Refinish Outdoor Furniture
Your outdoor furniture receives the worst of Mother Nature's extremes throughout the seasons. Over time, wood, metal and plastic furniture pieces can begin to look worn from the weather. There's no need to replace what isn't broken. You can refinish your outdoor furniture and make it look new again.
Visit your local True Value hardware store for all the tools, products and expert advice you need to start right. Then follow these simple steps to start refinishing.
Paint Wood Furniture
Wood furniture is usually the first to show signs of wear and tear from the weather. You can refresh it, though, with some sanding and a new finish. Here’s how:
Step 1. Strip Old Finish
Choose a workspace, preferably outdoors or one that is well ventilated, such as your open garage. If your furniture is on a back patio, you can work there. Just take the time to protect the patio or floor surface from drips, stains and damage, with drop cloths. Secure the drop cloths with painter’s tape to keep them in place.
Remove loose paint or finish by going over the whole piece with a paint scraper. To remove finishes quickly from larger pieces of furniture, use a belt sander. Take care not to damage your furniture by sanding too deeply. Sand carefully by hand around decoratively curved areas with a fine-grit sanding sponge.
You can also use a chemical stripping agent. Most chemical strippers need to be mixed with water so check the manufacturer’s directions before applying. Using a medium-sized paintbrush, apply the solution evenly over the surface. Let it soak 20 to 30 minutes, then remove the old finish using a plastic scraper or a smooth, round-edged putty knife. The surface may be soft so be careful not to damage it with the scraper. Allow the piece to dry completely.
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and wear rubber gloves and protective goggles when using strong chemicals.
- Never strip furniture near an open flame as stripping chemicals can ignite.
- Use chemical strippers clearly marked “no cleanup” or “will wash away with water.” However, the “no cleanup” type may leave a residue, which must be sanded away. Residue from the “wash away” type can be removed by rinsing with water. Be aware that water may raise the grain of the wood. Lightly sand to reduce this effect.
- Heat guns can be used as a supplement to other methods to remove particularly stubborn finishes.
Step 2. Sand It
The more thorough you are during the stripping process, the less you’ll need to sand. Start sanding with medium/low-grit sandpaper to clean off any finish that remains, and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. Then smooth the whole piece down with medium-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand along the grain of the wood. Do this carefully as any swirl marks caused by sanding will stand out if you’re going to stain the wood.
Step 3. Paint or Stain It
If you’re painting your furniture, use a paintbrush (brush size depends on the size of the piece) to apply a coat of latex primer formulated for outdoor use. Allow the primer to dry for up to 2 hours, or for as long as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions. Feel the furniture’s surface for any rough spots and sand lightly if necessary. Apply a second coat. Let the primer dry for approximately 12 to 24 hours.
Next, apply a coat of True Value WeatherAll® exterior latex paint, with a quality paintbrush. Brush it on with even strokes in the direction of the wood grain. If you use spray paint, go slowly, holding the can about 12" from the furniture surface. When using spray paint, you should apply the second coat within 1 hour or after 24 hours. Let the second coat dry overnight.
If you’re going to be staining the furniture, note the benefits between stain types. Oil-based stains penetrate into the wood without raising the grain but carry a strong odor. Water-based stains are more environmentally friendly and offer easy cleanup using soap and water. Never use deck stain on furniture.
Apply a thin, even coat of Woodsman® Solid Color 100% Acrylic House & Trim Stain or Woodsman® Solid Color Oil House & Trim Stain with a cloth or medium-sized paintbrush and allow it to penetrate into the wood. Coat once for a light stain or apply additional coats to create a darker color. Lightly sand between coats with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe off excess stain with a clean cloth and allow the piece to dry completely.
- If you are using water-based stains, you can minimize raising the grain by moistening the wood with a damp cloth and sanding. Allow the wood to dry completely and sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper. Repeat as necessary.
Apply Woodsman® Natural UV Wood Sealer & Protector to seal the new stain finish. Apply it using a cloth or with a small- to medium-sized paintbrush in smooth, even strokes along the direction of the grain. Hold the brush vertically while applying. Overlap brush strokes when moving on to the next area. Start at a corner and work it in gradually in a consistent pattern so you don’t have bare spots. Let it dry completely (this usually takes a couple of hours). You may want to add a couple of coats. In between coats (once the last has dried), lightly sand the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper. Use a cloth to wipe the piece down or use a brush to remove any residue and debris from sanding. Apply the next coat and let it dry.
Paint Metal Furniture
Metal furniture can be revived as well. Follow the steps below to revamp your metal pieces.
Step 1. Clean and Prepare
Pick a warm, dry day to work. Avoid painting when surfaces are damp or when the humidity is more than 80 percent. Also wait until the temperature is above 50 degrees, and keep out of direct sunlight. Choose an open area and cover the ground with a large drop cloth to create your workspace. An open area will help you protect other surfaces from painting overspray.
- If your open space is limited, or if you want extra protection, consider setting up a large piece of cardboard, lightweight wood, or hanging a drop cloth or sheet as a shield against overspray that might blow onto other objects. Place the “shield” on the side opposite of the one that you’re painting.
Clean the metal surfaces of dust or debris with detergent, water and a scrub brush or rag. You can also try a vinegar/water solution (50/50). If any mold is present, remove it with a bleach/water solution or a commercial mold remover.
Paint will not adhere well over rust, so the rust must be removed along with any old, flaking paint. There are a number of ways to do this. You can remove both rust and paint using a stiff wire brush or an electric drill equipped with a sanding pad and abrasive discs. Emery cloths (cloth-backed abrasive sheets) can be used when there is minimal rust. Emery cloths work well because they are sturdier and easier to use than sandpaper on curved furniture features. Scrapers come in handy as well.
After you’ve removed bubbling or flaking paint and rust, brush on a commercial rust remover. When applying rust remover, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. After it has dried, wipe the surface down with a rag to remove any leftover dust or debris.
- Always wear gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask when sanding or using chemicals.
If the furniture you’re working on has non-metal surfaces, such as a seat on a chair, remove them if possible. If they cannot be removed, cover the surfaces with newspaper or plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to prevent any unwanted damage.
Step 2. Apply Primer
Spray metal surfaces with a primer made specifically for metals, such as True Value X-O Rust® rust-inhibiting primer. You can also apply metal primer with a brush. This method may be necessary for some areas, but using an aerosol primer and paint often provides the best, smoothest coverage results on metal. For best results, apply two coats. When spraying, follow the directions on the can and hold it approximately 12" from the painting surface to get a balanced and consistent coat. “Back-brush” (painting over just-applied paint before it begins to dry) to work the paint into the surface so it will adhere better and any drips will be smoothed out. Be sure to use a primer with mildew prevention. Allow primer to dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours. Primer does not always feel wet or tacky before it is completely dry.
- After using aerosol primer (or paint), tip the can upside down and depress the nozzle for a few seconds until paint stops coming out. Next, wipe off the nozzle with a cloth. This prevents the nozzle from being clogged the next time you use the can.
Step 3. Spray Paint
Spray on a coat of True Value X-O Rust® rust-inhibiting paint or apply it using a small to medium-sized paintbrush. Spray painting gets the job done fast and provides excellent coverage and a smooth finish. Hold the can about 8" to 12" from the object you’re painting and keep the can moving to avoid excess paint that can drip. Apply several light coats. If you’ve painted furniture or an appliance, let the paint dry for at least 24 hours before using.
- For best results, apply a second coat of paint within 1 hour of applying the first coat.
- Using True Value X-O Rust® spray paint allows you to skip priming in most cases, as it is formulated to be a paint and primer in one.
Paint Plastic Furniture
Step 1. Prepare for Painting
Wash plastic furniture thoroughly with detergent, hot water and a rag, sponge or soft brush. If furniture has been outside for a long period of time or has stubborn stains, use a cleaner with ammonia. Let it dry.
Cover non-plastic surfaces, such as metal chair legs, with painter’s tape. Choose a good workspace with plenty of ventilation and cover the floor with drop cloths or newspaper.
Step 2. Paint
Choose a spray paint designed for use on plastic furniture. Apply a thin coat by holding the can at least 12" away and spray in a sweeping motion. Let the paint dry before applying another coat. The amount of coats you will need will depend on the piece of furniture itself and your own personal judgment. When you’re happy with the paint coverage, let the furniture dry for at least 12 hours. Remove the painter’s tape after the paint has completely dried.
Good job! Your outdoor furniture has been refinished and revitalized. For the rest of your projects, first stop by your local True Value hardware store for all the tools, products and expert advice you need to start right.
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