Instead of replacing your old weathered wooden outdoor furniture, why not simply sand surfaces smooth, prime and paint to create a brand-new looking piece of garden furniture. A few simple maintenance steps can protect your wooden garden furniture and keep it looking great for many years to come.

Clean regularly with gentle products, lightly sand the surface to prevent mold and cover or store pieces during the winter months. If cared for properly, you should only really need to repaint your garden furniture when you fancy a change of colour.

So if you have some old wooden garden chairs with peeling paint and chipped or splintered wood, it’s honestly not that hard to make them look fantastic. Furniture refinishing of this sort is much closer to carpentry and house painting than it is to the skilled world of say restoring an antique table. And that’s a good thing, because with very little effort you can cover up any minor imperfections and have a good-looking finished result.

Patching up any damaged wood

  1. Scrub the splintered, chipped or dented timber with a stiff wire brush to remove any loose paint or wood chips.
  2. Apply a waterproof glue to any splintered pieces and clamp them until the glue dries.
  3. With a putty knife, spread a paste wood filler over the damaged area, making sure you cover it completely.
  4. Smooth down the wood filler until it is flush with the wood surface and leave it to dry overnight.
  5. Sand the patch gently with 220-grit sandpaper, feathering out the edges to make the patch is less visible.
  6. Wipe off the sanding residue with a damp cloth and let it dry before applying primer (see next section).

Painting wooden garden furniture

  1. Scrape off all large pieces of existing paint.
  2. Smooth all surfaces with sandpaper using 100-, 120- or 180-grit, depending on the level of sanding needed. Grit coarseness decreases as the number increases; i.e. 100-grit sandpaper is much coarser than 180-grit.
  3. Wipe any dust from furniture with a damp cloth.
  4. Apply one coat of exterior primer to the furniture using a brush. Use strokes in the same direction as the wood grain. Allow to dry completely.
  5. Apply one coat of exterior paint with a brush and allow furniture to dry completely. Apply additional coats, if desired, and allow furniture to dry completely before using the furniture.

Lazy Susan’s tips & tricks

  1. Caulk the cracks in the wood, caulk the joints, and add a dab of caulk over screw holes and nail holes. Always use a caulk that is mold and mildew resistant, flexible, watertight, low odour and cleans up with water.
  2. If you want a really slick finish, go to the extra effort of feathering the hard, raggedy edges or patches where the old paint is still soundly adhered to the wood. If you omit this step you’ll get a cratered effect when the fresh paint goes on over the old stuff. To feather, use 100-grit sandpaper to take down the edges of the old coat(s) of paint back to wood. This works best with an electric sander, but if you’re doing it by hand prepare for aching arms and hands.
  3. Always make sure the wood is completley moisture-free before you start. If it’s been outside, then make sure you give it 48 hours indoors with a fan blowing across it to ensure that it’s totally dry and then proceed.
  4. Apply at least one topcoat of your favourite exterior paint. Traditionally, oil-based alkyd paints were the preferred choice for exterior use, but this is no longer the case with new developments in latex- and acrylic-based paints, which flex with the freeze and thaw cycles, plus they don’t split and crack like the old oil-based paints.
  5. Prime the piece with a good exterior primer, either water-based or alcohol-based. If you’re working on pine or fir, an alcohol-based BIN stain-blocking primer will prevent you from getting a yellowish-brown pitch and sap stains from bleeding through the paint later.
  6. Don’t paint in direct sunlight, which can cause the paint surface to skim over and blister.
  7. And finally, always wear a respirator mask if you’re scraping or sanding paint that was applied before the late Sixties; it may contain lead!

The following video by eHow contributor Bill Elzey, looks at how wooden outdoor furniture can be revived by simply wiping it clean, sanding it smooth with various grades of sand paper and adding a coat of sealant, followed by a coat of varnish as we’ve discussed in this post…

How to Repaint Wooden Garden Furniture was last modified: October 26th, 2015 by Lazy Susan

Wooden garden furniture PROWOODmade of solid wood THERMOWOOD

Wooden garden furniture PROWOOD made of solid wood ThermoWood®.

A collection of PROWOOD wooden garden furniture – high quality at a reasonable price.

garden furniture PROWOOD is destined for outdoor use, in interiors and in humid environments such as swimming-pools,
saunas, wellness etc.

solid ThermoWood® material is absolutely unique – a combination of solid Finnish pine with a unique technology of heat
treatment at temperatures of 160 – 215˚C

due to thermal and moisture treatment ThermoWood® material reaches new physical and mechanical properties – longer
durability (the minimum lifetime of the material is 30 years), resistance to rot, higher strength, dimensional stability and reduced
moisture absorption

production procedure of solid ThermoWood® – completely ecological and during the production only heat and steam are
used

check of ThermoWood® feedstock – manual selection of only the finest quality material for the production of garden furniture

series production on five-axis CNC machines – it means precision and quality working of product

guaranteed quality of wooden garden furniture – continuous quality control during working and packaging of all PROWOOD
products

variability of products – wide range of products and the possibility to combine different garden sets according to your financial
or spatial requirements

garden furniture is supplied in boxes disassembled and untreated – the wooden furniture is packed in high-quality,
fasteners and assembly instructions are enclosed

large warehouse stock and our own transport – ensure fast and reliable delivery

absolutely ecological PROWOOD products – do not leave any negative impacts on the environment

Wooden garden furniture PROWOOD made of solid wood ThermoWood®.

The feedstock for production of wooden garden furniture is the Finnish pine which is processed to the heat-treated wood – ThermoWood® – using thermal and moisture treatment. The material modification process takes places in six chambers at temperatures of 160 – 215°C. This treated wood has new physical and mechanical properties. They mainly include longer durability (the minimum lifetime of the material is 30 years), resistance to rot, higher strength and dimensional stability.

Due to these characteristics we can manufacture highly durable furniture.

The advantage of our furniture is its high variability. Depending on your financial or spatial requirements you can choose how your garden set will look like. Our products are manufactured and packaged in order to provide simple transport and easy assembly in accordance with the enclosed assembly instructions.

To minimize the damage caused by UV radiation and climatic influences, all surfaces of furniture must be treated with a protective coating and a special care should be taken of the end surfaces (end faces). For treatment of the furniture we recommend using of paints offered by our company.

In case you choose the paint yourself we recommend water-soluble pigmented oils with UV protection based on alkyd or acrylic resins. Using of natural-based oils is not recommended.

If the furniture is not surface treated with recommended coating there is not possible to guarantee all declared properties of material and appearance of larger than capillary cracks.

Our products are absolutely ecological and they do not have any negative impacts on the environment.

Use of “PROWOOD garden furniture”:
For humid environments such as swimming pools, saunas, wellness facilities, for outdoor use like gardens, terraces, furniture for garden houses and pergolas, for outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis or balcony furniture.

Dimensions of used material ThermoWood®:
Structural and supporting elements – baulks 42×42 mm, 42×68 mm, 42×92 mm and 42×117 mm.
Circumferential and strutting elements (supporting for benches) – boards 26 x 117 mm and 26 x 92 mm.
Table tops, supporting and sitting surfaces – boards 26 x 92 mm.

Packing:
The product is supplied in boxes disassembled and untreated. The package includes an assembly instruction and fasteners.

Hardwood vs. Softwood — What’s the difference and which is best for the garden?

House & Home IdeasFollow Nov 14, 2016 · 6 min read

Editor’s note — This article was originally published on the official Garden Furniture Land blog — you can view the original version here.

Should I buy hardwood or softwood furniture for my garden? Which is best and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? We hear questions like this a lot at Garden Furniture Land, so we decided to gather as much information as we possibly could and put it all in one place.

What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Despite their names, hardwood isn’t necessarily harder than softwood, and softwood isn’t always softer than hardwood. The difference actually comes down to the type of trees they come from. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in the winter) and have seeds with a fleshy or nutty covering. Examples of hardwood include oak, elm and teak. Softwood on the other hand comes from evergreen trees such as pine and spruce. Their seeds are bare and exposed (think conifers).

Hardwood — in particular teak — is popular for use in garden furniture due to its durability and weather resistance. It is also often used for indoor furniture, flooring, tools, musical instruments, barrels and shipbuilding amongst other things. Hardwood tends to be heavier and more expensive than softwood.

Softwood is also used to make garden furniture, but has to be treated in order to protect it from the elements. In general it is more commonly used than hardwood due to its lower cost and ease to work with. Softwood is widely used in construction.

Which one costs the most?

Hardwood comes from slow-growing trees found in tropical regions of the world making it more expensive than softwood, which grows faster and is plentiful in northern Europe. Hardwood is denser and therefore heavier than softwood and requires longer drying times due to the amount of natural oil it contains — both of these factors drive up the cost.

Because of its relatively high cost, hardwood tends to be used for ‘fine’ applications — high quality furniture and so on — or in circumstances where softwood just isn’t up to the task. But that certainly doesn’t mean that softwood is cheap and nasty. The two are simply different and suited to different purposes.

Aesthetics

New softwood tends to look very pale yellow or light brown, whereas hardwood tends to be darker brown or reddish-brown in colour. Note that softwood has to be treated before you can use it outdoors (we wrote an article explaining the treatment process here), which gives it a light yellow or sometimes greenish tint.

Both types of wood will eventually weather and become a silvery colour when left outdoors. Both can be stained, painted or otherwise coated if you prefer a different colour.

When used to make garden furniture, treated softwood is usually cut thicker and has a pleasing chunky, solid appearance. Teak and other hardwoods tend to be cut thinner. Both have a different style, and which is best is simply a matter of taste.

Practicality and comfort

The big drawback when it comes to hardwood garden furniture is weight. It’s costlier to transport, can be trickier to assemble and more difficult to move around the garden. On the plus side, it has more natural weather resistance and can potentially last for decades if you look after it well.

Softwood is easier to cut and work with, allowing manufacturers to easily create comfortable curves and soft edges. The lighter weight can also make assembly more straightforward and moving it around the garden less of a hassle.

Weather resistance and lifespan

As we mentioned earlier, softwood must be treated to make it suitable for outdoor use. Although it can’t quite compete with hardwood when it comes to lifespan, you can still expect treated softwood to last for at least fifteen years. Most of the pressure treated items we sell come with a manufacturer’s 10 year guarantee against rot. There are various oils, stains and paints that can extend the lifespan of your wooden garden furniture even further (more about that further down).

It’s also important to note that wood (both hard and soft) is a natural material and it’s normal for it to bend, warp and sometimes even crack. This happens due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and shouldn’t be a major cause for concern.

Which is best for the environment?

Softwood is the clear winner here. Hardwood takes longer to grow, takes longer to dry, has farther to travel to get to the UK and uses more energy to transport due to its extra weight. It also tends to be cut into thinner sections, requiring more cuts to be made and using more energy to do so.

Some would argue that hardwood lasts slightly longer and needs replacing less often, off-setting the initial environmental impact. But whichever you decide to go for, make sure that the timber has been farmed responsibly and hasn’t been cut down illegally. Look out for the FSC mark to guarantee that your furniture was sourced responsibly.

When you see this symbol on gardenfurnitureland.com, it indicates that the product contains a minimum of 70% FSC certified timber.

Treatment and maintenance

Hardwood requires very little maintenance due to the natural oils it contains. It will need a wash once a year with a brush and soapy water to remove algae and lichens. If your furniture is good quality and you are happy for it to weather and turn silver, then it doesn’t need much maintenance at all. If you want to preserve the colour then you can apply a teak protector, but this can remove the natural layer of patina that protects the wood.

Good quality softwood furniture will be made with 100% pressure treated timber. Treated timber is durable enough to last for several years without any maintenance, but there a few extra steps you can take to extend its lifespan. Wood stains and paints that contain wood preservatives are available in most DIY stores and should be applied in dry weather. Occasionally washing your furniture and covering it during the winter will also help.

You will see these symbols around our website, indicating that a product is made from quality pressure treated timber and carries a manufacturer’s 10 year guarantee against rot.

In summary

The table below provides a quick run-down of the pros and cons of both types of wood:

The winner…

Both types of outdoor furniture have their advantages and disadvantages, and many of the differences between the two simply come down to taste and personal preference.

Although hardwood has its natural weather resistance, softwood beats it in terms of weight, affordability and sustainability, not to mention comfort. By using pressure treated softwood we believe you can have the best of both worlds — it will still last for several years and comes with all of the other advantages mentioned above. If you really like the look of teak, you can even stain your softwood furniture to replicate the hardwood look.

So there you have it! We believe that pressure treated softwood is the best kind of wood to use for garden furniture. That’s why we use it in all of our products, and we take care to use trustworthy suppliers that value sustainability as well as quality.

Types of Wood for Woodworking

By Jeff Strong

Solid wood — that is, wood cut into boards from the trunk of the tree — makes up most of the wood in a piece of furniture. The type of wood you choose determines the beauty and strength of the finished piece. Many varieties of wood are available, and each has its own properties. The following sections introduce you to the most common types of soft- and hardwoods.

Sampling some softwoods

Softwoods aren’t weaker than hardwoods. Softwoods come from coniferous trees such as cedar, fir, and pine and tend to be somewhat yellow or reddish. Because most coniferous trees grow fast and straight, softwoods are generally less expensive than hardwoods.

It’s also relatively easy to find sustainably grown softwoods (woods grown on tree farms to ensure an endless supply of wood); this means you’re not contributing to the deforestation of the world and will always have a supply of wood for your projects.

Following is a list of common softwood varieties and their characteristics.

Cedar

The most common type of cedar is the western red variety. Western red cedar, as its name implies, has a reddish color to it. This type of wood is relatively soft (1 on a scale of 1 to 4), has a straight grain, and has a slightly aromatic smell. Western Red cedar is mostly used for outdoor projects such as furniture, decks, and building exteriors because it can handle moist environments without rotting. Western red cedar is moderately priced and can be found at most home centers.

Cedar is one of the most aromatic woods (hence, the cedar chest) and is strong enough to endure the elements, so it’s great for decks and patio furniture.

Fir

Often referred to as Douglas Fir, this wood has a straight, pronounced grain, and has a reddish brown tint to it. Fir is most often used for building; however, it’s inexpensive and can be used for some furniture-making as well. It doesn’t have the most interesting grain pattern and doesn’t take stain very well, so it’s best to use it only when you intend to paint the finished product. Douglas fir is moderately strong and hard for a softwood, rating 4 on a scale of 1 to 4.

This wood is worth mentioning because it is very common at your local home center and it’s so inexpensive you’ll probably be tempted to make something with it.

Pine

Pine comes in several varieties, including Ponderosa, Sugar, White, and Yellow, and all of them make great furniture. In some areas of the country (especially southwest United States), pine is the wood to use. Pine is very easy to work with and, because most varieties are relatively soft, it lends itself to carving.

Pine is commonly used in furniture because it’s easy to shape and stain.

Pine generally takes stain very well (as long as you seal the wood first), although Ponderosa pine tends to ooze sap, so be careful when using this stuff. Pine is available from most home centers, but it’s often of a lesser grade than what you can find at a decent lumberyard.

Redwood

Like cedar, redwood is used mostly for outdoor projects because of its resistance to moisture. Redwood (California redwood) is fairly soft and has a straight grain. As its name suggests, it has a reddish tint to it. Redwood is easy to work with, is relatively soft (2 on a scale of 1 to 4), and is moderately priced. You can find redwood at your local home center.

Homing in on hardwoods

Most woodworkers love to work with hardwoods. The variety of colors, textures, and grain patterns makes for some beautiful and interesting-looking furniture. The downside to hardwoods is their price. Some of the more exotic species can be too expensive to use for anything more than an accent.

Some hardwoods are becoming very hard to find and are being harvested without concern to their eventual extinction (Brazilian rosewood comes to mind). Not only is this hard on the environment, it drives the price of the wood so high that making furniture out of it is out of the question for most woodworkers. If you can, try to buy wood from a sustainable forest (commercial tree farms that ensure the supply of the wood). Check out the National Hardwood Lumber Association for ways to support sustainable forestry.

Following is a list of common hardwoods and their characteristics.

Ash

Ash is a white to pale brown wood with a straight grain. It’s pretty easy to work with (hardness of 4 on a scale of 1 to 5) and takes stain quite nicely, but ash is getting harder and harder to find. You won’t find ash at your local home center — it’s only available from larger lumberyards. Ash is a good substitute for white oak.

Birch

Birch comes in two varieties: yellow and white. Yellow birch is a pale yellow-to-white wood with reddish-brown heartwood, whereas white birch has a whiter color that resembles maple. Both types of birch have a hardness of 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. Birch is readily available and less expensive than many other hardwoods. You can find birch at many home centers, although the selection is better at a lumberyard.

Birch is inexpensive, but it’s so lovely that it’s often used for making fine furniture.

Birch is stable and easy to work with. However, it’s hard to stain because it can get blotchy, so you might prefer to paint anything that you make with birch.

Cherry

Cherry is a very popular and all-around great wood; easy to work with, stains and finishes well with just oil, and ages beautifully. Cherry’s heartwood has a reddish-brown color to it and the sapwood is almost white. Cherry has a hardness of 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. This is a very common wood for furniture-making and is available from sustainably grown forests. You won’t find cherry at your local home center, so a trip to the lumberyard is necessary if you want to use it. Because it’s in demand, cherry is getting somewhat expensive compared to other domestic hardwoods, such as oak and maple.

Mahogany

One of the great furniture woods, mahogany (also called Honduran mahogany) has a reddish-brown to deep-red tint, a straight grain, medium texture, and a hardness of around 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. It takes stain very well and looks great with just a coat (or 10) of oil.

The only drawback is that mahogany isn’t being grown in sustainable forests. Forget going to your home center to get some — the only place to find mahogany is a decent lumberyard (and it’ll cost you).

Maple

Maple comes in two varieties: hard and soft. Both varieties are harder than many other woods; hard maple is so hard (a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) that it’s difficult to work with. Soft maple, on the other hand, is relatively easy to work with. Because of their fine, straight grain, both varieties are more stable than many other woods. They also tend to be less expensive than other hardwoods. You won’t find maple at your local home center, but most lumberyards have a good selection of it.

Oak

Oak is one of the most used woods for furniture. Available in two varieties — red and white — oak is strong (hardness of about 4 on a scale of 1 to 5) and easy to work with. White oak is preferred for furniture-making because it has a more attractive figure than red oak. White oak is also resistant to moisture and can be used on outdoor furniture.

Oak is commonly used for flooring and furniture because many people love its grain.

This is one wood that can be found quarter-sawn (the most stable cutting option available). In fact, quarter-sawn white oak is less expensive than some other hardwoods, like cherry. The grain has a beautiful “ray flake” pattern to it. Red oak can be found at most home centers, but if you want white oak, make a trip to the lumberyard.

Poplar

Poplar is one of the less expensive hardwoods. It’s also fairly soft (1 in hardness on a scale of 1 to 5), which makes it easy to work with. Poplar is white with some green or brown streaks in the heartwood. Because poplar is not the most beautiful wood, it’s rarely used in fine furniture, and if it is, it’s almost always painted. Poplar can be a good choice for drawers (where it won’t be seen) because it is stable and inexpensive. You can find poplar at larger home centers, but a lumberyard will have a better selection.

Poplar is good for making toys, bowls, and small woodworking crafts. It takes paint better than stain.

Teak

Teak is becoming rarer as the days go on, but it is the staple for fine outdoor furniture. Teak is highly weather-resistant and beautiful (not to mention expensive — can you believe almost $24 a board foot?). Teak has an oily feel and a golden-brown color. It rates a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 for hardness and is only available from larger lumberyards and specialty suppliers.

Walnut

With a hardness of about 4 on a 1 to 5 scale, walnut is a rich brown wood that’s easy to work with. Unfortunately, walnut is somewhat expensive (usually around $8 a board foot), and finding large boards for big projects is getting difficult. In spite of this, walnut is still a great wood to work with and lends itself nicely for use as accents and inlays to dress up a project. You won’t find walnut at your local home center; you may need to special order it from a lumberyard if you want a large quantity.

Outdoor wood furniture needs to be cleaned and stained from time to time to protect it from the elements. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Clean the wood with a quality deck cleaner and brightener, such as Flood Cleaner/Brightener, following the instructions on the container. Wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, and protective clothing with working with strong cleaners.
  2. Rinse the cleaner off the furniture with a garden hose, and allow it to dry thoroughly (24-48 hours or more).
  3. For a two-tone stain, apply masking tape to keep the two colors separate.
  4. Use a quality, exterior stain, and stir it thoroughly before application.
  5. Stain the main part of the furniture using a 3” paintbrush.
  6. Remove the masking tape and stain the remaining parts of the furniture with the accent stain color.
  7. Allow the furniture to dry for 24 hours or more before using.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

  • How to Finish Wood Furniture for Use Outdoors (article)
  • Tips for Cleaning and Refinishing Outdoor Wood Furniture (video)
  • Choosing Durable Wood for Outdoor Furniture (article)
  • How to Refinish Furniture (video)

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
If you have wood outdoor furniture, you need to protect it from the elements. And whether it’s brand new or already weathered, here are the steps to help guarantee years of useful service.

For wood that has been outside long enough to turn gray, dingy, and covered with mildew, you need to thoroughly clean the wood and open its pores. A good-quality wood cleaner is perfect to prep old, weathered wood.

Because it’s a concentrate, we’re going to dilute it a little bit with water. This is still strong cleaner, so proper protection is a must. With safety glasses and rubber gloves in place, we’re using a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the surface with the cleaner and allow it to work for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off. For really dirty surfaces, a second washing may be necessary.

Once the bench has been rinsed clean, allow a full 24-48 hours for the wood to completely dry. After the bench is dry, find a shaded area and place a drop cloth down to protect the ground’s surface.

For our bench and chair, we’re applying stain on the lower sections in one color, and to help prevent any bleed-over, we’re using a painter’s tape to mask off between the two colors. Choose any color that matches your exterior décor, but for a little added interest, you may want to consider a two-tone palette. In this instance, the top of the bench and the arms of the Adirondack chair will be a darker color, so we’re using the tape to draw the dividing line.

Once the tape is in place, thoroughly stir the stain, and apply it on the wood surface with a three-inch brush. If you have several pieces of furniture to stain, occasionally stir the stain to keep the pigments from settling on the bottom of the can.

As you are applying the stain, make sure you smooth out any runs and completely cover all surfaces, especially between any of the wood slats. Using a darker colored stain on the top of the bench and the arms of the chair adds a distinctive accent to any piece of outdoor furniture.

Allow the stain to dry a minimum of 24 hours before using the furniture.

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