While wood is great for construction and craft, it’s not particularly long-lasting. Over time, wood rots and weakens because of moisture, insects, or weathering. Using a wood hardener can be a great way to restore it to its former strength and glory.
This liquid seeps into the wood and protects it from rot and moisture. If you’re involved in woodworking, you’re probably familiar with some of the products on the market. We’ve handpicked and reviewed the best wood hardeners for you.
Each product we've reviewed has a slightly different use than the other. But each one is an excellent utility at a varying price point. Your choice will depend on your needs.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Wood Hardeners Review
- Things to Consider Before Buying
- Frequently Asked Questions
5 Best Wood Hardeners Review
Suppose the wood on your windowsills, doors, furniture, or woodwork isn’t aging well. You might want to consider using a wood hardener. Since different ones come with varying applications, you need to choose the one that gets your job done. And we’re here to help.
1. Minwax 41700000 High-Performance Wood Hardener
Minwax is a reliable brand and comes at a very reasonable price. It is not too expensive or cheap; hence, its price is at a convenient spot for most buyers.
The liquid has a watery consistency that penetrates through the timber and recovers decay quickly. This absorption is quick and reaches the core. However, it might not be suitable for vertical surfaces as it is runny.
This item applies a dark finish on the wood, which accentuates the grain. Its look has a certain appeal. Additionally, the hardener goes well with this company’s filler, too. Since different options need different fillers, you know which one to get.
While not all jobs need to be quick, a rush job calls for a quick solution. This product acts fast, quickly hardening wood and reinforcing decayed wood fiber. It maintains a quality performance and gets the timber ready for heavy lifting.
The uses for this hardener are applicable indoors and outdoors. It seals the wood to moisture, making sure rain and snow cannot damage it any further. A feature like this is especially useful for doors, windowsills, porches, and decks.
One thing to remember when working with harsh chemicals is to wear protective equipment. The Minwax will melt any latex material on contact, so make sure you wear rubber gloves. Also, try not to breathe in the fumes.
2. PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener
The PC Petrifier is easily the most affordable option on our list. It might not be the highest performing product, but it gets the job done. And if you’re on a tight budget, it’s an easy choice.
A good feature of this hardener is that it is thicker than the Minwax. While the consistency means it can’t penetrate too deep, it works well on vertical surfaces. There’s a smaller chance it will drip.
But such consistency makes the application process much easier. You can brush it onto hard surfaces, and it will soak evenly into the wood. It works really well for painting, filling, and priming. One downside is that the hardener isn’t suitable with fillers that contain borate.
However, this thing does its main duty. It revives wood from rot and insect decay. Additionally, it solidifies the damaged wood, so you don’t need to remove the rotten parts. It can be sprayed, brushed, and injected.
Since this is a water-based product, clean-up is very easy. While that may be the case, one concern can be long-term moisture resistance. If you’re looking for durability over the years, you might want to consider other options.
Unlike some other hardeners, the PC Petrifier is environmentally friendly. It does not have dangerous fumes that can get you sick. However, it’s always best to wear gloves.
3. Bondo Rotted Wood Restorer
While Bondo is known for their car rust-cleaner, they make a premium wood hardener as well. The product doesn’t come cheap; it’s almost twice as expensive as the other options. But it works like a charm.
The Bondo hardener quickly reaches the core of the wood; it has an optimal thickness for absorption. It hardens the timbre with industry-standard strength in a short time. Within two hours, it dries completely.
Quick-drying helps faster workflow during professional projects. Not everyone will prefer the short time limit. But if you’re in a rush, you can start recoating after two minutes of application. However, it is recommended you give it 24 hours to set in.
For the best absorption in structural repairs, use the product as it is. However, it also works well mixed with a filler. The putty-like mixture coats onto wood surfaces for maximum weather-resistance.
So, moisture isn’t an issue. This product can make wood last years without rot or any decay. You can stain and paint over it as well, and rain and snow won’t damage the surface integrity. To know about wood fillers that are compatible with this type of hardener, check out this post.
Try to keep in mind that the Bondo hardener gives off volatile fumes. It can catch fire easily and is very toxic once inhaled. Wear your gloves and mask before getting to work. And keep it away from children.
4. Abatron LiquidWood Wood Hardener and Consolidant Resin
LiquidWood is another premium product that comes at a more affordable price. It’s essentially an absorbent epoxy, which means you have to mix it with two other substances included in the kit. Even then, it is one of the best products available.
This product takes its time to set in. You’ll need to let it set in for 24 hours for the best results. However, slow speed can be useful if you are a beginner. Just re-adjust the wood anytime in the first 30 minutes.
Slow and steady usually wins the race. And this wood hardener is the perfect example. It will repair your wood back to its former strength and maybe even further. The solution works great on softwoods like pine.
This thing is rated suitable for structural repairs, which means you can use it to strengthen the wooden beams for your home. It can seep into the wood and reach the core to provide the strongest repair.
Be it for indoor application or for outdoor wood fillers, this solution does it all. It can resist weathering, insects, and moisture effectively. For the deck, porch, or windows, it’s an easy choice to go with LiquidWood.
You can apply most fillers, including deck wood fillers, after using this hardener. It gives the wood an invisible finish; you won’t even notice it’s there. With no VOCs or toxic fumes, you can work with this safely.
5. J-B Weld 40001 Wood Restore Liquid Hardener
J-B is well-known for its epoxies, but this product stands on its own as an excellent wood hardener. It protects wood from moisture from the core and lasts up to ten years. The 40001 is a handy tool for professional use.
Some wood hardeners have a tough time reaching the insides of the timbre and trap moisture inside. Over time, rot grows from the inside, eating up its integrity. The J-B has great absorption to make sure you don’t have to worry about that.
Solutions that dry quickly are particularly useful for vertical surfaces. This liquid is thin in consistency but dries fast so that you can use it on walls too. For rush jobs, quick-drying formula is ideal as well.
To set the stage for a putty filler, the solution does a decent job. You can spray, inject, or brush it on wooden surfaces as you need. There is no need to mix with other substances for preparation.
While small projects can use this hardener reliably, it is especially well-suited to large-scale applications. It resists water and moisture inside and out and isn’t vulnerable to weathering. Be it indoors or outdoors, it can take a beating.
Watch out for the fumes, though. This solution is not safe to breathe in. It releases noxious fumes that can harm your lungs, so wear a mask.
Things to Consider Before Buying
There are many options for wood hardeners in the market, and you want to get the best value for your money. It's no use buying one that's great but isn't suited to your needs. The priority is to get the work done properly.
Hence, you need to consider several aspects of the product before you choose to use it. This buying guide will help through the process of choosing.
The Surface You’re Treating
While many hardeners work just fine with most surfaces, some work perfectly with specific kinds of wood. In deciding which kind to get, consider a few things. How damaged is the wood? Is it indoors or outdoors?
If the wood you’re treating has big cracks, a thick solution will be well-suited. A thick liquid is also good for treating vertical surfaces. You can check out the post right here for a better understanding. But if you want deep penetration, go for one with thin consistency. Water resistance is also an important factor.
The Dry Time
Some hardeners dry fairly quickly, while others take their time. It’s usually a good idea to give it time to set in. Ones that take about 24 hours to dry make for a better job. You also get a bit of legroom to fix mistakes.
If you don’t want to wait and are in a rush job, you might want a quick-drying formula. These solutions reduce the time between recoats and let you work fast. However, they might be a little more toxic than others.
The Durability of the Finish
The whole point of treating wood is to ensure longevity. If you need to re-treat it just months after one application, maybe the product wasn't a good one. It's best to use an option that will last years.
We’ve reviewed some wood hardeners that go the extra mile and last a long time. You’ll want to look for one that removes moisture completely and is good for structural repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does wood hardener do?
A wood hardener is a liquid that is absorbed by wood to strengthen it and prevent decay. It contains a special resin that binds with the rotten wood inside and reinforces its integrity.
2. Does wood hardener stop rot?
Wood hardeners effectively seal out moisture from the wood, making sure it remains dry for a considerable time. The dry wood stops rotting and insect infestations.
3. Can you paint over a wood hardener?
In most cases, you can. Companies usually design wood hardeners as primers, so new paint over it stays in place. For example, plywood paints tend to work pretty well.
Compatibility with wood fillers is also a relevant issue. While some hardeners bind well with proprietary fillers, others work better with most other fillers, including wood fillers for nail holes. Painting over a filler is easier.
But you should opt for a treated wood primar if you're looking achieve the best adhesion.
4. Can you use a wood hardener on wet wood?
Wood hardeners are perfectly usable on wet wood. However, you should remove any excess crumbly wood from the surface before application. Having a relatively firm base helps the hardener work more effectively.
5. How long does it take a wood hardener to dry?
Many solutions available are fast-acting, which dry within two to four hours of application. Some products act even faster, and some can take the whole day. Depending on what consistency you’re using, the dry time will vary.
It can be sad to see rotten wood. We’ve reviewed some of the best wood hardeners that you can get. Be it for heavy lifting or water resistance, you can use the option of your choice to make sure you get the job done.