Is Spruce Good For Outdoor Use? Here’s The Truth!

is spruce good for outdoor use

Spruce is a popular softwood with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. When it comes to outdoors, it is questionable to use Spruce since it is a softwood, and we need to consider its resistance to environmental impacts.

So, let’s find out, Is Spruce good for outdoor use?

Spruce is not good for outdoor use since it has poor rot and weather resistance. It has moderate durability. Spruce has no resistance against water damage, and it is prone to insect and fungi attacks. By sealing the wood properly and preventing the wood from touching the ground, it may use for exterior siding.

But that’s just a yes or no question since there are some methods you can use for Spruce to use for outdoor use as well.

So, in this article, we’ll explore whether is Spruce good for outdoor use, whether can you use Spruce for the exterior, the advantages, and disadvantages of using Spruce for outdoor use, and how to finish Spruce for outdoor use as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s jump in!

Can You Use Spruce for Exterior?

It is not a good choice to use Spruce for the exterior since it has poor water resistance and wood tends to rot quickly since it absorbs moisture like a sponge.

But with proper finishing and sealing, you can make Spruce watertight and protect the wood from environmental elements like moisture.

But overall, Spruce is not good for exterior use.

Plus, Spruce attracts insects and bugs which can cause the growth of mold and mildew.

If you use Spruce as your garden furniture, it will get damaged from moisture and also insect attacks.

Spruce wood is no rotting resistance since even the denser part, the heartwood of the wood is also only having moderate resistance to rotting.

Plus, Spruce wood may split and crack easily because of its poor weather resistance. But wood splitting can be prevented with proper finishing techniques.

To protect Spruce from environmental elements, it needs regular maintenance, and you should apply sealer, stain, paint, varnish, or any other watertight coat over the wood at least once per few months.

Maintaining and refinishing outdoor Spruce wood furniture and woodwork can be so frustrating and a waste of time and money.

If you somehow made a wood finishing or staining mistake, the moisture would penetrate inside of the wood and cause the wood to rot internally.

As you can see, even though Spruce is wonderful with superior qualities for indoor use when it comes to the exterior, it is not the best wood should go with.

In summary, here’re the main reasons why Spruce is not good for outdoor use,

  • Poor water resistance
  • No rot resistance
  • Poor decay resistance
  • Susceptible to insect attacks
  • Less durability

With proper finishing, you’ll be able to seal the outer surface of Spruce and prevent it from soaking up moisture.

Sealers prevent the wood from absorbing moisture and protect it from environmental elements.

Always use quality sealing and finishing products on Spruce that cause fewer troubles in the future.

Otherwise, Spruce outdoor wood furniture will be ruined after a few months of use.

Anyways, Spruce is a poor choice for outdoor use unless you’re using a proper finishing method.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Spruce For Outdoor Use

Every cloud has a silver lining. Likewise, even though Spruce is not the best wood for outdoor use, there can be some benefits that are useful for outdoor woodworking projects.

Excellent strength-to-weight ratioPoor weather resistance
LightweightLess durability
Easy to work withNo rot resistance
High flexibilityProne to insect attacks
Attractive uniform texturePoor hardness and density
Easy to finish and stain 

As you can see Spruce is a wood filled with lots of great qualities that are important for outdoor furniture.

But because of having poor tolerance against environmental impacts, people usually don’t stick with Spruce.

But as you already know most of the environmental impacts can be solved with proper finishing. So many of the above disadvantages of Spruce can be minimized with excellent finishing and coating.

In order to clarify things, let’s find out how to finish Spruce wood for outdoor use.

How To Finish Spruce for Outdoor Use?

Spruce wood is able to finish so well. Stain is the most popular and effective sealer for Spruce to get protected from environmental elements such as moisture, insect attacks, and UV light.

With proper finishing and staining, Spruce will get an enhanced look and be able to add a unique attractive look to your garden or outdoors.

Proper absorption is a must before placing Spruce furniture outside. So, let’s find out how to finish Spruce wood correctly for outdoor use,

Supplies You Will Need

  • Pre-stain wood conditioner
  • Wood stain
  • Spruce wood
  • Paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Lint-free soft cloths
  • 220 grit sandpaper

Here’re the steps you need to follow when finishing Spruce for outdoor use,

  1. Clean the wood and surface preparation
  2. Sand and remove sawdust
  3. Apply wood conditioner
  4. Let it dry
  5. Apply wood stain
  6. Let the wood dry completely

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps in detail to get a clear idea of finishing Spruce well.

1. Clean and Surface Preparation

Cleaning is the most essential step in wood finishing. If you do the wood finishing without cleaning the surface properly, you’ll face lots of issues like forming bubbles on coating, blotchy surfaces, cracking, and peeling.

Therefore, proper cleaning is a must before any finishing step.

Take Spruce wood to a well-ventilated area because chemical treatment can cause breathing issues and ventilated areas are helpful to dry the finish quicker.

Take clean rags and dip them in soapy water and wipe through the surface to eliminate dust, dirt, debris, grease, and other residues.

After cleaning the whole surface, let the wood dry completely before moving into the next step.

2. Sand And Remove Sawdust

After cleaning and drying the wood completely, sand the entire Spruce wood surface with 220 grit sandpaper along the direction of the wood grain to eliminate surface randomness and make it super smooth to take on the wood finish so well.

Sanding along the direction of the Spruce wood grain is recommended since Spruce is a hardwood and sanding in the opposite direction of grain may scratch and cracks the wood.

Sand the whole Spruce wood surface without missing any spots. End of the day, you’ll get a super smooth and nice surface that is ready to absorb the stain.

Never use high-grade extra coarse sandpapers for this task since they may damage the wooden surface.

Plus, sand with even pressure to avoid getting blotchy or splotchy surface due to surface unevenness.

After sanding the Spruce wood surface properly, remove sawdust using a rag or dust collection pipe.

Never leave sawdust on the surface since they are so hard to remove once got stuck with a wood stain.

3. Apply Wood Conditioner

Even though Spruce takes stain so well, I highly advise you to use wood conditioner especially since we’re going to prepare indoor favor wood for outdoor use.

Therefore, finishing needs to be perfect and wood conditioner helps to finish the wood extremely well.

After cleaning the wood properly. Apply pre-stain wood conditioner all over the surface by dipping a lint-free soft cloth and wiping the entire surface.

Apply wood conditioner along the direction of the wood grain for proper absorption and to minimize slow drying issues.

Generally, Spruce suck up stain like a sponge which is the same as water.

By applying wood conditioner before the stain, the wood conditioner will penetrate through the wood fibers of Spruce and control their absorption rates.

Wood conditioners slow down the absorption speed of Spruce wood and make the whole surface absorb stain amount almost the same.

This helps to apply the stain evenly without making wood stain mistakes like blotches and streaks.

Applying wood conditioner before staining is highly recommended especially if you’re a beginner since it is useful to prevent unnecessary stain absorptions and let a thin coat of stain sit on the surface with proper coating.


Better if you can use a wood conditioner from the same manufacturer as a wood stain to avoid getting incompatibility issues.

4. Let the Wood Dry

After applying the wood conditioner, let it set and dry for at least 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes check the surface whether it has dried completely before moving on to the next step.

Once the wood is completely dry and able to touch with a finger without leaving a smear, you’re good to go for the staining step.

5. Apply Wood Stain

Once the Spruce wood surface is completely dried, dip the paintbrush so the little stain can be and apply the entire wood surface without leaving any spot.

Apply wood stain along the direction of the Spruce wood grain for better absorption and to avoid making bubbles and blotches.

Plus, apply stain with even pressure on the paint brush to spread stain evenly all over the wood.

Apply a thin coat of stain for a highly efficient protective coating and to dry quicker.

Thick coats of stain take so much time to dry and may result in a tacky surface at the end that never dries completely.

After applying the stain for 2 -3 minutes wipe off the excess stain on the surface with a rag to get a thin stain coating.

Apply 2 – 3 coats of wood stain on Spruce wood to make a perfect coating that helps to protect the wood from moisture and other environmental impacts.

But make sure to let the finish dry completely between coatings.

Spruce can stain with any color you want. So, better to select a stain color that matches perfectly your outdoor environment.

6. Let the Wood Dry Completely

Make sure to let the stain coat dry between coats for around 6 hours for better drying. Never apply another stain coat when before the previous one dried completely to avoid getting a tacky surface.

After applying the final coat of stain, let it dry and cure for about 24 hours to settle on the surface well.

Poor drying causes surface blotchiness, which can be so hard to eliminate, and you’ll have to start the finishing process from the beginning.

Once the stain is completely dried, you’ll begin to see its true color with an enhanced wood appearance.

Therefore, drying is so important to make an excellent coating that helps Spruce wood to get protected from environmental impacts like water damage, insect attacks, UV light, and more.

Now you know how to finish Spruce wood perfectly before placing your Spruce furniture or woodwork outside.

Outdoor Applications of Spruce

As you can see you can use Spruce for lots of outdoor applications by finishing the wood as described above. Spruce pallet woods need special chemical treatment before placing outside.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions regarding whether is Spruce good for outdoor use.

Is Spruce or Pine Better For Outdoor Use?

Pine is better than Spruce for outdoor use since pine has great workability. Pine is popular among woodworkers for outdoor use.

Even though both Spruce and pine are softwood pine is popular since once it is treated it is a more useful outdoor wood material than Spruce.

I highly recommend you not to use untreated pine wood for outdoor use since it has poor weather resistance and rot resistance. It is prone to water damage.

Therefore, applying a proper sealer or finisher is a must before using Pine for outdoor use.

For example, Pine is a better choice than Spruce for fence since pine takes paints and stain so well, and finishing pine wood fences are easier than Spruce fences. But Spruce wood is cheaper than pine wood.

Is Spruce Lumber Rot Resistant?

Spruce lumber has no rot resistance. Even the heartwood of Spruce has moderate resistance against rotting, and it gets easily damaged from water, UV light, and insect attacks.

In order to stop Spruce lumber from rotting, you need to apply a proper finisher or sealant without making any mistakes.

Plus, you can restore rotted Spruce lumber using chemical products like FlexSeal.

How Long Will Spruce Last Outside?

With proper finishing and sealing Spruce can last outside even more than a decade.

But you need to apply a finisher or sealer at least once per year and regular maintenance is a must to protect outdoor Spruce furniture from environmental elements like moisture.

Untreated Spruce wood cannot last for more than 2 – 3 months outside since it gets easily damaged by moisture.

Moisture will penetrate deep inside the wood and cause wood to rot. Bare Spruce wood has no tolerance for environmental impacts.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Spruce Good for Outdoor Use?

In this article, we have deeply discussed, whether is Spruce good for outdoor use, why Spruce wood is not recommended for the exterior with its disadvantages and how can we finish Spruce wood for outdoor use, and more.

Spruce is not good for exterior use since it has no rot and decay resistance. It is prone to water damage and insect attacks.

By applying a proper sealant, you can make Spruce good to use for outdoor use, but it takes so much time since Spruce needs regular maintenance.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about whether is Spruce good for outdoor use and related stuff.

Try to finish Spruce wood so well as described above and see how it tolerates environmental impacts.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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