The best ways to stain & seal outdoor furniture

Updated July 19, 2017

Restore outdoor wooden furniture to its original condition to keep it lasting for years. Weather, combined with the perils of wear and tear, leaves outdoor furniture looking tired and shabby. An annual program of general maintenance preserves the integrity of garden tables and chairs for many years. Use a high quality gel stain for excellent protection that cannot be compromised by rain, snow or day-to-day use.

Washing Down

Cleanliness is vital to all wooden furniture staining projects. Place the garden furniture on a solid concrete base such as a patio. Use a pump sprayer with clean water to wash furniture thoroughly and remove dust, cobwebs and dirt. Ensure the ground underneath the furniture remains wet. This will help to disperse any stain spills later in the task.

Soaking the Wood

Remove all traces of ingrained dirt. Mix five litres of clean water with deck cleaning solution, using mixing ratios recommended by the manufacturer. Add the solution to the pump sprayer and apply to the furniture. Allow the solution to penetrate the wood for a few minutes so it removes any ingrained dirt and restores the original colour. Use a stiff scrubbing brush to lift any stubborn marks and rinse down the furniture with clean water. Leave the furniture to dry completely.

Finishing the Preparation

Carry out a visual inspection of the furniture and complete any repairs before staining. Rub down any grained areas that have lifted as a result of deck cleaning solution application with P100-grit sandpaper. Remember to rub down hard-to-reach areas such as slat tops and legs wherever necessary. Use a can of compressed air to remove all traces of sawdust.

Applying the Stain

Stir or shake the tin of gel stain and add the required quantity to a clean, empty metal tin. Use a paintbrush to apply the stain to tight spots and hard-to-reach areas first so that only flat, reachable surfaces remain. Take an applicator pad and dip it into the gel stain. Run the applicator pad over all flat surfaces to ensure an even distribution of product. Remember to work in the direction of the wood grain at all times. Check for runs and drips before leaving the furniture to dry in a cool area for two hours.

A Second Coat

Wet the concrete floor underneath the furniture again. Add a second coat of gel stain, remembering to complete hard-to-reach areas such as slats and legs before moving on to flat surfaces. Check for runs and drips once the furniture has been completely stained. Leave the furniture dry overnight before returning to service.

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About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Paul Miceli has been a professional writer since 2006. He has been published online by Ideate Media and Promiga and has a proven track record of producing informational articles and sales copy. Miceli is educated to U.K. "A-level" standard, continues to work as a paint sprayer and has more than 25 years of automotive body repair experience.