Impregnating agents for wood: features, colours and finishes

Have you purchased a wood stain but aren’t sure if it will work for your project? Is it better to use a water-based or solvent-based solution? What exactly are VOCs, and should I be concerned about them? Keep reading because in this article we will answer all of these questions and more.

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about wood preservatives even though they are often confused with varnishes and paints. In this post we will clarify what a wood impregnating agent is, how to use it and which are the safest products.

After seeing how easy it is to use this type of product, you won’t be able to do without using it to preserve and colour your wood!

What is an impregnating agent for wood?

An impregnating agent is a substance used to protect and/or colour wood. It penetrates into the porosity of the object to be treated without forming a surface film. For this reason, it allows the wood to breathe more, guaranteeing a correct exchange of humidity with the environment.

The best impregnating agents for wood do not damage the surface of the material and can highlight the grain producing a beautiful natural look.

Type of wood impregnation

There are different types of wood impregnators with distinct qualities that meet specific needs. If you want to colour and protect wood from the elements, for example, choose a product that is both coloured and water repellent.

Impregnating agents for interior or exterior use

There are two types of wood impregnators, each with their own characteristics. They can offer basic protection to the material or perform specific biocidal tasks.

Indoor impregnating agents are usually used to treat a building’s supporting structures, roofing, furniture, floors and, more generally, all wood that is not directly exposed to the elements.

When you have wooden objects or structures that are constantly exposed to the sun’s rays and atmospheric agents, you must necessarily use an impregnating agent for exteriors.

  • Odourless and with low environmental impact. Easy to apply by brush, spray or sponge, even vertically, it protects the wood from the weather and UV rays and gives excellent uniformity of colour. For maximum durability outdoors, it is advisable to overcoat with the water-based transparent top coat or the water-based matt ICA for You enamel.
  • For frames, fences, balconies and wooden structures exposed to the exterior. Also suitable for beams and attics
  • Innovative technological content. Developed by ICA’s laboratories to the specifications of the most demanding wood professionals
  • Application by brush or spray. Excellent yield: 10-12 m²/l
  • Final drying 4-6 hours

  • Odorless, water-based impregnating agent
  • Protects effectively without forming a film: guarantees in-depth protective and preventive action
  • It penetrates into the wood layers, allowing the natural transpiration and keeping the wood healthy over time.
  • Can be over-coated with water-based finishes, enamels and flatting
  • HIGH YIELD: 18 – 20 square metres per litre

  • LEGNOSAN is an impregnating agent with a “semi-glossy” appearance for the protection and decoration of wood outdoors, even in special environments such as the sea and high mountains.
  • LEGNOSAN guarantees protection against deterioration caused by mould, fungi and parasites. Special filters protect the wood from ultraviolet rays and the weather.
  • LEGNOSAN does not flake and is ideal for the treatment of doors, windows, shutters, balconies, attics, gazebos, sheds, fences, beams, flower boxes, buildings and/or wooden structures exposed to water and sun.
  • LEGNOSAN is formulated with transparent pigments and gives a homogeneous colour to the surface highlighting the natural nuances of the wood. It does not require a finishing varnish and the aesthetic appearance will be natural.
  • On new wood: 2-3 coats. On already painted wood to be renewed: 1-2 coats. Theoretical average yield: 6/9 sqm. with 750 ml. (variable according to the type of wood and its conditions).

Shutters, pergolas and gazebos, as well as garden furniture and fences should all be treated with a suitable impregnating agent to preserve their functionality and appearance.

Wood is exposed to environmental stress
and there is a danger that fungi, bacteria or wood-boring insects will attack it. If you live in a humid climate, the danger of fungal infection will increase, and you will need a wood preservative with fungicidal properties.

The most suitable impregnating agent for special wood applications, such as boat decks or swimming pool decking, will be one that can withstand chlorine vapours and salt solutions.

  • Water based impregnating agent for exterior wood.
  • Non-Tonizing version.
  • Ideal for decking and pool edges.
  • Leaves the wood natural .

  • You can install a beautiful wood floor in your garden, patio or beside a pool with our set of 6 decking panels.
  • The panels are made from impregnated pine wood, which is wear and weather resistant, unforgiving and environmentally friendly.
  • The beautiful wood grain adds a rustic charm and makes each piece unique.
  • Note: Wood is a natural product and may show imperfections.
  • Shipping: Generally receive it within 9-16 business days.

  • Water based exterior wood impregnator .
  • Toning version.
  • Ideal for Decking and Pool Edges.
  • Pigmented to give a warmer tone to the decking.

  • NEW LIFE TO THE OUTDOOR: restores shine and nourishment to the wood of your frames, windows, walkways, gazebos and pool edges.
  • PROTECTS FROM UV RAYS: Formula composed of natural and synthetic oils with UV absorbers.
  • EXCELLENT YIELD: 1L/13 sqm approx. – EASY TO APPLY: You don’t have to sand, Lios Sundeck Wood Oil can also be applied directly on the cleaned surface simply before with a dust-collecting cloth!
  • DESIGNED FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD: Available in a slightly “Pigmented” version to give a warmer tone to the decking.
  • Solvent based

  • Its special formulation, enriched with suitable UV filters and additives against harmful agents in wood, penetrates deeply, enhancing the tone and natural beauty of treated surfaces.

Wood is vulnerable to UV rays that cause it to deteriorate and age at a rate that varies depending on the type of protection provided.

As the piece of wood is exposed to the air, it will first turn yellow and then tend to turn grey. This is the typical ageing process that we can slow down by using impregnating materials, especially coloured ones.

Coloured impregnating agents

  • Green plastic handle
  • Suitable for all paints

  • Particularly suitable for interior use due to absence of odour; also excellent for exterior use; long service life
  • The high level of penetration inside the substrates and the presence of special waxes in the recipe guarantee excellent protection of wooden objects
  • For window frames, beams, pergolas, doors and windows, fences, gazebos, pergolas, balconies, attics, sheds, etc.; also suitable in areas with particularly aggressive climates such as mountains and the sea.
  • Yield: 10 sqm/lt the first coat. 15 sqm/lt the following coats; drying: dust-free 30 minutes / total 24 hours

  • ✔️BRIGHTSTONE NERO is a protective impregnating stain-resistant black protective product for colour correction of black slates, bleached by acid solutions or by degradation due to atmospheric agents and calcareous incrustations. Specific for black slate (blackboard) and other black marbles, for interior and exterior use.
  • Black Brightstone: ◼️BRIGHTSTONE NERO: ◼ is an oil-wax impregnating agent pigmented in black for the colour correction treatment of black stone materials, bleached by acid solutions or by the degradation due to atmospheric agents and calcareous incrustations;
  • ◼ gives the material a uniform black wet effect;
  • ◼ saturates the porosity of the materials without leaving thick and rigid surface films and does not create peeling;
  • ◼ dries quickly without creating colour shading and without altering over time; ◼ can be used on all indoor and outdoor surfaces.

  • Odourless and with low environmental impact. Easy to apply by brush, spray and sponge, even vertically, it protects the wood from bad weather and UV rays and gives an excellent uniformity of colour. For maximum durability outdoors, it is advisable to overcoat with the water-based transparent top coat or the water-based matt ICA for You enamel.
  • For frames, fences, balconies and wooden structures exposed to the exterior. Also suitable for beams and attics
  • Innovative technological content. Developed by ICA’s laboratories to the specifications of the most demanding wood professionals
  • Application by brush or spray. Excellent yield: 10-12 m²/l
  • Final drying 4-6 hours

  • HOLZ LACK Wood Impregnating Wax 750 ml canister
  • ✅ ★ Protective and decorative wood primer with wax effect – Yield 8-14 m2/l with one coat, depending on wood absorption
  • ✅ ★ Its specific formulation based on natural waxes preserves the characteristics of the wood for a long time and gives a velvety, elegant finish without the risk of flaking over time
  • ✅ ★ For exterior and interior wood – Water-repellent – Velvety finish – Nourishes and protects wood
  • ✅ ★ Indicative colours

Coloured impregnation is used to protect the wood from UV radiation: the darker the shade (e.g. walnut or dark walnut), the greater the protection from the sun’s rays. There are also items on the market that include certain additives to filter UV radiation.

You can let your creativity fly when using impregnants, as there are a variety of shades to choose from: white, yellow, brown, red, green, and purple.

Due to the characteristics of this type of product, you can often overlay many shades to create unique effects.

There are impregnating agents that maintain the naturalness of the wood and when you touch the material, you won’t feel the treatment.

If you want to emphasize the tactile feeling of softness, use waxed items or products that make the wood feel “warmer” to the touch.

The second option is to use linseed oil based products (or other siccative oils) as impregnants.

Is it better to use water-based or solvent-based impregnation?

Until recently, there were very few impregnants on the shelves of hardware and paint stores and the vast majority of them were solvent-based.

As technology improved and people became more sensitive to human health and the environment, water-based impregnating solutions emerged.

Is it preferable to use a solvent-based or water-based impregnating material? Water-based solutions, on average, have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than solvent-based products, making them less harmful to the environment and easier to dispose of.

How to use an impregnating agent, how to apply it and how to remove it

Impregnating agents are usually easy products to apply, either when dealing with new wood or when doing maintenance on an already treated material.

Wood preservatives are easy to use and do not require any special care. They can be used on new items and or to maintain previously treated items.

When applying to new wood it is a good idea to give it a biocide (fungicide and/or woodworm) application first, especially if the space will be exposed to high humidity.

If there are holes or cracks, they can be filled with wood filler to produce a smooth, even surface.

After removing dirt from the wood, if the surface is dry, impregnation can be done .

The product should be applied in favour of the grain and can be brushed, applied by roller, sponge or spray (with one).

  • Versatile ALLPaint system, only one tool is needed for spray colouring different materials and surfaces, with clear coats, varnishes and wall paints
  • Practical for different applications, quick and easy change of nozzles depending on application and material: grey for clear coats, black for varnishes and white for wall paints
  • Functionality included, quick changeover with a single twist from one container to another thanks to the Bosch SDS system; with two 1000 ml containers you can complete most applications
  • Simple and convenient to use, the tool has user-friendly features such as wheels and 4m hose for easy handling and movement around the work area
  • Easily adjustable air volume, choose one of 3 icons to set the air capacity: fence and chair for wood/paint or inside the house for walls; in case of heavy fog, reduce the air capacity and if the mist is too coarse, increase the air capacity

It is usually sufficient to clean the surface with a specific cleaner and then reapply the impregnating substance if the wood is dry and clean.

Maintenance should generally be done when surfaces become dirty and show the first signs of discoloration and/or graying.

If you decide you don’t like the colour you have chosen and want to use a different one, simply sand or plane the wood to remove the coloured surface layer. You can remove the treatment with solvents but this involves the use of chemicals with special risks. Sandpaper and patience are always useful tools! After removing the colour, simply wipe off the dust with a soft cloth and apply the chosen product.

Impregnating agents and safety: a careful look at the label

How can you determine whether an impregnating solution for wood is safe for the environment and for the user? The answer is quite simple. The box label should contain all the information about the hazard level of the product.

If the impregnating agent has active biocidal components or additives that classify it as hazardous, the hazard pictogram must be present on the product label.

The VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) value must also be indicated on the label, as it is another very important piece of information. Directive 2004/42/EC and legislative decree no. 161/2006 establish the VOC emission limits for paints and varnishes, including impregnating agents.

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