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How to Seal Pallet Wood for Outdoor Use? – Drillly

How to Seal Pallet Wood for Outdoor Use
Written by Willie Osgood
Last Update: January 12, 2023

Not sure what’s the best way to seal pallet wood for outdoor use? Here we shared the best way to weatherproof your wooden pellet for dimensional stability and optimum protection against decay.

Follow our DIY guide and get it done in minutes!

How to Seal Pallet Wood for Outdoor Use: Step-By-Step

Things you need

  • Palm sander/sandpaper
  • Soft tack cloth
  • Wood conditioner
  • Good quality sealer/ Wood stain
  • Paint brushes/Spray bottle
  • Hand gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Face mask


1. Prepare and clean the pallets

Prepare and clean the pallet wood

Disassemble and dry clean the pallet wood that you want to seal for outdoor use. The cleaner the pallets, the better the application will be. Other than that, cleaning beforehand helps make them last longer. Get rid of any mold or fungus visible on the surfaces.

2. Sand down the surfaces

Sand down the pallet wood surfaces

Mask up, wear your glasses, and use a palm sander for best results. You can use sandpapers to manually sand down the pallet wood surface going with the grain. This will allow for a cleaner and slicker finish.

3. Make sure to clean the dust with the tack cloth as you sand

Clean the dust with the tack cloth

The dust will stick on the sealer and prevent it from setting correctly if you just sand the pallets and don’t remove the dust thoroughly.

4. Dry up the pallet wood completely

Dry up the pallet wood

You should only apply the sealer when the wood contains absolutely no moisture or haze in or around it. Do not apply sealant on a humid day.

5. Apply wood conditioner to boost the pallet’s ability to absorb the sealant

Apply wood conditionerGet a container of pre-stain wood conditioner and brush up the wood surfaces with it once they’re clean and rubbed down. It removes the thin mildew coating and makes a huge difference in the finish.

6. Light coat the pallet with the sealer, let it dry, and repeat

Light coat the pallet wood

Take your time and coat the pallet wood several times. Take some sealer in a smaller container, dip the paint brush into the sealer a little, and keep on brushing the pallets. Let them absorb the treatment and brush them when they seem dried up again. The thicker coating may cause an inconsistent finish.

7. Topcoat with polyurethane to finish up the task

Polyurethane gives the pallets a fine shine and extra durability against rainwater and sunlight. It also protects wood from scratches and prevents liquids such as oil, grease, and water from penetrating into the wood.

Different types of pallet sealants and stains for outdoor use

  • PureColor sealants

The water-oil emulsion formula goes four layers deep in the pallet wood and offers excellent water resistance. Non-toxic and easy-to-clean, there are 24 different color variants to choose from.

  • Surface sealants

These are the water-based fast-drying types of sealants that go down to only one layer of the pallet cells. They work best for wood trims, frames, spindles, railings, and sidings.

  • Deep penetrating sealants

These oil-based sealants penetrate about half an inch deep into the wood and do not form a surface film like most other sealant types, which prevents wood from flaking. On the downside, they leave a greasy residue behind at times.

  • Shallow penetrating sealants

Shallow penetrating sealants are oil-water emulsions. They penetrate four layers of the pallets and protect them from any liquid spills just like the pure color sealants. These stains work to ensure your pallets’ longevity.

Some Best Outdoor Pallet Wood Sealers You May Want to Know About

1. Ready seal (oil-based)

This semi-transparent sealer does a great job at enhancing and preserving the realistic look of wood while protecting, waterproofing, and sealing it for outdoor use. The ready seal also allows the natural texture and grain of the pallet wood to stay visible. Its anti-mold and mildew formula penetrates the pallet to offer unfailing water resistance and shields against the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

2. Minwax Hellsman Spar Urethane (water-based)

This one offers a clear protective finish and is considered the best sealer for outdoor furniture. You may use it on your pallet wood project to protect it from elements like sunlight, moisture, and rain. This will even prevent the pallet from warping caused by the change in weather conditions. Helmsman spar urethane dries up quickly and is easier to clean.

You may as well use it on indoor fixtures like cabinets and countertops. The warm syrup thickness ensures a comfortable application process and that it blends well. You can even spray this treatment with an airless sprayer.

3. AnchorSeal-2  End Sealer

Professionals have been using this sealer for decades. It’s popularly known to defend wood from end grain checking and the top choice for most contractors when it’s about fixing end grain checking.  It cuts down on cracking by 90%. Apply 2-3 coats and you never need to worry about the splintering of your pallet again.

4. Defy Extreme wood stain Light Walnut

This semi-transparent stain is one of the most cutting-edge formulas for pallet wood that outperforms other competing products within a similar price range. The stain contains zinc oxide particles that prevent mold, mildew, and fungus growth, and outstandingly block out the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

It uses state-of-the-art nanoparticle technology to retain the original color of the wood and reflects the direct sunlight to protect your pallet from grain.

5. Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil

This premium natural sealer for marine teak will offer an excellent natural finish and act as a pallet preserver. It shields the wood from exposure to harsh weather conditions and saltwater. Just clean and dry the pallet wood thoroughly and brush the oil. Its advanced natural tongue polymers formula will give the pallet a long-lasting warm golden tinge.


1. Do you need to treat pallet wood?

Ans: Treating pallet wood is never a bad idea since it makes the pallet waterproof and UV resistant. The pallets last longer even outdoors when you seal them.

2. What do you seal pallets with?

Ans: Wood stain, polyurethane, wood sealer, teak oil, and wood conditioner are the most ideal treatments for sealing pallet wood. They protect pallets from harsh weather conditions, be it rays of the sun or rain.

About the author

Willie Osgood

An Avid Metalworker

Willie doesn’t really consider himself an artist, rather a craftsman involved in practical trades. Yet, most of his projects require him to make interesting and fine objects. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, his background is 100 percent rooted in crafting. He found the art of blacksmithing quite appealing since his teenage years… that fire, the sound of swinging hammers, and those long and shiny blades that came out as a finished product. Soon he literally became obsessed with metal – the way it moved, worked, and changed when heated or cooled.

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