Before you get the grill fired up, there is one major item you’ll want to check: the condition of your outdoor furniture. Even if you stored it in an enclosed space over the long winter, chances are the weather still affected it. The inconsistent warm and cold cycles throughout the season causes both wood and plastic to contract and expand over and over again. The result: weathered, worn down outdoor furniture that is neither welcoming nor wanted.
If you’re ready to throw out your furniture and go out to buy a whole new set, don’t do it yet – there is still hope. Even the oldest, most hardened outdoor furnishings can be renewed in a set of easy steps that will make it look like spring has come both inside and out!
● With all your wood furniture, start out by removing off all the old paint and finish. Remove old paint by scrubbing your furnishings with a brass wire brush. Afterwards, gently sand down your outdoor furniture with no less than 120-grit sandpaper. Always sand along the grain of the wood: move your sandpaper with the pattern of the wood (usually up and down along the wood).
● Once your outdoor furniture is sanded down, sand down once again with 180-grit sandpaper. Again, always go with the grain of the wood – sand along the pattern of the wood, and never against. Sand until the wood has a natural color to it, and is smooth to the touch. If you can run your hand against it and not have your hand get caught, the wood is ready to be re-treated.
● At this point, you have to make a decision for what you want for your outdoor furniture. Wood can either be painted or stained, with equally protective results. Painting wood will give it a finished look, while staining wood will give it a natural finish. When done correctly, both methods will keep your furnishings looking clean for years.
● If you decide to stain: decide on a color depending on your tastes and the theme you are looking for. Maple stains will have a dark, dignified finish, while a Pine stain will give you a light wood effect that is acceptable for most gardens. Cherry wood stains will give you a off-red color that is between both Maple and Pine.
● Always wear protective gloves when you stain, as many of the stains can be toxic. Also, try to stain in a well-ventilated area, to avoid fumes. Apply with a rag or light brush to apply. Wait 15 minutes before wiping off excess staining off the wood. If the color isn’t dark or rich enough for you, allow the stain to dry before you re-apply. Repeat until you reach the color that you desire.
● If you decide to paint, select an outdoor paint that will protect and seal the wood – your regular latex paint won’t work here. Apply a liberal amount of paint evenly over your outdoor furniture, and allow it to dry. Once you’ve painted a base coat, you can add different flares to make it your own. Try personalizing it by painting your name, or favorite team colors. The opportunities are endless!
The designs and possibilities for outdoor furniture can be as wild as your imagination allows. And with the springtime coming, there’s no better time to get it out and rework it for the new season. A little work now will make sure you have beautiful furnishings that will last for years to come.
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Article Added on Friday, March 20, 2009
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