How to seal wooden water barrels

Written by kevin owen | 13/05/2017
How to seal wooden water barrels
Old wine barrels can be used to store water for gardening. (Anne Stahl/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Home grey water systems are an easy and economical way to reduce water bills and conserve water for use in the garden. Capturing rainwater and storing it for garden use is also increasingly popular. Using second-hand wine barrels for water storage is an attractive reuse of resources and adds an interesting element to your landscaping. Effectively sealing your wooden water barrel on the inside and outside will preserve its beauty and functionality for years.

Fill the barrel to the brim with water.

Mark any leaking areas on the exterior of the barrel with chalk.

Empty the barrel of water and allow to dry.

Apply mastic to the corresponding interior sections of the barrel that match the marked locations of the leaks. Allow mastic to cure according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Apply a bitumen sealant to the inside of the water barrel using a paintbrush. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours.

Rough up the exterior of the wooden barrel with a medium-grit sandpaper to ensure proper adhesion of the water sealant.

Apply an even coat of the exterior wood sealant using a paintbrush.

Allow to dry for six to eight hours.

Even out drip marks on the first sealant finish using medium-grit sandpaper. Apply a second coat of exterior sealant. Allow to dry.

Sand out drip marks again and apply a third coat of sealant. Allow to dry.

Smooth the finish with fine-grit sandpaper.

Apply a final coat of exterior sealant.


Apply sealant in a well-ventilated area. Wear work gloves and protective eyewear when working with sealant.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply sealant in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear work gloves and protective eyewear when working with sealant.

Things you need

  • Bitumen sealant
  • Water
  • Chalk
  • Mastic
  • Putty knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Exterior wood sealant
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

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