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Painting Wood

What do I need to know

When painting whitewood, redwood, hardwood or softwood, the first item on the checklist is to find out if a previous treatment has already been applied. This would include wood that is tanalised, primed or already painted. 

Paint and Brush

Painting Whitewood or Redwood

What's the Difference Between Redwood and Whitewood Timber?

Do you know the difference between redwood and whitewood timber? If not, you're not alone. Many people are unaware of what is redwood timber and what is whitewood timber.

Redwood - European Redwood that is - is a Scandinavian Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) grown in cooler Boreal Forest climates of Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

It is slow grown for a closer, tighter grain making the timber more dense. Hence it is generally used as joinery timber because it is better quality timber (image: untreated Redwood).

The name 'Redwood' should not be confused with the gigantic Sequoia trees of California (Giant Redwoods), they are different trees.

In the UK, Redwood is commonly Scots Pine and was once seen in large forests all over the country, but it went into decline through deforestation and farming centuries ago. Today, any large areas of Scots Pine are mainly confined to the Caledonian Forest region.

However, they are also widely planted in managed forests throughout Europe. The name Redwood – when used with European, Swedish, Baltic, and Finnish - is purely used to denote its source.

Redwood is one of nature’s stronger timbers and generally resists warping and shakes. It is usually used as a joinery timber to make, for example, skirting boards, staircases, and outdoor furniture. It can easily be sawn, planed and drilled with regular woodworking tools.

Redwood contains natural tannins that help make it durable, perfect for outdoor use, naturally resistant to insects, and readily takes pressure treatment or wood stain.

Northern European Redwood trees grow up to 25m high with a trunk diameter of around 1m in a sustainably managed forest before being sawn for timber. In sustainable planting, growth can take 50 years or more, depending on how far north the forest is.

A Redwood Pine tree can, if left alone, take over 100 years to reach maturity and this gives it tight growth rings with a high heartwood content. Heartwood is the dense inner part of a tree trunk, it's the hardest timber.

Whitewood is from a Spruce or Fir tree (e.g. a Christmas Tree) and is typically grown very quickly in wetter climates like Scotland. 

Norway Spruce (Picea Abies), commonly called Mountain Spruce, is the fastest-growing species. It can grow up to 1.5m (5ft) a year and can reach up to 60m high. Foresters usually harvest Spruce at around 20m-30m high so rotation planting can be every 15-20 years.

Whitewood is typically used in the construction industry - for wooden pallets, box carcasses, indoor wood construction, and fencing timber (when treated). It often has more sap, a straighter grain, and the growth rings are further apart than in slower-grown Redwood. Whitewood is much cheaper than Redwood. Image: Spruce Whitewood.

With the faster growth of Spruce come some deficiencies. The grain of the timber is a lot wider and subsequently less dense. This makes the boards, once machined, much lighter. With that comes an arguably less stable material making it more likely to warp, cup and split, and it is difficult to get a smooth finish. It also doesn’t take pressure treatment or staining quite as well.


Wood Stain & Protect Application Guide

Surface Preparation - Step 1

Surfaces should be cleaned with warm water, detergent and a stiff brush. Make sure that all mould or algae is removed and rinse well. Ensure that timber is fully dry. For best results previous treatments should be removed or well weathered.

Application - Step 2

Mix well before use. Protek Wood Stain & Protect is of a stain consistency that allows it to be easily applied by a garden sprayer, brush or roller. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next. Maintain every 2 – 5 years or as required.


Splashes and drips can only be cleaned with warm water and detergent whilst still wet.


DO NOT apply in temperatures below 5oC or if wet weather is expected within 48 hours.

DO NOT apply to wet, damp or frozen timber.

Drying Time

Touch dry within 2 hours depending on drying conditions and humidity.

Clean Up

Remove excess treatment from the brush or roller and wash with warm water and detergent. Wash nozzle and pipe from sprayer immediately after use with warm water and detergent – do not allow product to dry in sprayer components.


This product and its container must be disposed of in a safe way. Some local authorities have special facilities for the disposal of waste coatings.


Do not empty product into drains, watercourses or access to septic tanks.


Ensure that this container is stored upright and secure during transportation.


Store in the original or sealed container and do not allow product to freeze. If stored correctly product should last 1-2 years.



• Store out of reach of children and animals.
• Ensure good ventilation during application and drying.
• Unprotected persons and animals should be kept away from coated areas for 48 hours or until surfaces are dry.
• Wear suitable protective clothing (overalls) and synthetic rubber/PVC gloves when using.
• Do not breathe spray mist, or wear suitable respiratory equipment (e.g. disposable mask).
• Avoid contact with skin and eyes. In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and if necessary seek medical advice.
• Avoid contact by mouth; do not swallow.
• Wash splashes from the skin with plenty of water and detergent.
• Wash hands and exposed skin before meals and after use.

LOW VOC CONTENT: 0.3% - 7.99%

VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) contribute to atmospheric pollution.

EU Limit Value for this product (Cat A/e): 150g/l (2007)/130g/l (2010). This product contains max 50g/l VOC.


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