Does Burning Wood Seal It? (10 Benefits Of Charring Wood) (2023)

Does Burning Wood Seal It? (10 Benefits Of Charring Wood) (1)

Burning wood is an ancient Japanese technique that is used to protect the wood from insect attacks and weather elements while giving a uniquely beautiful appearance to the woodwork.

When I was burning wood for the first time, I was curious about whether it seals to wood as wood sealants do and how can that be possible.

So, I did some research and found a good answer to the question I had, Does burning wood seal it?

Yes, burning wood seal the wooden surface since a layer of char leaves on the surface after burning the wood. The carbon layer prevents water from going inside the wood and protects wood from rotting. Burning provides good water resistance to the wood with enhanced protection from fire, insects, and UV light.

But that’s a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about, does burning wood seal it?

So, in this article, we’ll explore does wood burning protect the wood, whether it waterproofs the wood, do termites eat burnt wood, and does it prevent the wood from rotting.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s jump in!

Nearly finished two more beehives from two old pallets from next doors building work. I decided to ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ The front hive (the Japanese art of burning wood to seal it), and its turned out pretty well, and it works.

— Bee Man 🐝 (@Klaatus_mate) September 27, 2021

Does Wood Burning Protect Wood?

Yes, wood burning protects wood from fire, termites, insect attacks, pests, water damage, and other environmental elements.

Burning wood is an excellent wood finishing method which is done by subjecting surfaces of furniture and other woodwork to an open fire.

Burning helps to preserve the wood and prevent the wood from decaying.

Because giving good protection from environmental elements, you can use burnt wood for both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.

Even though burnt can live well in exterior conditions, I highly advise you to seal burnt wood before keeping them outside since burnt wood cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions well as finished wood with quality sealants.

But overall, wood burning protects wood from so many and helps to keep the wood for so long with less maintenance.

Termites and insects hate carbon-coated layers above the wood surface and they are unable to lay eggs or make habitats. This prevents insect growth on burnt wood surfaces.

Burning wood is considered one of the best methods to protect wood from insects, fungi, pests, and other small bugs.

You don’t need to use any pesticides or harsh chemicals on burnt wood since it already got the protection you ever wanted by burning the wood or you can do the staining before sealing the wood.

Usually burnt wood is able used for up to 12 to 15 years with zero maintenance. You don’t need to re-apply sealants on burnt wood annually as regular woods.

The ladies are having fun drilling drainage holes into planters, then burning the wood to seal it. #girlswithtools

— Oasis Farm Waterloo (@OasisFarmSE1) April 29, 2015

Burning wood increase the wood’s durability to keep the wood stability the same for many years.

This is why burning wood which is also known as charring wood is popular among woodworkers.

Plus, having a carbon layer is useful to avoid harmful UC rays from hitting the wood underneath.

This keeps the wood from cracking, fading, and peeling due to direct sunlight and makes it ready to tolerate UV light.

Overall, Wood burning seals and protects wood from insects, fungus, fire, rotting, and UV light while giving a unique black or brown-reddish look to your furniture and woodwork.

So, let’s have a look at how burning wood helps to repel water.

Does Burning Wood Help Waterproof It?

No, burning wood does not make the wood waterproof. It only protects the wood from entering the wood underneath. It only makes the wood water-resistant.

Burning wood basically provides water resistance to the wood to make it protected for so long.

In order to make wood waterproof you’ll need to apply a waterproofing sealant on the wood.

Here’s a list of waterproofing sealants for any wood,

  • SealOnce Marine Premium Wood Sealer
  • Thompson’s Water Seal
  • Rainguard Premium Wood Sealer
  • DEFY Crystal Clear Sealer
  • Anchorseal 2
  • Ready Seal Stain and Sealer

Wood sealers basically, prevent the wood from soaking up water and prevent the wood from expanding or shrinking due to moisture.

Wood sealers don’t let the wood lose shape due to moisture. But water resistance means just blocking water from going inside and stopping wood from rotting and decaying.

Lots of you guys have already guessed but this week our project involves Shou Sugi Ban!! 🔥🌳 Also known as Yakisugi, it’s basically burning wood till it becomes carbonized which makes it more waterproof, resistant to insects, and looks really cool 😎 which is our main reason 😋

— Evan & Katelyn (@EvanAndKatelyn) May 13, 2019

There’re some expansions and contractions that can be seen even when the wood has good water resistance due to humidity changes and temperature fluctuations.

Not like waterproof wood with no expansions at all.

Likewise, burning wood only makes the wood water resistant which is really helpful for using burnt wood in moist environments such as outdoors, kitchen furniture, and bathroom furniture.

In order to make the burnt wood more waterproof you will need to apply a proper sealant after burning the wood.

Here’re simple steps to make burnt wood waterproof,

  1. Brush the burnt wood down using a wire brush
  2. Clean the wood surface
  3. Apply wood stain to get your preferred color
  4. Let the stain dry and cure properly
  5. Apply waterproofing sealant over the surface
  6. Let the sealant layers dry and cure properly

First, you need to test both stain and sealant on a small area of burnt wood to see how they work with it.

Sealing burnt wood is useful for outdoor woodworking projects to get extra protection from weather elements like moisture, water damage, and humidity changes.

Wildfire-burnt cedar stumps show a natural example of shou-sugi-ban, a Japanese method of wood preservation involving burning the outer layer of the wood. This method can be used to create dramatic interior furniture pieces or conveniently waterproof exterior siding.

— Susan Collins SMC Interior Design (@SMCDesign) September 30, 2020

So, let’s see how burning wood protects wood from insects.

Do Termites Eat Burnt Wood?

Yes, termites eat burnt wood. Even though termites hate to live on burnt wood, they fed burnt wood.

Therefore, burning wood is not the best option to get protected from termites. Still, they eat burnt wood as fresh untreated wood.

But termites that eat burnt wood are less healthy than the termites that each fresh untreated wood.

This is because termites don’t like to stay on the char layer on burnt wood surfaces. It is harmful to them and doesn’t have any nutrients for the growth of termites.

But still, they eat burnt wood. Maybe there is some other taste that comes from burnt wood that can feel only for termites. We will never know the actual reason.

‘Tis the season to fire up that wood-burning stove! Store your firewood away from the damp ground to avoid termites.

— SERVPRO of Chico/Lake Almanor (@ServproChico) December 11, 2015

We only can take action to prevent termites from eating charred wood.

Even after subjecting wood surfaces to open fire, some types of termites still can live inside under moderate intensity of the fire.

Some termites have good tolerance against extreme temperature levels and they do still live under wood with no issues.

They are the ones that keep eating the wood even after burning it.

There’s no clear solution to get protected from termites other than keeping your wood area nice and clean.

Even though brunt wood has little resistance to termites’ attacks over fresh wood, still you need to apply a proper quality sealant to get protected from termites forever.

You can a quality sealant after burning wood to get protection from termites, bugs, and insects.

But there’re some other bunt woods left for years with no maintenance doesn’t get a single scratch from termites. That may depend on the type of wood underneath.

Plus, there’re some termites and insects that love burnt wood because they love to keep their eggs in a warm environment under the wood.

After hatching up those insects tend to eat burnt wood since they already have good resistance to living in that harsh environment with burnt wood inside.

In order to keep your burnt wood free from termites, clean the woodwork and furniture regularly with a soft cloth and apply a quality sealant all over the wood properly.

And wood burning turns into ….
(I REALLY want that burning rod)
Raised waives of char, slightly tooling that finishes the marking and gives it (I think) a more reclaimed look, and you can feel them both under a water based seal.

— IMakeThingsThatGoOuchInTheNight (@IMakeEvilHappen) April 15, 2019

Does Burning Wood Keep It From Rotting?

Yes, burning wood keeps the wood from rotting since moisture won’t go inside of the wood after burning due to the char layer outside.

When the wood is subjected to open fire a carbon layer will build over the wood surface since the cellulose compounds inside will be vaporized and burned off during the burning process.

This coarse carbon layer works as a protective shield against water particles and moisture outside.

Under regular conditions, moisture won’t go inside the wood due to this carbon-coated layer and minimize wood expansions and contractions due to humidity changes.

Because of not having a significant amount of moisture inside, wood will keep from rotting. This is how the burning process helps the wood to prevent rotting and decaying.

But when you keep burnt wood outside under harsh weather conditions and rainy days, moisture and water particles will find a way somehow to get inside the wood through the spaces between the char layers.

When those water particles and moisture hits the wood underneath and stay there for so long, the wood may start to rot from the inside.

You won’t notice until the rotting comes to display the outside layer of the wood.

As soon as you notice the rot of burnt wood, restore wood by applying a quality product like FlexSeal.

We’ve unveiled our new dwelling spot-an oak bench at the front of #BellHouse! #SculpturePark artist Gus & benchmaker Andrew have used similar processes; burning the wood to protect from rot & wood joints inc. butterfly key and dado joint 🪵🔨🪚Come see, we’re open til 7 today!

— Bell House (@BellHouseNews) May 14, 2021

FlexsSeal helps to stop wood from rotting further and provides a waterproofing layer to avoid moisture from penetrating inside the wood in the future.

Therefore, better to seal your wood after burning before keeping them in extreme weather conditions to avoid wood from rotting for so long.

That’s it, folks! Hope you have gained good knowledge about, does burning wood seals it properly or not.

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Does Burning Wood Make It Stronger?

Yes, burning wood makes the wood stronger and more durable because when the wood is subjected to open fire, the wood grains of the timber are fused to bond tighter together.

When the grains are tight together, the dimensional stability of the wood will increase, and the strength of the wood will also increase accordingly.

Therefore, you can make the wood stronger while enhancing protection from weather elements by burning the wood.

Both compressive strength and flexural strength will increase the wood burning.

Strong burnt woods stay longer than untreated woods since they are able to carry heavy loads without losing their stability.

Plus, burning wood helps to wood get protected it from scratches, cracks, and peels.

Have you heard of Shou Shugi Ban? It’s a wood burning application that’s low maintenance, resistant to insects, rot, and decay, sustainable, eco-friendly and gives a signature look. We love it in this house designed by @BriaHammel

— Manomin Timbers (@ManominTimbers) March 7, 2019

Does Wood Harden When Burn?

No, wood doesn’t harden when burned, it anneals. When the wood is subjected to open fire it may get a bit brittle and weak.

You can make the wood harden by fire hardening the wood.

In fire hardening, the moisture will remove completely from the wood by evaporation.

This is done by charring the wood directly in a fire or coal bed.

When moisture gets removed from the wood, the wood fibers will get hard, and ultimately whole wooden surface gets hardened.

The traditional Japanese method of burning wood cladding both preserves and makes it fire-resistant too #CharredWood

— International Timber (@IntlTimber) March 17, 2015

What Are The Advantages Of Charring Wood?

There’re lots of advantages you will gain by burning wood for both interior and exterior woodwork and furniture.

Here’s a list of benefits of charring wood,

  • Burning protects wood from weather elements
  • Make the wood more water resistant
  • Prevent wood from rotting and decaying
  • Prevent wood from termites and insect attacks
  • Increase the wood durability
  • Improve the wood strength
  • Able to use wood for so long with less maintenance
  • Able to use for firewood
  • Able to use for construction projects
  • Give an attractive appearance to the wood

Why does burning wood make it more fire resistant? It’s about reducing the amount of combustible material – by burning off the cellulose, we’re left with a structure similar to charcoal (which requires more heat than cellulose to ignite, making it less prone to catching on fire.

— Nakamoto Forestry (@nakamotoforest) May 14, 2022

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Does Burning Wood Seal It?

In this article, we have deeply discussed, does burning wood seal it, does burning makes the wood waterproof, how burning wood helps the wood avoid rot and decay, and much more.

Burning seals the wood to get protected it from fire, moisture, water damage, humidity changes, UV light, and insect and termites attacks. Burning wood leaves char on the surface that seals the wood and prevents moisture from penetrating inside and prevents wood from rotting and decaying.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained a good understanding about, does burning wood seal it and how burning helps the wood to get protected.

Try to burn wood and make beautiful furniture with them to see its strength and high durability to live so long even with less maintenance.

Happy woodworking!

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