Instead of replacing your old weathered wooden outdoor furniture, why not simply sand surfaces smooth, prime and paint to create a brand-new looking piece of garden furniture. A few simple maintenance steps can protect your wooden garden furniture and keep it looking great for many years to come.
Clean regularly with gentle products, lightly sand the surface to prevent mold and cover or store pieces during the winter months. If cared for properly, you should only really need to repaint your garden furniture when you fancy a change of colour.
So if you have some old wooden garden chairs with peeling paint and chipped or splintered wood, it’s honestly not that hard to make them look fantastic. Furniture refinishing of this sort is much closer to carpentry and house painting than it is to the skilled world of say restoring an antique table. And that’s a good thing, because with very little effort you can cover up any minor imperfections and have a good-looking finished result.
Patching up any damaged wood
- Scrub the splintered, chipped or dented timber with a stiff wire brush to remove any loose paint or wood chips.
- Apply a waterproof glue to any splintered pieces and clamp them until the glue dries.
- With a putty knife, spread a paste wood filler over the damaged area, making sure you cover it completely.
- Smooth down the wood filler until it is flush with the wood surface and leave it to dry overnight.
- Sand the patch gently with 220-grit sandpaper, feathering out the edges to make the patch is less visible.
- Wipe off the sanding residue with a damp cloth and let it dry before applying primer (see next section).
Painting wooden garden furniture
- Scrape off all large pieces of existing paint.
- Smooth all surfaces with sandpaper using 100-, 120- or 180-grit, depending on the level of sanding needed. Grit coarseness decreases as the number increases; i.e. 100-grit sandpaper is much coarser than 180-grit.
- Wipe any dust from furniture with a damp cloth.
- Apply one coat of exterior primer to the furniture using a brush. Use strokes in the same direction as the wood grain. Allow to dry completely.
- Apply one coat of exterior paint with a brush and allow furniture to dry completely. Apply additional coats, if desired, and allow furniture to dry completely before using the furniture.
Lazy Susan’s tips & tricks
- Caulk the cracks in the wood, caulk the joints, and add a dab of caulk over screw holes and nail holes. Always use a caulk that is mold and mildew resistant, flexible, watertight, low odour and cleans up with water.
- If you want a really slick finish, go to the extra effort of feathering the hard, raggedy edges or patches where the old paint is still soundly adhered to the wood. If you omit this step you’ll get a cratered effect when the fresh paint goes on over the old stuff. To feather, use 100-grit sandpaper to take down the edges of the old coat(s) of paint back to wood. This works best with an electric sander, but if you’re doing it by hand prepare for aching arms and hands.
- Always make sure the wood is completley moisture-free before you start. If it’s been outside, then make sure you give it 48 hours indoors with a fan blowing across it to ensure that it’s totally dry and then proceed.
- Apply at least one topcoat of your favourite exterior paint. Traditionally, oil-based alkyd paints were the preferred choice for exterior use, but this is no longer the case with new developments in latex- and acrylic-based paints, which flex with the freeze and thaw cycles, plus they don’t split and crack like the old oil-based paints.
- Prime the piece with a good exterior primer, either water-based or alcohol-based. If you’re working on pine or fir, an alcohol-based BIN stain-blocking primer will prevent you from getting a yellowish-brown pitch and sap stains from bleeding through the paint later.
- Don’t paint in direct sunlight, which can cause the paint surface to skim over and blister.
- And finally, always wear a respirator mask if you’re scraping or sanding paint that was applied before the late Sixties; it may contain lead!
The following video by eHow contributor Bill Elzey, looks at how wooden outdoor furniture can be revived by simply wiping it clean, sanding it smooth with various grades of sand paper and adding a coat of sealant, followed by a coat of varnish as we’ve discussed in this post…