How to Finish Wood Furniture for Use Outdoors
By: Julie Day
I have a lovely wooden bench on the porch that I got for free last spring, and it soon became my favorite coffee-sipping seat. It’s sturdy and comfy, and right beside the bird feeders – even the cat loves it. However, after weathering this summer’s rainstorms, the finish started to peel and the wood started to warp, and it soon became evident that my bench wasn’t built for the outdoors.
It’s tempting to pick up old chairs and tables at yard sales for use in the garden, but we’ve all seen what happens to them after a few seasons if they aren’t properly treated to withstand the elements. Based on how quickly my bench was deteriorating, it soon became evident that unless I wanted a pile of rotten splinters on my porch, I needed to seal and refinish the bench and fast!
Furniture intended for the indoors is never going to have as long an outdoor life as its pressure-treated or rot resistant wood counterparts, but a little protection from the elements goes a long way. Whether you’re turning a ladder-back chair into a flower planter or want to put your favorite wooden rocker on the porch, here are some tips on how to get the most life out of wood furniture in the garden.
Outdoor Wood Furniture Challenges
Wooden furniture has to overcome some pretty big obstacles to survive outdoors, including:
How to Treat and Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture
So, can you use interior wood furniture outside? Well, technically you can, but don’t expect it to last a lifetime! Follow these tips to help your piece survive longer in the great outdoors:
- Protect from the Elements: If possible, protect your furniture from sun and rain. It’ll last much longer on your porch than out in the yard. Use furniture glides to raise the piece slightly off the ground so it doesn’t sit in puddles of rainwater.
- Choosing Durable Wood for Outdoor Furniture (article)
- Tips for Cleaning and Refinishing Outdoor Wood Furniture (video)
- How to Clean and Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture (video)
- How to Refinish Furniture (video)