How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture

Outdoor wooden furniture are treated and covered with weatherproof finishing to make it stunning and prevent chipping, cracking, splitting, and other effects the elements could cause. However, with time, the effectiveness of this finishing will start degrading, and your furniture will lose its beauty. When this happens, how do you refinish your wood furniture to make it appealing and resistant to weather again?

Repainting your outdoor wooden furniture will prevent it from rotting, wrapping, and allowing you to have it outdoor for many more years.

To do this, you will need to clean and sand the furniture to prepare its surface. Next, apply the best wood coating; this could be an oil or a stain to restore its weatherproof feature.

Repainting your outdoor furniture does not need to be done from time if your furniture is properly taken care of.

So knowing how to care for your furniture will save you a lot of this stress which we express below. However, before that, here is a detailed guide on refinishing your outdoor wooden furniture.

How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture

If your outdoor wood furniture is starting to look a little tired and unappealing, you need to give it a facelift. Repainting your outdoor wood furniture can be done in a few easy steps.

Remove the Old Finish.

If you’re refinishing an old piece, you’ll first need to get rid of the old stain. Sand it down until the surface is smooth and the old stains are gone. You can also use paint thinner to remove old stains and finish if you can’t go through the stress of sandpapering the furniture.

The purpose of removing the old finish is to allow your new coating to bond properly with your furniture. So by sanding down, you are removing all debris and stain from your furniture and preparing its surface for coating.

How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture

Clean the surface

Once you’ve sanded your furniture, wipe it with a damp rag to remove any lingering bits of dust and other debris. You can also use a vacuum or brush to remove all sorts of dust from the furniture.

Ensure you thoroughly clean your furniture to have a smooth finish when you apply your coating. Applying a coating on sading dust will give your terrible grainy finishing, so this is an important step that can’t be skipped.

Apply a Premier

If you will paint your wooden furniture, then it is ideal to apply a premier first before applying the paint. Using a premier will increase the durability of your paint, ensure better adhesion, and protect the furniture.

Ensure the furniture surface is clean and dry, and after applying a wood premier, you can then apply your desired coating.

Apply Your Ideal Coating

After applying a wood sealant or premier, the next thing is to apply your ideal coating. This could paint, stain, oil, or a Polyurethane coating to protect your furniture from elements. Repainting or refinishing your wood furniture will make it new and attractive again.

Depending on the look you want to give your furniture, paint is available in various colors, while wood stain brings out the natural color of your wood and is usable on all types of wood. You can apply any ideal coating using a brush. However, if you choose to use a stain, you will need to apply a sealant after for better protection.

Brush your ideal coating on the entire surface of the furniture, ensuring an even coverage without leaving brush marks. Allow the coating to dry until it is not sticky anymore, and repeat the process.

Oil takes longer to dry and usually does not need sealer when compared to stain, and you will have a better finishing and more protected wood furniture with it. In addition, many oils are designed for a specific wood type, such as tung oil and teak oil, for better durability and protection.

After applying your ideal wood furniture and having an even surface, you can leave it dry overnight before attempting to use it.

Let it dry

After applying a new layer of finish to your furniture, let it sit for at least 24 hours before using it again so that it has time to dry completely.

Best stain for outdoor wood furniture

DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

Best stain for outdoor wood furniture

DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain is the most advanced and durable semi-transparent exterior wood stain available today. It is a high-quality exterior wood finish that offers superior fade resistance and protection against UV rays and moisture.

This innovative, high-performance product contains proprietary nanotechnology and advanced UV absorbers to ensure it lasts longer than traditional exterior wood stains. Based on Woodlands FSC approved solvent, DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain helps protect your furniture from the sun and the natural elements.

This product can be used to restore and beautify the wood on your fence or deck. The semi-transparent film resulting from the liquid nature of DEFY Wood Coatings allows the natural beauty of wood to come through. This finish will not yellow with age or weathering.

Causes of Damage to Outdoor wooden furniture

There are many culprits when it comes to outdoor wood furniture damage:


UV rays can cause the wood to fade, dry out and crack. Leaving your wood furniture in the sun will make it lose its color over time, regardless of the kind of coating. Consistent exposure to direct sunlight will steal the glowing of your wooden furniture. Ensure your outdoor furniture is treated and always covered with a tarp or used under a covered outdoor space to prevent this.


Water will cause mold and mildew to form on the surface of the wood, which will then cause rotting and discoloration. Your wooden furniture will expand when it absorbs water and contrast when it dries.

Allowing this to happen repeatedly can make your furniture crack or split. To prevent this, always wipe your outdoor furniture down after it gets wet, and store it in a dry place (like a shed).


Insects like termites can eat away the wood until there is nothing left but splinters. To prevent this, consider getting treated lumber; if you already have untreated lumber, treat it yourself by applying an insecticide spray now and then.


Using your wooden furniture on the beach or exposing it to pool chemicals is detrimental. Saltwater is easily absorbed by the wood, which could cause it to crack or split, and chlorine water (pool water) can cause greening on some woods, such as cedar and redwood. So avoid using wooden furniture in these areas. Instead, get appropriate furniture for the pool area.

How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture
female hand holding a brush applying varnish paint on a wooden garden chair



How to care for outdoor wood Furniture

Cover or Store Away

One of the best ways to care for your wooden furniture is to use them under a shade, cover them when not in use, or store them away by taking them indoors. Regardless of having outdoor furniture treated to withstand the elements, this practice will enhance the durability of your furniture.

By covering or storing away, you are protecting it from the element that, either one way or the other, will affect your furniture. This is because having your wood furniture under the sun will cause it to fade, while rain will cause it to split or rot.

So whenever it is not in use, it is better always to cover it or take it indoors. However, not all outdoor wooden furniture are lightweight, preventing them from being mobile. In this case, it is better to have a shade over your outdoor living areas. Having a shade over your outdoor space will not protect your furniture from the elements but also make the space comfortable. 

keep away from the Fireplace

Having your wooden furniture close to the Fireplace or other places with extreme heat will make your furniture dry out, and this could cause it to split or crack. So it is best to keep your wooden furniture away from the Fireplace and other areas with such heat to keep it in good shape.

Keep Pets Away

Pets are another enemy to outdoor furniture, especially wooden furniture. Dogs or cats can scratch the furniture’s surface with their claws, thus defacing and weakening the weatherproof feature of the furniture. For this reason, it is better to keep them away or protect any exposed part with a natural fibre cloth.

Clean Regularly

One of the best ways to maintain your outdoor wooden furniture is to clean it from time to time. You can power wash once every three months while dusting and eliminating deep stains should be done from time to time.

This will keep your furniture looking clean and appealing all time. You can use various homemade solutions for this purpose, which is explained in detail here.

How Can You Clean Mold and Mildew of Wood Furniture?

Mold and mildew are fungi that can grow all over your house, but they typically prefer warm and damp environments.

They can grow on many surfaces in your house, including wood furniture. To get rid of them, you’ll have to clean the wood with the right methods.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

The easiest way to get rid of mold and mildew is to prevent them from growing in the first place. That means keeping your home dry and well-ventilated.

You should avoid using humidifiers in your home because mold and mildew thrive in humid environments. If you live in a very dry environment, use a dehumidifier instead.

Cleaning Wood Furniture

If you find mold or mildew growing on wooden furniture, remove it before it can spread further or cause any damage to the wood itself.

Use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe away mold or mildew growing on wood furniture. The rubbing alcohol will kill the mold or mildew without damaging the wood itself. You can also use a solution of vinegar and water to clean your wooden furniture.

How Can You Prevent Outdoor Wood Furniture from Rotting?

Rotting occurs when the moisture in the air causes your furniture to absorb water, which is then absorbed by the wood. Wood naturally has tiny voids where water can be stored, but when this happens repeatedly, these voids become larger.

This weakens the integrity of the wood and eventually causes it to rot. However, it is simple to prevent outdoor wood furniture from rotting: keep it dry and treated to withstand the elements.

When your furniture is treated to withstand elements, it cannot absorb water; then, it won’t rot. Using an all-weather wood coating will prevent your furniture from absorbing water. Also, always clean your furniture after it rains and prevent water from sitting too long on it.

If your wood has already started rotting, you can still bring it back to life using a wood hardener before sealing, oiling, or staining. However, this only works if you notice early. The best practice to prevent your wooden furniture from rotting is by keeping it away from the rain as much as possible, even after being treated.

How Can You Prevent Outdoor Furniture from UV Sun Damage?

The sun can be your furniture’s worst enemy when it comes to UV damage. Determined to leave its mark on any object in its path, UV rays weaken and crack the finish on our favorite pieces outside. So protection from the sun is a must.

Furthermore, UV rays gradually transform the color of your wooden furniture over time, making it look either faded, yellowish, or greyish. In order to prevent these problems and make sure your wooden furniture looks just like new every year, you need to keep them protected with a good protective wax coating designed especially for this purpose.

You can as well take them indoors when not in use or make a shade to protect the furniture and make the space comfortable to use.

How to Restore Weathered Wood Furniture

Wood furniture can become weathered over time, and there are a few steps you can take to restore it to its former glory.

First, buff the surface of your wood furniture with an abrasive pad. If there are any deep scratches, you may need to use a power sander.

Next, apply a light coat of varnish or lacquer with a brush and let it dry for at least one hour. Next, apply a second coat, and then let it dry overnight. You may also want to apply a third coat if you see any imperfections in the finish.

Finally, sand the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper until smooth. Make sure not to press too hard, or else you might damage the finish.