particularly if you are using the wood outdoors.

When using outdoors (for benches) also keep in mind not to place the sealed wood on soil because that promotes rotting.

Overall, Cypress wood material is an excellent choice provided you do not mind the extra expense and maintenance it needs for upkeeping its natural beauty and strength.

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