The finish you choose can make all the difference in outdoor wood furniture. The right finish not only enhances the beauty of your furniture but also extends its lifespan by offering protection against harsh outdoor elements. With many finishes available in the market, picking the best one for outdoor wood furniture can be quite a task. This article aims to guide you through the process, helping you understand the importance of choosing the right finish and introducing you to the available types.
Why Outdoor Wood Furniture Needs Special Finish
Outdoor furniture is constantly exposed to the elements – the scorching sun, the pouring rain, or the biting cold. This exposure can cause the wood to warp, crack, or even rot, significantly reducing the lifespan of your furniture. That’s where special finishes come into play.
Special finishes for outdoor wood furniture are designed to offer extra protection against these weather elements. They seal the wood, preventing moisture from seeping in and causing damage. They also provide a barrier against the sun’s harmful UV rays, preventing the wood from fading and losing its vibrant color.
But the role of special finishes isn’t limited to protection alone. They also play a crucial part in enhancing the appearance of your furniture. A well-applied finish can accentuate the wood’s natural grain, giving your furniture a rich and sophisticated look. It can also add a touch of color, allowing you to customize your furniture to match your outdoor decor.
Types of Outdoor Wood Furniture Finishes
When it comes to outdoor wood furniture finishes, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best finish for your furniture depends on various factors, including the type of wood, the weather conditions in your area, and your personal aesthetic preferences. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular types of finishes and their pros and cons.
Clear coats like lacquer and polyurethane are popular for outdoor wood furniture finishes. They provide a protective layer that shields the wood from moisture and UV rays. Clear coats also enhance the natural beauty of the wood by adding a glossy or satin sheen. However, they require regular maintenance and may need to be reapplied every few years.
Oil finishes, like teak oil and tung oil, penetrate the wood and provide a natural-looking finish. They are easy to apply and maintain, making them a favorite among DIY enthusiasts. However, oil finishes offer less protection against the elements than other finishes and may need to be reapplied more frequently.
Epoxy sealers are a robust option for outdoor wood furniture. They provide a strong, waterproof finish that can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, they can be challenging to apply and may yellow over time under direct sunlight.
Varnishes are a traditional choice for outdoor wood furniture. They offer excellent protection against moisture and UV rays and can give your furniture a beautiful, glossy finish. However, varnishes can be tricky to apply correctly and may require a professional touch.
What Finish Should You Use on Outdoor Wood Furniture?
Choosing the right finish for outdoor wood furniture can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:
Type of Wood
Different types of wood react differently to finishes. For instance, hardwoods like teak and mahogany can handle oil finishes well, while softwoods like pine may benefit more from a protective clear coat or varnish.
Consider the weather conditions in your area. If you live in a region with heavy rainfall, a waterproof finish like an epoxy sealer or varnish would be a good choice. On the other hand, if you live in a sunny area, a finish with good UV protection, like a clear coat, would be beneficial.
Lastly, consider your personal aesthetic preferences. If you love the natural look of wood, an oil finish might be your best bet. A clear coat or varnish would be more suitable if you prefer a glossy, polished look.
How to Apply Finish to Outdoor Wood Furniture
Applying a finish to your outdoor wood furniture is a straightforward process that can be accomplished with a few basic tools. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Preparation: Start by cleaning the furniture to remove any dust or dirt. If the furniture has an old finish, you may need to sand it down before applying the new finish.
- Choose Your Finish: Based on the factors discussed earlier, choose the finish that best suits your furniture and weather conditions.
- Application: Use a brush or cloth to apply the finish, following the grain of the wood. If you’re using a clear coat or varnish, apply it in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. If you’re using an oil finish, apply a generous amount and let it soak into the wood before wiping off the excess.
- Drying: Allow the finish to dry completely. This could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the type of finish and the weather conditions.
- Maintenance: Regularly check your furniture for signs of wear and tear. Reapply the finish as needed to protect your furniture and look its best.
What is the Best Thing to Seal Outdoor Furniture?
When sealing outdoor furniture, you want a product that offers excellent durability, UV protection, and is easy to apply. Here are a few top-rated sealants that fit the bill:
- Spar Urethane: This clear finish offers excellent protection against water and UV rays. It’s durable and easy to apply, making it a popular choice for outdoor furniture.
- Teak Oil: While not as durable as other options, teak oil penetrates deep into the wood, protecting within. It’s easy to apply and gives the wood a warm glow.
- Epoxy Sealer: This robust option provides a strong, waterproof finish. It’s a bit more challenging to apply, but it offers excellent protection against harsh weather conditions.
- Marine Varnish: Designed for boats, this varnish offers superior water and UV resistance. It’s a bit more expensive and requires careful application, but it’s one of the most durable options.
Maintaining the Finish on Outdoor Wood Furniture
Maintaining the finish on your outdoor wood furniture is crucial to ensure its longevity and keep it looking its best. Here are some tips on how to clean and preserve the finish:
- Regular Cleaning: Dust and dirt can accumulate on your furniture over time, dulling the finish. Regularly clean your furniture with a soft cloth to keep it looking fresh.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning, avoid using harsh chemicals that can strip the finish. Instead, use a mild soap and water solution.
- Cover or Store: If possible, cover your furniture or store it indoors during harsh weather conditions to protect the finish.
- Reapply as Needed: Over time, the finish on your furniture may start to wear off. Reapply the finish as needed to maintain its protective layer.
Best Clear Coat for Outdoor Wood Furniture
Clear coat finishes are popular for outdoor wood furniture due to their durability, UV protection, and ease of application. Here are some of the best clear coat finishes for outdoor wood furniture:
- General Finishes Exterior 450: This clear coat is designed for exterior wood surfaces and offers excellent UV protection. It’s water-based, making it easy to apply and clean up.
- Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane: This durable clear coat protects against water and UV rays. It’s oil-based, giving it a rich, glossy finish.
- Rust-Oleum Varathane Crystal Clear Spar Urethane: This clear coat is known for its durability and UV resistance. It’s also water-based, making it easy to apply and clean up.
- TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish: While technically a varnish, this product offers the clarity of a clear coat with the added durability of varnish. It’s excellent for harsh weather conditions and offers superior UV protection.
Can I Use a Deck Stain as a Finish for Outdoor Wood Tables?
Deck stain is primarily designed to penetrate and protect wood from the elements, making it a feasible option for finishing outdoor wood tables. However, there are a few factors to consider before going this route.
Deck stains are available in various colors, allowing you to customize the look of your outdoor wood table. They also offer decent protection against UV rays and moisture, essential for outdoor furniture.
However, deck stains may not provide the same level of protection as some other finishes. They tend to be less durable and may require more frequent reapplication. Additionally, because deck stains penetrate the wood, they may not provide the same level of gloss or shine as a clear coat or varnish.
While you can use a deck stain as a finish for outdoor wood tables, it may not be the best choice for everyone. A deck stain could be a good option if you prefer a more natural look and don’t mind regular maintenance. Otherwise, you might be better off with a more durable finish, like a clear coat or varnish.
Epoxy Sealer for Outdoor Furniture
Epoxy sealer is a robust option for outdoor furniture. It forms a strong, waterproof finish that can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it an excellent choice for outdoor use.
One of the main benefits of epoxy sealer is its durability. Once cured, it forms a hard, protective shell that can resist scratches, stains, and impact. This makes it a great choice for high-traffic outdoor furniture.
Another advantage of epoxy sealer is its versatility. It can be applied to various surfaces, including wood, metal, and concrete. This means you can use it to protect your outdoor wood furniture and other items in your outdoor space.
Applying epoxy sealer is a bit more complex than applying other finishes. It usually comes in two parts that need to be mixed before application. Depending on the product, The mixture is applied to the surface and cured for several hours or even days.
Best Finish for Outdoor Metal Furniture
Like wood, metal furniture also needs a protective finish to withstand the elements. Here are some of the best finishes for outdoor metal furniture:
Powder coating is a type of finish applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. It’s known for its durability and resistance to chipping, scratching, and fading. Powder coating also comes in various colors, allowing you to customize your furniture to match your outdoor decor.
Paint is another popular finish for metal furniture. It’s relatively easy to apply and comes in virtually any color. However, paint may not be as durable as other finishes and may require more frequent touch-ups.
A clear coat is a transparent finish that protects metal furniture, allowing its natural color to shine. It’s a good option to preserve the look of your metal furniture while adding a layer of protection.
Applying a finish to metal furniture typically involves cleaning the furniture, applying a primer (if necessary), and then applying the finish according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Marine Varnish for Outdoor Furniture
Marine varnish is a type of finish specifically designed to withstand harsh marine environments. It’s a great option for outdoor furniture, especially in areas with high humidity or heavy rainfall.
One of the main benefits of marine varnish is its excellent water resistance. It forms a hard, waterproof coating that protects the furniture from moisture and prevents it from warping or rotting.
Marine varnish also offers good UV protection, preventing the furniture from fading under the harsh sun. Plus, it enhances the natural beauty of the wood, giving it a rich, glossy finish.
Applying marine varnish involves cleaning the furniture, sanding it to create a smooth surface, and then applying it with a brush. Applying the varnish in thin, even coats and allowing each coat to dry before applying the next is important.
What is the Most Durable Finish for Outdoor Wood Furniture?
Regarding outdoor wood furniture, durability is a key factor to consider in a finish. The finish must withstand various weather conditions, from the scorching sun to heavy rainfall. Here are some of the most durable finishes for outdoor wood furniture:
Spar urethane is a type of varnish specifically designed for outdoor use. It’s highly durable and offers excellent protection against water and UV rays. It’s also flexible, allowing it to expand and contract with the wood as it reacts to changes in temperature and humidity.
Epoxy sealer is another highly durable option. It forms a hard, waterproof finish that can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, applying it can be challenging and may yellow over time under direct sunlight.
As mentioned earlier, marine varnish is designed to withstand harsh marine environments. It’s highly water-resistant and offers good UV protection, making it a durable choice for outdoor furniture.
Exterior Wood Finish Clear
A clear exterior wood finish is a great option if you want to preserve the natural beauty of your wood furniture while adding a layer of protection. It forms a transparent layer, enhancing the wood’s natural grain and color.
One of the main benefits of a clear exterior wood finish is its versatility. It can be used on various wood types and is suitable for indoor and outdoor furniture.
Applying a clear exterior wood finish is a straightforward process. Start by cleaning the furniture to remove any dust or dirt. Then, apply the finish using a brush or cloth, following the grain of the wood. Allow the finish to dry completely before using the furniture.
What is the Best Weather Resistant Wood Finish?
Regarding weather resistance, some finishes stand out more than others. Here are some of the best weather-resistant wood finishes:
Marine varnish is designed to withstand harsh marine environments, making it highly resistant to various weather conditions. It offers excellent water and UV resistance, protecting your furniture from the elements.
Spar urethane is another excellent weather-resistant finish. It’s designed for outdoor use and offers superior protection against water and UV rays. Its flexibility allows it to expand and contract with the wood, preventing cracking and peeling in fluctuating weather conditions.
Epoxy sealer forms a hard, waterproof finish that can withstand harsh weather conditions. It’s highly durable and moisture-resistant, making it a good choice for outdoor furniture.
Remember, the best weather-resistant finish for outdoor wood furniture will depend on your specific weather conditions. Consider humidity, rainfall, and UV exposure when choosing a finish.
Choosing the right finish for your outdoor wood furniture is crucial. It not only enhances the beauty of the furniture but also protects it from the elements, ensuring its longevity. There are numerous options, from clear coats and varnishes to oil finishes and epoxy sealers.
Consider factors like the type of wood, the weather conditions in your area, and your aesthetic preferences when choosing a finish. Whether you’re looking for a finish that offers superior protection, enhances the natural beauty of the wood, or is easy to apply, there’s a finish out there that’s perfect for your needs.