Best Protections for Outdoor Wood Furniture

July 2, 2021

Protector coatings for outdoor wooden furniture.

So, you have seen how the paint of your outdoor furniture crumbles and flakes off under the intense effects of harsh outdoor elements. And now you have decided it’s time to rethink the protection of your outdoor furniture, and now you are asking about the best way to protect your outdoor wood furniture? 

Of course, suppose the protectors you’ve chosen for your outdoor wood furniture are not effective. In that case, chances are, UV rays, moisture, and other harsh outdoor elements may compromise the integrity of your furniture. Hence, you need to carefully figure out the best way to protect your furniture from these harsh elements.

Wood Protectors You Can Use For Outdoor Wood Furniture

Experts would tell you with alacrity that the best wood furniture protection necessitates two main components. These components are the UV inhibitor that protects the furniture from harmful UV rays and a water-resistant barrier to prevent moisture from seeping into the very fiber of the furniture

The UV lights, of course, make the color of the wood turn gray. On the other hand, moisture lets mildew and fungi develop on the wood, causing it to rot. Many wood protections come in clear color, while there are protections that stain the wood with great colors. These protections make the grain more pronounced and provide additional richness to the pale color of the furniture.

1) Varnishes

Varnishes provide a tough finish and protection for outdoor furniture. The urethanes or spar varnishes, for example, were previously used for protecting sailing ships. They are tough and are very hard. They also protect the wood for several years before needing reapplication. They may flake off after several years, so you need to include oil to make the finish more resilient to flaking off. 

However, the downside of the use of these chemicals is that they are considered harsh chemicals, though, at present, you can find water-based versions that may not be that harsh. Nevertheless, some people may not appreciate the appearance of these chemicals on the wood because the wood may look as if plastic laminated. 

Marine varnish, however, provides a solid finish. Hence, it is often used for exterior surfaces of boats, doors, outdoor furniture, and any wood surface used outdoor. The reason is that it provides strong water resistance. Moreover, it comes with ultraviolet light absorbers that offer potent protection from UV rays.

2) Paint

Another option for protecting your outdoor wood furniture is the use of paint. You can coat the wood surface with latex paint which is the best option if you choose to paint. It is better than oil-based paint when dealing with wood furniture, for latex lasts longer. Because it lasts longer, it doesn’t necessitate frequent touch-up.  

3) Seal

If you live in a place that has frequent rain, you can use a water sealant instead. Water sealer may either work in two ways. First, it is capable of protecting furniture from moisture. Second, it enables damp wood cured with sealant to dry faster to prevent it from rotting, warping, or splitting.

4) Spray-on Coatings

You can also opt for spray-on coatings, which come in aerosol cans or bottles. Spray-on coatings are easy to apply and provide protections like varnishes. Nevertheless, they are more costly than the other options and more often require multi-surfaces finishes.

5) Waterproof Stain

The waterproof stain is a recent addition to wood furniture protection. It was initially developed for protecting brick and concrete from water penetration. However, it was reformulated to develop a version that would be good for protecting decking and outdoor furniture. It is thinner than varnishes and oils, which makes it easy to apply and spread. It also leaves behind a more natural look and appearance. They can also last for many years, but if you are situated in colder regions, you might as well reapply them every year.

Additional Tips for Protecting Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

Now that you’ve known the different protector types, it will also help if you know the following tips on how to protect your outdoor furniture further:

Sand Before Apply Protecting Coats

You may get impatient and want to apply immediately the protector type you have chosen. Yet, it will do you well if you sand down the surface first to the bare wood to ensure that the primer will stick well to the wood. 

Seal the Wood Completely

If you are going to protect the wood, you should not leave any part unfinished. Leaving any part untreated will only compromise the whole furniture in the long run. So, you need to seal every part of the furniture without leaving any part unfinished. Your mentality should not be to cover the furniture but to encapsulate it. 

Recoat the Wood Regularly

The best finish will surely flake off over time when exposed to various external harsh elements. So, schedule a recoating of the furniture annually or semi-annually. 

Protect Your Furniture from Harsh Elements

Even if you have coated the furniture with protection, you should also try to protect the furniture from harsh elements like UV lights and rain. Don’t let the furniture sit in rainwater puddles. Please make sure you also protect them from rain and UV lights. If you inhabit a rainy area, you should use a water sealant to protect your furniture. If you inhabit a deserted place, you might as well paint your furniture with sun protection paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Owners of outdoor furniture, when surveyed, often have their frequently asked questions. Below are some frequently asked questions, which can also be the questions playing in your mind:

Do You Need To Apply an Undercoat Before You Apply the Protector?

The answer to this question is relative and depends on the product you will use. If you are using a protector that goes directly into bare wood, you should not do some prep. Others, however, need some preparation for optimum protection. So, before deciding on which protector to use, you should figure out first the pros and cons of using a protector and read with care the instructions provided on the protector’s manual before you even decide which is best for you to use.

What Materials Do I Need for Applying Wood Furniture Protector?

Answer: If you are going to apply varnishes, you need an ordinary paintbrush. If you choose oils, you can use a clean cloth like an old cotton T-shirt to apply the oils. You can also apply them using a spray if you have the right equipment. Nevertheless, you need to thin the protectors before using them. If ever you would use an old cloth, dispose of the cloth accordingly because some oils can make the cloth highly flammable.


Over time, harsh outdoor elements may do serious damages to your outdoor furniture. Exposure to UV lights, moisture, wind, and many other factors may work against your furniture and compromise its integrity in the process. Hence, regardless of what outdoor furniture you have, you need to take proper care of them. 

Knowing the abovementioned types of protectors and the additional tips on maintaining your furniture may help provide the proper protection for your furniture. For this reason, being cognizant of the different types of protectors will enable you to choose the best protector for your outdoor furniture. 

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