How Do I… Rejuvenate My Outdoor Timber Furniture?

Long-term exposure to sun, wind, and rain can leave your outdoor timber furniture grey and weathered. But that doesn’t mean it’s beyond repair. With a thorough clean and refresh, you’ll have it looking its warm, natural best in no time. 

To keep your outdoor timber pieces in good shape, it’s a good idea to do this every 12 to 18 months – particularly if pieces are left in an exposed part of your garden or deck where the weather can do more damage.

How do I know if my timber furniture needs TLC?
A rough, faded, peeling or unevenly toned surface – these are all telltale signs that it’s time to clean and re-coat. If a piece is in a very poor state, you may need to sand it back too.

What do I need to know about woodcare-coating systems?
There are two different types of timber coatings – water-based and oil-based.

Oil-based coatings
Penetrate the wood better than water-based coatings.
Are more durable.
Produce a more even finish.
Take longer to dry.
Emit a strong odour while drying.
Clean up with mineral turps.
Are more expensive.

Water-based coatings
Last longer than oil-based coatings.
Retain colour for longer.
Are more mildew resistant.
Emit less odour while drying.
Emit lower VOCs and are more environmentally friendly.
Clean up with soap and water.
Are less expensive.

Which one should I use? 
It’s generally best to use the same type of coating you previously used on the furniture. But if the existing coating is still sound and not flaking or peeling, it’s fine to apply another type of coating.

First, test a small amount with a sample pot in an inconspicuous spot on the piece of furniture. If the timber copes well, you can apply the new coating straight over the old one. If the timber reacts, you will need to sand back the entire piece before applying the new coating.

Tip: It’s worth paying more for a quality timber coating as it’s likely to be more durable, offer better protection against UV light and dirt, and last longer than a cheap one.

What do I need? 
A hose or pressure washer.
A drop sheet or tarp.
A stiff-bristled brush.
Garden-furniture cleaner.
Your chosen timber coating.

How do I go about it? 
1. Spread drop sheets on your lawn, terrace or deck, and place your timber furniture on them.
2. Remove cobwebs from furniture by soaking a few sheets of paper towels in a bucket of diluted eucalyptus oil (around 10 to 15 millilitres of eucalyptus oil in half a bucket of water); gently wipe down each surface of the furniture.
3. Apply garden-furniture cleaner to the timber and work it in with a stiff-bristled brush. Leave to rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
4. Wash the cleaning residue off with a pressure washer or use a stiff-bristled brush and a hose set on high pressure.
5. When the timber is completely dry, apply a liberal coat of your chosen timber coating, following the direction of the grain. For best results, apply three coats, leaving two hours between each coat.
6. Depending on the weather, your furniture will usually dry completely and be ready to use in a couple of days.

Do I need to sand furniture first? 
Only if the surface of the timber is very rough or flaking, or if you’re using a different timber coating to the one you used last time.

If sanding, I’d recommend using a sheet of 120-grit sandpaper or a small, hand sander – these will allow you to get into all those nooks and crannies. Always sand downwards for a clean, dust-free finish. When you’re finished, wipe off any remaining dust with a damp cloth before applying timber coating.

What else is good to know? 
It’s worth checking if your timber furniture needs refreshing in other ways too: 
Check for protruding nail heads (you can countersink these with a nail punch).
Test legs and joints to see if they’re loose and need tightening.
Check for cracks or gouges that will need to be dealt with before coating furniture. Fill small holes (such as staple holes) with wood-tone putty sticks. Fill larger holes (such as nail holes or cracks) with a quick-drying wood filler.

Article thanks to Houzz

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