How to Make Treated Wood Look Weathered

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Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles

  • Mouth mask

  • Orbital sander

  • Sanding pad

  • 2 Mason jars

  • Steel wool pad (#0000)

  • White vinegar

  • Black tea bag

  • Paintbrushes

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

  • Screws

  • Nails

  • Hammer


Test this method on a discreet part of the wood surface to determine whether you like the effect. Weathering stains can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store.


Avoid inhaling or ingesting the vinegar-and-steel-wool solution.

Don't allow children or pets near your work area.

Add a worn, weathered look to your new wood.

While some adore the look of new wood that's stained to perfection, others enjoy the gray cast of wood that's aged and weathered. Old wood is often a faded brown or light gray with a visible grain and a rough texture; it can be seen in many coastal communities or other high-humidity areas. To achieve this look on wood that's already been treated with preservative stain, you'll have to remove most of it before beginning the weathering process.

Step 1

Don your safety goggles and mouth mask to protect yourself as you use your orbital sander. A sander produces a large amount of wood dust that can irritate your eyes and respiratory system.

Step 2

Set the sander to medium speed and touch the rotating pad to the wooden surface. Brace the sander with both hands as you move it gradually across the surface. Wipe away the wood dust with a shop rag to check your progress. Continue until most of the stain has been removed.

Step 3

Tear up the steel wool pad and place the pieces in a mason jar. Fill the mason jar with white vinegar until the bits of steel wool are fully immersed. Seal the mason jar and leave it undisturbed for 24 hours.

Step 4

Fill a second mason jar with one-third cup of boiling hot water and add a tea bag to the jar. Allow the tea bag to steep until the solution is a dark, rich brown.

Step 5

Brush the tea over the surface of your sanded wood and allow it to dry. Follow with a light coat of the vinegar solution. Allow the vinegar solution to dry for roughly 30 minutes. Once dry, the wood will appear grey and textured.

Step 6

Lighten the shade of grey using a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. Add other wear marks using nails, screws or the head of a hammer.


Brandon Getty

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.