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How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture

Posted on 07/01/2022

Image Source: Kusska/

The bulk of the wear and tear we see on our outdoor wood furniture is a product of just being exposed to the sun and weather. Even the wooden furniture on a shaded, covered porch can quickly show signs of wear due to exposure to damp and temperature extremes. With a bit of planning and some care and maintenance, your outdoor wooden furniture can live a long, healthy and productive life. 

If you’ve bought, built or inherited a lovely piece of outdoor furniture just to watch it splinter, crack and weaken, then you know the heartbreak of failing to fully protect your outdoor wooden furniture. Taking steps to protect wooden furniture from sun, rain, wind and dampness is job number one. 

When approaching the project of protecting your outdoor wood furniture, you want to make sure that you are starting with strong and healthy furniture. Inspect each piece closely and replace any rotten or heavily damaged pieces. Often the furniture legs will be the first area to show rot or wear due to being exposed to the damp ground. 

Shop Our Selection of Furniture Legs for a Perfect Match

There are a few basic techniques to keep outdoor wooden furniture in top shape. Read on to find out more.

Protect with Paint

After making sure your furniture is in top shape, you may choose to apply a coat of paint to help protect your wood furniture. In the past, the standard for exterior use was an oil-based paint, but modern latex paint is much more durable than it used to be and is easier to work with. 

Painting your furniture allows you to choose colors to complement your outdoor decor as well as cover up any discolored wood. Paint provides good UV protection for the wood as well as protecting it from moisture infiltration. It will need regular maintenance so check your furniture once or twice a season and touch up or repaint as needed. 

Use Sealant to Protect Wood Furniture

If you want to keep that natural wood look, you may want to consider using a clear sealant on your furniture. After updating any antique hardware that is damaged and making sure that your wood furniture is in top shape and sanded nicely, the application of a sealant product will protect the wood from moisture and some have added UV protection as well. 

brush hand painting on a wooden table

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Products such as polyurethane, varnish and lacquer are most commonly used for the protection of outdoor wood furniture. Make sure to apply the finish over every surface — even underneath and in every crevice. If moisture works its way in, it will not be able to escape and your wood will become damaged. 

Check Out Our Selection of Furniture Hardware for Your Outdoor Furniture

Protect Outdoor Furniture From the Elements

Painting and sealing furniture are the first steps in protecting outdoor wood furniture from environmental damage, but there is even more you can do. Moving furniture into a protected area during the off-season or when not in use can greatly extend the life of your furniture. 

rocking chairs on the front porch

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While the furniture is still in use, consider rotating locations so that your outdoor furniture gets to spend some of the season in a shaded or protected area. You can also cover the furniture when not in use, which also cuts down on cleaning and wiping down furniture before use. 

Appropriate Storage 

The end of the season is a great time to inspect your furniture for wear and even touch up any paint or sealant before moving it to its storage location. That way, when nice weather rolls around, it is all ready to be pulled out and set up. 

When you are done for the season, store your furniture in a garage, shed, basement (if it’s dry) or even just move it up onto a protected porch. 

With care and attention, your outdoor wooden furniture can last a lifetime and build happy memories of time spent relaxing outdoors with friends and family.