refinishing to protect outdoor wood furniture

How to Clean, Restore and Protect Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

The snow has melted, and warmer weather is on its way. It’s about that time to think about moving your outdoor furniture from your garage to the patio. However, if your pieces have been sitting outside all winter long, they’ve probably taken a beating from the hot to cold and wet to dry seasonal changes. We’ll touch on the preferable types of wood, how to clean weathered wood, and ways to protect your outdoor wood furniture from the elements. Now, let’s dive in!

Types of Wood Used in Outdoor Furniture

There are a variety of woods used in patio furniture. Sturdier woods, such as redwood, teak, cypress, cedar and white oak are quite rot resistant, making them ideal for spending days outside without too much damage. These types of wood can provide a long, useful life and require the least amount of maintenance over time.

However, most outdoor furniture sold locally is made of a softer, but less expensive, wood than the ones listed above. These types of wood need to have a protective coating in order to prevent rot and decay. Knowing the type of wood your furniture is made from can help you determine the best technique for proper care.

Cleaning and Restoring Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

Most wood types wear down and lose their color from exposure to the elements. If your outdoor furniture is made from the sturdier woods and is uncoated, we suggest cleaning with soap and water, followed by a rinse, and then you’re good to go. For those that want to rejuvenate the wood’s vibrant colors, there are coating products to help preserve the original appearance.

A Note About the Tools to Use for Cleaning

To clean your outdoor wood furniture, a pressure washer is an excellent tool for prepping the surfaces. Gasoline pressure washers can cause surface damage if not used carefully. The lowest pressure and widest tip will help prevent damage. Electric pressure washers are our preference because they have lower pressure and do an excellent job of cleaning.

How to Protect Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

We recommend using a coating that contains more pigment for better weather protection. A pigmented exterior finish preserves the color longer. The down side is that the coating takes away the wood look. For those pieces that have been weathered, you can restore the natural grain look first by washing, then applying a wood brightener, and follow up with the pigmented exterior finish. New outdoor furniture could be coated with a clear exterior oil type of finish. In either case, as soon as you notice the finish starting to wear, you should apply another coat of the same coating and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Be sure to coat all six sides of the wood, especially the feet that sits on the grass.

As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive woods, like teak, are well worth the investment of professional restoration since they will last for generations if properly cared for. Other kinds of softer woods are more suited for the DIYers. With that said, you are always welcome to trust your valued pieces to the furniture restoration professionals. Furniture Werks has a 100% Satisfaction Warranty to ensure your piece returns home looking just the way you expect.

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