how to protect outdoor wood furniture

How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture from the Elements

Outdoor wood furniture deserves extra love and care. After all, they are exposed to the elements outside, including rain, humidity, temperature variations, wind, sunlight, and others. If neglected, outdoor wood furniture may end up getting scratched, cracked, discolored, and damaged. If you have one at home, you may be wondering how to protect outdoor wood furniture. Let us take a look at the most effective methods used by many. 

What You Need

  • Paint (Latex, if possible)
  • Wood sealant (lacquer or polyurethane)

Step-by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Paint the Wood Furniture

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Paint is one of the best choices that can provide strong protection to your wood furniture from outside elements. Paint is able to block sunlight from entering wood surface. It can also block UV rays, thus protecting your wood from beneath, giving it the needed shield against discoloration as well as several other problems. 

If possible, use latex paint. It offers longer lasting protection for your outdoor wood furniture compared to oil-based paints. They can also easily be applied for cosmetic fixes. The best part is that they come in a variety of colors, and is ideal for hiding nasty scratches. Give your outdoor wood furniture a nice layer of paint to give it protection against UV rays and even water. You may need to reapply paint after a few months, especially if you start seeing some dents, scratches and peelings. 

Step 2 – Apply Wood Sealant

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Sealing your wood furniture is also useful especially if your area is exposed to rain. A good sealant will protect your furniture against water. It is easy for wood outdoor furniture to get damaged because of rain and moisture. Water molecules can get absorbed inside the wood, causing real havoc. With water sealant, the wood’s natural look will be kept accordingly. 

The quality achieved is the same as that with applying paint. Water sealant, by nature, is transparent, which means that it does not do anything with the color of the wood and acts just like other types of protectors. Avoid leaving any portion of the wooden furniture not completed. Seal the joints, underneath, as well as the bottom part of the legs in order to fill possible cracks. 

Water sealants do not just give protection to outdoor wood furniture against water and moisture, but it also speeds up the process of drying. This will effectively protect the wood against splitting, rotting, and even warping. Among the most popular sealants that you can use include lacquer and polyurethane sealant. 

Step 3 – Apply Furniture Varnish

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Varnish is another form of sealing mechanism though there is something more special about it. When wood furniture is varnished, you can provide protection to the wood furniture, effectively protecting it against moisture. Varnish naturally offers water resistance. 

Varnish is also a good alternative to painting or sealing. The best part about applying varnish is that it will not change the wood furniture color, keeping it natural. The varnish works by absorbing UV rays which is one of the primary causes of damage on the wood and its aesthetics. While doing so, it protects the wood furniture against sun damage. This further prevents wood discoloration while increasing its life.

Those who have tried it suggest using marine varnish for outdoor wood furniture. Marine varnish offers amazing water resistivity compared with other types of varnish. On the other hand, for indoor wood furniture, spar varnish is the best option to consider.

Step 4 – Change Furniture Location

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Changing the location of your furniture is another option to consider. This is particularly true if you observe that furniture suffers from damage due to harsh weather conditions. This is undoubtedly the best choice to consider if you have enough space outdoors, or in your garden area, where you can possibly keep your valuable furniture. 

It is important to note that no paint, sealant, varnish or even shellac can offer complete protection against the elements outdoors. As such, it is advisable to protect your wooden furniture from exposure to constant sunlight, high moisture levels, or other extreme weather conditions. Wood, by nature, is highly sensitive to these elements, offering low natural protection. 

You may opt to move your outdoor wood furniture inside during certain seasons, such as winter, to protect against the elements. Since winter brings a high amount of moisture, sealants, finishers and paints cannot withstand the elements. Move your beloved furniture somewhere comfortable and safe especially during this season. 

Aside from simply moving your furniture one from place to another, you can also build some shades that will prevent direct sunlight from reaching the wood surface. This will prevent UV damage on the furniture. The shades are designed to help in absorbing or reflecting up to 89% of UV rays, only allowing visible light to seep through.

Step 5 – Cover Your Wood Furniture

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One of the easiest methods to protect outdoor wood furniture is by covering it. With the right coverage, the wood furniture will be protected physically against rain, moisture, UV rays from the sun, and other harsh weather conditions. 

For this, you can use protective mantle, patio furniture covers, or other fabrics that can provide enough protection. Make sure, however, that you use the ones of the right size, completely covering your furniture. Covering is important for your outdoor wood furniture, especially when they are not in use. 

Roofs that come with UV filters are also a good way to cover your wood furniture. Note, though, that even though covering is a nice way to protect your furniture, simply applying without initially applying sealer or paint may not be a wise option. Covering can also prove to be a good enhancement which can further strengthen the shield of your wood furniture, giving it the needed protection against outdoor elements. 


Protecting your outdoor wood furniture may be considered as tricky, but following the tips above on how to protect outdoor wood furniture will help your beloved pieces last longer. By choosing one of the options considered, you will be able to give your furniture pieces the best protection the deserve. Investing on these means is part of the cost, and will give you long term benefits in the end. What is your experience in protecting your outdoor wood furniture? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. 



One response to “How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture from the Elements”

  1. […] To effectively waterproof OSB, you’ll need a high-quality exterior waterproofing solution and materials specifically designed for wood protection. […]

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