June 01, 2024

How to protect a wine barrel outside?

Wine Barrels Built to Last: Your Guide to Outdoor Protection & Timeless Beauty

Here at Oak Wood Wine Barrels, we're passionate about giving old wine barrels a vibrant second life as stunning furniture pieces. And nothing makes us happier than seeing those beauties out in the world, gracing patios, decks, and gardens with their rustic charm. But we also know the outdoors can be tough – which is why we're sharing our best tips on how to keep your wine barrel furniture looking sharp and strong, season after season.

The Barrel's Natural Strength (and What It Needs Help With)

Wine barrels are made from thick staves of oak – a wood famed for its durability. Their whole purpose was holding precious liquids during long journeys! That means your barrel already has inherent resilience against the elements. But to truly thrive year-round outdoors, a little protective love goes a long way.


Let's talk about the main challenges:

The Fading Sun: UV rays gradually fade wood's color and can cause dryness over time.

Moisture Mayhem: Rain, snow, or constant humidity can cause the wood to swell and shrink repeatedly, putting stress on the barrel's structure.

Temperamental Temps: Extreme swings from hot to cold will also strain the wood over time.

Your Arsenal of Protection

The Power of Polyurethane: This is your first line of defense. Choose a water-based, exterior-grade polyurethane with UV inhibitors for the best protection.
Spar Urethane: Superhero Strength: For relentless sun or frequent rain, spar urethane is the heavy-duty option. It offers extra-strength UV resistance and moisture protection.

Oil: the Natural Choice: Penetrating oils like teak or tung oil nourish the wood from within and add water resistance. Think of it like a deep conditioner for your barrel!

Embracing the Weathered Look: Some folks love the silvery, timeworn patina wood develops outdoors. Absolutely an option, but for longevity's sake, some basic protection is still a good idea.

The Sealing Masterclass: Step by Step

Prep is Queen (or King): Your barrel MUST be clean and dry. A light sanding with 220-grit sandpaper removes any old finish, smooths things out, and helps your new sealant adhere like magic.

Weather Wise: Choose a mild, dry day for the best drying results.

Apply with Love: Working with the wood grain, apply your chosen sealant in thin, even coats. A brush or clean rag works well. Wait for full drying between coats – patience is key!

Ring Rescue: Don't forget the metal! Once the wood is sealed, a quick coat of clear, rust-preventative spray paint keeps those hoops looking sharp.

Placement is Power: Location Tips

Shady Sanctuary: Some partial shade, especially during peak-sun hours, will keep your barrel looking its best for longer.

High & Dry: Use bricks or pavers to elevate your barrel slightly off the ground. This improves air circulation and prevents moisture from pooling underneath.

Covered in Extremes: If you have prolonged bad weather, a fitted cover provides an extra layer of protection.

Did You Know?

The reddish stain inside your barrel is from the wine it once held! Many people choose to keep this unique coloration visible as a reminder of their barrel's journey.

Maintenance = Lasting Love

Even with the best protection, check your barrel regularly for wear. Generally, reapply your sealant every year or two (more often in very harsh climates).

Inspiration: How Others Protect with Style

A barrel half-planted in the garden with flowers spilling over? Seal the inside of the planter portion thoroughly.

Under the patio awning? A light oiling every year might be all that's needed.
Poolside accent table? Spar urethane for the win!

We Want to See Your Creations!

Have questions or a success story about your outdoor barrel furniture? Share in the comments! And if you're ready to add a touch of wine country charm to your own space, explore our collection of handcrafted barrel masterpieces.

Interested in shopping for wine barrel furniture? You can browse our full collection of items ranging from coffee tables to home bar and game sets here!