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How to Care for Wood FurnitureNovember 11, 2020
When purchasing outdoor furniture, many people prefer the classic appeal, look, and price of furniture constructed from woods such as pine. While furniture made from woods like these can be quite appealing, there’s one thing that is simply unavoidable if they are expected to last for years to come, and that is maintenance. While many people buy these products knowing this, often, due to a lack of knowledge of where to start, the maintenance simply gets neglected. In a few years, the furniture has been destroyed by the weather.
For that reason, we’ve put together this guide to give you the knowledge you need to care for your wood outdoor furniture. If maintained, you can keep it looking beautiful and in great structural condition for years to come! One important note is that some hardwoods such as teak require more specialized care. This guide is for more common soft-woods such as pine and cedar.
The first step to ensuring that your furniture will stay fresh and in great shape for years is to ensure that it is properly sealed or finished from the beginning. While some stains do have sealants mixed in with them, many do not, so it is important to not assume that your outdoor furniture is safe just because it’s stained. Many will require an additional all-weather sealant of some type, which the manufacturer may or may not offer.
These sealants or finishes are generally available at your neighborhood hardware store or online, and there are many different brands and varieties that will work well. Lower-quality options will generally just need to be done more often or may feel less pleasant to the touch.
Another important step to protect your furniture is storing it for the winter or during especially bad weather. While properly sealed furniture can take some weather, the reality is that constant expanding, contracting, or freezing is going to age any wood much more than being inside, forcing the need for sooner retouching and increasing cracking and splintering.
Sand Rough Parts
When your wood does age, as it is guaranteed to, it’s important to still maintain it. The most important steps to take are sanding and retouching the furniture regularly. This can be done once a year, or as the finish or the wood itself begins to show signs of age.
To do this, simply use some medium-grit sandpaper such as 180 or 220, and sand down any rough patches or splinters until smooth to the touch. Pay special attention to contact areas, such as the seat, back, and armrests.
Check Structural Pieces
During the sanding process, it’s also important to check any structural components on your furniture for damage. Check for any rusting metal parts, screws or lags pulling out of wood, or any wood pieces that are damaged, cracked, or broken. Once identified, replace any parts that need it, or otherwise ensure that everything is once again securely fastened.
Metal part replacements can often be found at your local hardware, but you may need to reach out to your manufacturer for specific custom cut wood pieces. Be sure to check if there is any warranty, as some manufacturers offer replacement parts for free.
Retouch and Refinish
After sanding, you can go over the furniture and retouch the furniture with stain if bare wood is showing through anywhere. Often you can get your stain from the original manufacturer or seller, and they may have included some in your original purchase specifically for this reason.
Once the stain has dried, reapply the sealant as directed for the specific product you choose. You may need to use multiple coats to seal correctly.
So there’s your guide to properly caring for your wood outdoor furniture! You now have the information you need to properly maintain your patio or outdoor dining set. If you have any questions, it’s always a good idea to check in with your specific manufacturer to ensure that you’re following whatever their guidelines are.