Many people purchase outdoor furniture without knowing how to maintain it. Unless you know how to properly protect wood tables and chairs, they will quickly damage and splinter. Since these furniture items stay outside, they’re continually exposed to the elements every day and night. Eventually, even the most expensive pieces will warp and wear out.
Continue reading to learn about eight helpful tips to preserve and protect your patio sets for many years of use. When it’s time to replace them, you’ll find the best wood furniture selection with Makers Woodshop.
Lightly Sand the Surface Before Sealing or Painting
The only way to ensure that your product takes is to sand it lightly. Doing so exposes the pores of the lumber, allowing paint or sealant to set in. However, treating the surface with too fine of grit will have the opposite effect. We recommend starting with 80 grit sandpaper and working your way up to 220 grit to prepare your wood for stain or sealing.
Make sure to completely clear any of the dust or debris from the wood after sanding before applying your finishing product.
Natural Wood Vs. Painted Finish: Which One is Best to Protect Wood Tables?
One of the first of many tough choices is whether to leave the finish natural. You may prefer a natural wood finish, but you may find yourself concerned with defending it against the sun. The great news is that this decision is mostly up to your personal preferences. You can find a variety of exterior paint colors and clear finish coatings that will suit your style.
However, you will need to make sure you use products that are labeled for outdoor use like spar urethane. Otherwise, direct UV exposure will cause it to peel before long. It’s also important to note when you need to reapply your preferred formulas. Completely clean, dry, and apply another finish coat about every two-three years.
Waterproof Your Outdoor Wood Furniture
It isn’t only the rain that you need to worry about when defending your furniture. The morning dew, irrigation sprinklers, and ambient humidity can all put your tables at risk. Thankfully, there are many natural and synthetic treatments you can choose from. The furniture’s final appearance will also depend on which products are used.
Linseed oil and Tung oil are both great choices for a hand-rubbed finish. However, oil-based coatings won’t create a protective barrier, but instead will seep into the lumber. For those seeking a longer-lasting alternative, look for polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer. These are sold in clear, semi-transparent, and colored coating options.
Use Proper Painting Technique
One of the most basic mistakes to make is choosing the wrong type of paint. You could get away with using indoor products, but you won’t achieve the best results. When painting exterior wood furniture, both latex and oil based paints will work well, but make sure it is rated for outdoor use.
We recommend that you begin painting your furniture with it upside down. Whether you spray paint or use brush strokes, start with the bottom for easier applications. No matter which product you apply, do so in well-ventilated areas. Also, try to coat your furniture during “room temperature” weather conditions.
Don’t Skip the Primer Coat
If you choose to paint your furniture, it’s important that you don’t skip the primer coat. Not only will primer create a better paint bond, but some primers offer other benefits. You can sometimes find products that also include a stain blocker for longer-lasting colors.
Even though many spray paints don’t require a primer coat, you may want to consider it. This added layer of protection helps preserve both the lumber and the final appearance. You can also find primers offered in several colors to enhance the finished color. For an even smoother finish, apply a second primer coat after the first one dries.
Use Tough Varnishes to Protect Wood Tables
Choosing the right varnish goes a long way towards protecting wood tables. Unfortunately, not all of them include UV inhibitors, which can lead to sun damage. Marine spar varnishes are a great choice, even if you don’t live near water. These products are manufactured to protect ships from the elements, which proves that they are durable.
Deck coating products are also a top option, and they are often easy to find. They’re also offered in several different finish options you can choose from. Some people may prefer a “naked” wood appearance, so using a varnish will offer superior protection. Consider using a clear coat to defend your furniture without sacrificing its charm.
Protect Wood Tables by Minimizing Their Exposure
These tables are meant for outdoor use, but it doesn’t mean you have to leave them exposed to the elements. The more sun that they get every day, the faster they’ll damage and fade. If possible, move them to a covered area while you aren’t using them. Even if they’re underneath a tree, it can be helpful but look out for roosting birds above.
Try and keep your outdoor furniture in areas that only get partial sun exposure. You can also protect your wood tables even more with a removable cloth cover. Finally, know when it’s time to re-treat your furniture with protective varnishes. Keeping them covered with a UV-protective product will help them last longer.
Prevent Mildew from Forming on Wood Furniture
You carefully sanded, cleaned, and applied sealant to protect your wood furniture. Yet, you find that you’re still dealing with another threat; mold and mildew growth.
If you find mossy spots forming, even after sealing, you’ll need a fungicide. You can even add them to your preferred clear coat for better results. Better yet, you can also find some sealant products that already contain fungicides. This is another reason to consider all of your possible options carefully.
Another simple way to prevent mildew is to ensure that everyone dries off before sitting. Even small amounts of moisture from bathing suits can lead to mildew growth.