Is Used Motor Oil Good to Preserve Wood at Your Backyard?

Preserve wood

Wood is one of the most popular materials for building some of the most fashionable materials in our homes, whether indoor furniture or outdoor structures. The problem is that it is vulnerable to damages caused by external forces.

Indeed, the wood structures in your backyard get exposed to environmental conditions, like sun heat and moisture. So, we must always preserve it to prolong its service life.

One of the most popular and readily available substances used for this purpose is motor oil, especially in outdoor structures like wooden fences. But, does it protect the wood from rotting?

Motor oil, or any other oil for that matter, preserves wood from rotting because the oil soaks into the wood’s pores, preventing the absorption of water that may make it rot. The oil absorption also makes the wood stronger, and thus, lasting longer.

Below, we explain all you need to know about using oil to preserve your valuable wood items, how to do so, and the available alternatives.

Preserving wood should be a routine exercise. When using motor oil, you should always consider a few factors, like how you will apply it and the drying time.

The time it takes for motor oil to protect your wood will depend on environmental factors. For example, oil in a fence post is likely to dry out faster than on a deck due to exposure to the elements, like sun and rain. Thus, you must check your wood regularly.

Even if you want to apply paint on your wood, it would be a great idea to treat it with oil first. The used oil doesn’t have to be from your motor; it can come from your tractor, marine oil, or farm equipment.


How Do You Treat Your Fence with Used Motor Oil?

What You Need

  • Used engine oil
  • Diesel
  • Wagner power sprayer or spray pump
  • Funnel
  • An old piece of cloth
  • Surgical latex gloves
  • Face masks
  • An old oil container

 The Procedure

Step One: Prepare Your Workspace

Oil can be pretty messy, so you have to prepare your working space before you begin. First, spread cardboard or a rag to handle everything before you begin to paint your fence. Then, ensure you keep yourself safe and clean by wearing a pair of gloves and safety masks and goggles.

Wooden fences tend to collect dust and soil particles over time. So, prepare it by dusting it off with a rug. You can also repair any imperfections on the wood before you paint it.

Step Two: Mix the Oil with Diesel

I recommend mixing oil and diesel in a 50-50 ratio — maybe 2 liters of oil and 2 liters of diesel. Do this in a separate container and shake to mix properly. Adding diesel to the oil makes it thin and allows it to pass through the filter as you fill your spray bottle.

You could make it thicker or thinner depending on how dark you want your fence to look. Although, please note that a thinner mixture is easier to get through the spray bottle.

Step Three: Filter the Oil

Used oil comes with some contaminated elements, so you want to filter out the dirt, sludge, and tiny debris. If you are using a paintbrush and oil in a bucket, you might not want to filter the oil. But if using a spray, the foreign material could block the spray head.

To filter the liquid, spread your old piece of cloth inside the funnel and direct it toward the spray container of a bottle. Close the top of the spray and proceed to the fences.

Step Four: Spray Your Fence

There are two ways to proceed. You could either spray the fence or paint it with a paintbrush. However, since the latter procedure takes a lot of time, it would be better to spray.

To do so, you can either choose a Wagner power sprayer or a pump sprayer. You can also use an air gun with an air compressor depending on the surface you want to pain.


What Is the Best Oil to Preserve Wood?

Oil-borne preservatives have been a popular wood-treating ingredient for years since they are easy to repair and provide a more textured grain pattern than other choices.

While oil furnishes do not provide the same protection and durability as lacquer or varnish, they still make an excellent choice in preserving wood. Here are some of the best oils for preserving wood.

Linseed Oil

Also known as flaxseed oil, Linseed oil soaks deep into the wood grains to protect them from external factors, like humidity changes and scratches. It is an eco-friendly oil that is easy to maintain and provides a satin finish that displays the color and wood grains below.

It comes in three types: boiled, polymerized, and raw linseed oil, derived from the flaxseed plant. The three go through a different process that makes each of them unique.

Boiled linseed is common, dries the fastest, but contains a few potentially hazardous dying compounds. Meanwhile, raw linseed is the purest but can be impractical to apply because of its prolonged drying times. Finally, polymerized blends the best traits from the two to make the best of both worlds: it is pure, non-toxic, and dries fast.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a derivative of petroleum. It is a clear, odorless, food-safe, non-toxic substance commonly used for wood kitchen utensils, cutting boards, wood bowls, and most wooden products used for handling food.

Tung Oil

This plant-based oil is popular for its quick drying times and ability to penetrate wood grains for maximum protection. Tung oil is also eco-friendly and won’t yellow over time, unlike some of its counterparts, like varnishes, nitrocellulose lacquer, and linseed.

It comes from the seeds of the Tung tree (sourceOpens in a new tab.) and is one of the oldest wood preservative oils. Like linseed, it is available in three forms: raw, polymerized, and boiled. Raw Tung oil is uncommon among artisans, but you are likely to come across the other two.


What Else Is Good to Preserve Wood?

There are two significant options to preserve wood: chemical option and new technology.

Chemical preservatives come in three broad categories: soil-borne preservatives (discussed above), water-borne preservatives, and light organic solvent preservatives (LOSPs).

Apart from the oil-borne preservatives, the other great option is Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA). It also acts as a pesticide containing arsenic, copper, and chromium, which protect the wood from fungi, termites, and other pests.

Finally, you can use new technology (sourceOpens in a new tab.), like heat treatments and wood acetylation. They are the eco-friendliest options although they cost a bit more.

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