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The Best Water Based Wood Preservatives

Taking care of exterior wood can be a tricky task. Garden sheds, furniture, fencing, and wooden window and door frames are exposed to the elements all year round, so it’s essential to maintain them properly and choose the best wood preservative and topcoat for the job. 

What are wood preservatives?

A wood preservative is a water or oil-based solution that soaks into the wood and acts as a protective layer to prevent fungal degradation, rot, UV rays and pesky parasites compromising the wood. Using a wood preservative is imperative on bare timber and highly advised for all other timber. It’s usually a transparent solution that enhances the natural appearance of the wood.

What are the best wood preservatives on the market?

We would recommend water based preservatives for wood thanks to their eco-friendly formulas. The world of paint and woodcare has come a long way in recent years moving away from the once relied-upon oil-based formulas to the low VOC, low odour and more ‘green’ water-based products and at no compromise to performance but there are still some popular oil-based products out there.

Water based preservatives for wood have many benefits, each brand and product itself boasts different selling points but our top recommendation is Gori 11 Wood Preservative. Osmo WR Bascecoat and Cuprinol Wood Preserver are also great products but these are oil-based. To help make a decision on which wood preservative to use, we’ve listed the pro’s and cons of each below.


  1. Gori 11 Wood Preservative
    Gori 11 Wood Preservative
    From £24.66 £20.55


  • Rich in insecticide, fungicide and anti-termite properties
  • Will preserve and cure healthy or damaged wood
  • Is an effective treatment against all insects attacking dry wood, wood-destroying insects, termites, decay fungi and blue stain
  • Compatible with all types of primers and topcoats
  • Water-based, ‘green’ formula


  • Needs 12 hours between coats


  • Prevents insect attack, rot and decay
  • Low cost


  • Oil-based formula
  • High in VOCs
  • Needs 16 hours drying time between coats
  1. Osmo WR Basecoat
    Osmo WR Basecoat
    From £18.91 £15.76


  • Prevents swelling and shrinking of the wood
  • Rich in active ingredients that fight against wood rotting and wood staining fungi such as blue stain, as well as against wood-destroying insects
  • Creates an adhesive surface ready for a topcoat with no need for a primer or undercoat on top
  • Extremely water-repellent


  • Faint smell during application but odourless when dry
  • Oil-based
  • Requires 12 hours between coats
  • High in VOCs


You might be wondering how to go about protecting your exterior wood fully after applying your wood preservative, take a look at our handy guide on protecting your exterior garden furniture.

If you’re looking for decking specific advice, check out our guide to oiling decking instead.