Is your wooden garden furniture no longer looking its best? If so, then it may be time to restore your favourite outdoor set. Fortunately, this is much easier than many would assume.

This guide will walk you through how to restore your wood-based outdoor furniture to its original beauty.

A wooden picnic table on a lush lawn with various shrubs in the backgroundBeautiful

We recommend that you choose a dry, sunny day for the task. Not only does this make the whole job more enjoyable, but if you choose to paint or oil your furniture, then this will be a requirement. And consider how you’ll shade during the work. The last thing you need is to get so sunburnt you can’t sit down.

We recommend wearing old clothes, as parts of the process can get very messy! 

Three simple steps to wooden furniture restoration

1. Remove Dirt and lichen from your furniture

An abandoned chair in a forest. Covered with mossIt’ll be spick and span in no time. And made of wood

Dried-on dirt or lichen can be detrimental to your furniture, as it can lead to rot and decay in your furniture’s natural wood. Not only is this an eyesore in your garden, it can also be dangerous as it may give way when you add weight to the furniture. Catch these early to prevent this.

To remove these, use a stiff-bristled brush – and we also suggest protective gloves as there can be sharp parts to the removed parts. Depending on the amount required to be removed, a mask would be suggested as you don’t want to be inhaling any of the debris you’re removing. 

A cloud of dust meant to humourously imitate debris leaving garden furnitureArtists’s impression

Start by scrubbing the full set down, if some parts are on there a little tougher than you can get out your sanding pad. The brush is to remove the dirt, moss and lichen. Then sand to remove the previous coat(s) and then smoothen the wood ready for painting. 

Optionally, you can also bring out the orbital sander to ensure a large area is as smooth as it can be! Last thing you want would be to work and have a bit poking you while enjoying the set. 

2. Clean your garden furniture

Once you’ve removed all the dirt and smoothened out the finish, it’s time to give it a quick clean. Using a damp cloth, give the full set a wipe down. While drying, lay down some protective sheets to protect your patio or grass. 

Using your favourite wooden furniture restorer, something like this ronseal job, ‘apply’ the restorer using a clean paint brush. Of course, we always recommend reading the specific instructions for your chosen restorer. Once fully applied, it will need time to ‘work’. This can be quite long, so grab yourself a cold drink and relax while you wait. 

Once fully dried, brush it down to remove any imperfections and rinse using your hose. If your hose doesn’t reach or you don’t have one, a watering can would suffice. Once dried, it’s time to apply the oil. 

3. Treat your furniture

We recommend natural furniture oil such as this one from Ronseal. This protects your furniture and nourishes the wood to ensure a long life span. Again, always follow the specific instructions for application from the manufacturer. 

Apply in the same direction as the wood grain, and let it dry between coats to apply as many coats as recommended. Once all coats have been applied, let it dry fully before use. At this stage you can choose to paint.

Up to you

Different types of wood take paint differently, so ensure you know exactly how your wood should be painted. Then once your furniture set is fully dried, you’re free to enjoy your furniture in the sun. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as dry and sunny, so you can best enjoy your restored set!

To learn more about painting garden furniture, check out our guide on how to paint garden furniture.

Don’t have wooden garden furniture yet? Grab some at Primrose!

Mossy chair Photo by Willdwind / William Martret on Unsplash
Dust Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Unsplash