Looking after your outdoor furniture needn’t be a chore. All you need to do is set aside a few hours out of a day and you’ll have the job done in no time. And best of all, it’ll stay looking amazing for the rest of the year.
As I mentioned in my earlier post about entertaining outside, I have 4 wooden outdoor benches. Usually, all the benches require is a light oil every year to keep them in good shape, however, this year I decided to re-varnish the benches in a warm walnut colour as well. And let me tell you, this did not take up much time at all – I was able to complete the whole process in one day… winning!
To start with, I gave all the benches a light sand all over using a small detail sander. I didn’t have to strip the timber back too far as I have maintained the benches regularly, so it wasn’t in too bad a shape. If your wooden furniture is looking a little worse for wear, you may need to sand it back a bit further using a coarser-grit sand paper. Just take care when doing this to avoid damaging your furniture. And please note, not all furniture (especially some cheaper options) can be stripped back too far, as there may not a lot of wood there to start with, so take care.
Once the benches were sanded, I gave them a good wipe over to remove any dust, and then varnished all 4 benches – underneath as well as on top. Whether you’re oiling or varnishing, remember to cover every wooden surface of the furniture, otherwise all your hard work will be for nothing and the furniture won’t hold up in the weather.
Because I worked on the benches during spring the weather was perfect for drying (not too hot or cold) so it dried in no time. Keep in mind that drying time may take a little longer in colder weather, but spring is usually perfect and your furniture will look beautiful throughout the summer. With the vanish completely dry I then added a top coat of clear marine vanish. This will give it a little bit extra protection from the extreme weather we can experience here on the farm.
My wooden benches were given a test of its durability the day after I finished varnishing them when my German shepherd decided to pee on it. After peering at my bench over a puddle the size of the Blue Lake, I was ecstatic to see that the pee had just beaded off. A beautiful spring day spent working outside on the furniture was worth it, and I know that my benches will last for years to come.
Wooden furniture is not the only outdoor furniture that needs a little maintenance. Taking care of your outdoor BBQ is just important, and some masters of the barbie may argue more so.
A simple tip that will save you a tonne of time is to ensure that you always cover your BBQ when it’s not in use. This keeps the weather off and means less cleaning and maintenance, so all that’s required is a quick wipe down on the hotplates with a lemon before using. The very best tip I can give you though to avoid a disgusting build-up of grease and bugs, is to remember to give your BBQ a quick scrape and wipe down after each use, while it’s still warm. I know no-one wants to do this, but it really will only take about 30 seconds and it will save you a tonne of time scrubbing the plates next time you want to use it. Then once the BBQ has cooled down completely, don’t forget to throw the cover back on. Job done, ready for next time.
Other items like metal furniture will also require maintenance over time. I have an outdoor glass table which has a metal frame and unfortunately anything that is metal and doesn’t have the correct finish will rust in no time here on the farm. But I found a great product called “White Knights Rust Guard” (available from Bunnings) which has solved this problem for me. I use the epoxy enamel topcoat and paint over the metal surfaces to seal them and it works brilliantly. It comes in a range of colours so you can colour match, and it’s available in various size tins or spray cans. If the metal is in good condition, the topcoat is really all you should need. However, if you have something that is already rusty you’ll have to sand off the rust first, or maybe try using White Knight’s Rust Converter. After the rust is cleared away, use their primer to seal and give it a good base before finishing with the topcoat. It’ll look brand new again and save you from having to purchase new furniture.
So don’t for forget to schedule in your outdoor furniture maintenance in your house calendar and give that old piece of furniture a new life!!