How to Restore Wooden Garden Furniture

Written by linda stamberger | 13/05/2017
How to Restore Wooden Garden Furniture
Wooden garden furniture (furniture outside image by Luisafer from

Weather can badly damage wooden garden furniture, especially if the furniture is left outside uncovered year-round. The furniture can become splintered, paint can peel and become an eyesore. Damage to wooden garden furniture not only ruins its aesthetic appeal but limits its use in general. It can be restored to usefulness by repairing the surfaces and joints and sealing out water.

Place several tarps under a shaded, cleared area outdoors. Space the wooden garden furniture so that when you're working on one piece, another piece of furniture does not get in the way.

Put on a chemical fume safety mask and disposable latex or latex-free gloves.

Use a chemical stripping agent to get rid of curled paint strips or old varnish. Brush chemical stripping agent over the wood furniture evenly, making sure to cover the entire surface wherever there is noticeable damage or paint. Wait 10 minutes for the chemical stripping agent to oxidise, and before it dries, begin to scrape away the top layers of varnish and paint with a scraping tool, such as a large putty knife.

Use an electric sander if near an electric outlet; use an extension cord if need be. Use the sander on the wooden garden furniture pieces' flat surfaces, such as chair seats, benches or tables. Sanding will remove splinters and bring out the grain. Take 150- to 320-grit sandpaper to sand delicate sections, such as leg joints or decorative sections. Sand by hand any sections where the electric sander doesn't fit. Remove all wood dust with a clean paintbrush.

Using wood glue, re-glue any raised pieces of wood. Re-glue all loose joints, first sanding with the 320-grit sandpaper inside the joint to remove the old glue residue. Apply epoxy glue made for outdoor wood furniture to the joint inside, and reattach the leg into the joint of furniture. Apply a clamp to hold joint tightly in place. Let epoxy glue dry. Remove clamp when dry.

Examine the surface and underneath sections of the furniture for hairline cracks, gouges or splits. Fill in these sections with wood filler. Let dry. Take 150-grit sandpaper and gently re-sand the surface to even out the grain. Remove wood dust with a clean paint brush.

Stain outdoor garden furniture after all repairs have been made. Choose a water-based stain; they dry faster. Then apply at least one coat of a reputable water sealer.

Things you need

  • Tarps
  • Chemical fume safety mask
  • Disposable latex or latex-free gloves
  • Chemical stripping agent
  • Paint brush
  • Scraping tool
  • Large putty knife
  • Electric sander
  • Extension cord
  • 150- to 320-grit sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Epoxy glue
  • Clamp
  • Wood filler
  • Water-based wood stain
  • Wood sealer

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