Originally Posted by FamilyDude
Do I need to treat it, or if it's out of direct sunlight can I just let it be? Thanks.
Water that can stand in niches and joints for long periods is the most damaging. It means rot can occur where it is least visible. Sun exposure will dry and age wood too, but the combination of wet/dry and sun are the worst.
The best treatment for wood exposed to the weather is plain old linseed oil. Apply it as purchased if possible, but it can also be thinned to better saturate the wood grain. After all, linseed oil is nothing less than house paint without the added coloring agents (pigments). It will dry to a hard tough film that will repel water for several years before needing re-painting. A spray can in combination with thinned linseed oil works well for hard to brush areas.
Most of the expensive commercial water proofing treatments don't last more than about a year before needing re-application.