Take It Outside

Patio furniture does not have to be plastic or metal and made specifically for the great outdoors. Sure, this type of furniture was built to last in the elements but with a few tricks most any type of furniture can live in certain outdoor conditions. A covered patio or porch can accommodate most types of furniture, including rattan, with the help of enough polyurethane and water repelling fabric spray.

Step 1

Problem: Couch Mildew

Rattan furniture looks great on a patio. The problem is it was made to go inside, perhaps in a sun room. This particular set had been moved outdoors several years ago without taking preventative measures against the elements. Therefor the work was twofold. Not only did it need to be protected, it needed to be repaired. Damage had already been done and mildew had set in.

Step 2

Mildew Solution

Mildew does not mean all is lost and the furniture should be tossed. Far from it. What it means is there is some labor intensive work ahead, but the results will be totally worth it. The first thing to do is clean the furniture with a brush. Knock of excess dirt, chipped paint and dust. If things are really bad a mildew cleaner with bleach should be used.

Step 3

Sand Off Old Finish

If you are working with a flat surface – like our awesome vintage Heywood Wakefield table – use a palm sander. Start with high-grit sandpaper and work your way to a fin grit. Wear a dust mask.

Step 4

Get in All the Nooks and Crannies

For rounded legs and curved furniture, hand sanding will be the best option. Again start with a high-grit sandpaper and work your way to a finer grit.  

Step 5

Clean Before Applying Stain

Use a tack cloth to take off the sanding dust. Set the furniture on a drop cloth and apply stain in preferred color. Use a stain sponge to apply stain. The more coats applied, the darker the stain. Wear gloves to protect your skin. Allow drying time between coats.

Step 6

Apply Protective Coat

Allow the stain to dry overnight then apply polyurethane. Make sure to choose a urethane that says it is protection from moisture, sunlight and temperature changes. Apply at least two coats with a paintbrush. Coat ALL parts of furniture, even underneath the furniture as well. Allow to dry completely.

Step 7

Sit Back and Enjoy

When everything is dry, put cushions back on to couches and set things on your table. Remember this treatment will not make your furniture able to withstand torrential rains, but it will protect it well enough to sit on a covered patio.

Step 8

Consider New Cushions

If your furniture will be getting wet, say from people getting in and out of a pool, consider using terry cloth covered, water-resistant cushions to further protect your furniture.

Step 9

Show It Off

A weekend’s worth of sanding, staining and protecting pays off when it comes to entertaining all summer long. The furniture looks rich, expensive and brand new.