Tips for Refinishing Wooden Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor wood furniture can be a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, but it requires regular upkeep. Use these tips to care for your wood furniture and keep it looking its best.


This outdoor dining space has teak patio furniture on a wood deck.

Photo by: Jan Hanus

Jan Hanus

Due to the fact that wooden outdoor furniture is often exposed to the elements, including rain, snow, ice, sunlight and extreme heat, these pieces require very specific care, maintenance and upkeep on at least a semi-regular basis.

For many individuals, refinishing wooden outdoor furniture is viewed as a complete mystery or an annoying task. Rather than purchasing new furniture or paying professional painters and repairmen, you can easily refinish wooden outdoor items by following a few easy, basic tips.

Removing the Old Finish

Perhaps the only benefit of wooden outdoor furniture being exposed to the elements is the fact that this often loosens old finish, allowing for a relatively painless removal.

Whether you are attempting to remove wood stain or paint, the easiest first step to take in removal of the old finish is to use a power washer or high pressure hose (high pressure hoses can be found at most modern car washes). Spraying the furniture with a power washer or high pressure hose not only removes dirt and debris, but often removes excess flaking of the original finish.

Once the item has thoroughly dried, sanding is typically required to remove the remaining finish and ensure a smooth and even surface.

Applying the New Finish

When it comes to refinishing most furniture, the method of application often comes into question. While some individuals prefer to use traditional paintbrushes, foam brushes are an excellent alternative.

Much like traditional paintbrushes, foam brushes are available in a wide variety of sizes, allowing for usage in the tiniest of nooks and crannies. The benefits of foam brushes that traditional paintbrushes fail to offer include an even and soft texture, the ability to soak in excess paint or stain, and nearly mess-free use.

Allowing the New Finish to Dry

The amount of time required for the paint or stain to dry thoroughly typically depends upon the product and manufacturer. It is important to study product packaging to ensure you understand the amount of time required for complete drying.

Many individuals make the mistake of leaving wet and freshly finished outdoor furniture outside while drying. This often results in dirt and debris being dried into the paint or stain. To prevent unwanted debris from making contact with the finish, it is wise to allow the finish to dry to a tacky texture and move indoors (such as a shed or garage).

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