Natural wood columns have been prized since the days of King Solomon when he erected his magnificent temple using the cedar of Lebanon. That’s because nothing quite compares to the rich, luxurious look and feel of architectural wood columns in all their many shapes and sizes. Still today, western red cedar and all-heart redwood are the species of wood most often used for exterior applications, as they are naturally weather resistant and immune to decay.
However, as with all wood products exterior wood columns are vulnerable to the elements over a prolonged period of time. Damaging UV rays, temperature extremes and moisture can eventually adversely affect them. Protecting wood columns from weather damage is necessary to maintain their beauty and durability, and it’s not as difficult as you may think. In fact, weatherizing wood columns can greatly minimize the potential for damage, and can be done simply by sealing them.
Fall is a great time to do this, before the winter weather sets in. Be sure to inspect each architectural column from top to bottom. If you notice any holes, cracks or notches fill these areas in with a touch of exterior wood putty and sand smooth when dry. If you notice any areas of rot, be sure scrape these out as well and in with wood putty. Then apply a generous, unbroken seam of caulk (use non-silicone for added durability) along the top and bottom of each column where it attaches to the structure, as moisture tends to collect in these areas.
Next apply a wood primer to protect and improve the appearance of wood columns. Sealers, stains, varnishes, shellac, preservatives and water repellents are all types of wood coatings that may be used. With a quality paintbrush, apply the primer from the top to the bottom of the wood column and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. Then brush on a second coat. After that is thoroughly dry, apply a weatherproofing, moisture-repelling sealant to all exposed surfaces of the exterior column paying careful attention to carved details.
Following these simple steps can insure the beauty, longevity and eye-popping curb appeal of your natural wood columns for years to come.