How to restore garden furniture

With a little elbow grease and patience most of your grotty garden furniture can be given a new lease of life. This picnic bench only cost us £50 from B&Q but it’s lasted us 5 years so far and if treated each year will last many more.

This year I decided to try something a little different and applied this light oak oil finish from Cuprinol. It cost about £15 for 1l and should protect the wood for at least another couple of years. Bear in mind this bench sits out in the rain all year round it’s money well spent. My sister told me her bench didn’t last 2 years from new but that’s because she doesn’t treat it.

How to restore your garden furniture – step by step guide

Step 1.  To start things off I sanded the entire bench with an orbital sander. If you don’t already own an orbital sander you can buy one from about £45.  B&Q or Wickes tend to have a reasonable selection on offer, especially on their websites.

I don’t normally buy JCB products but I was on a budget and this was one of the cheapest at the time.  It’s a tool I use very often now and has lasted me very well so I’d be happy to recommend this to anyone looking.

It makes the majority of sanding jobs much easier, just make sure you have plenty of spare pads. I purchased a multi pack from eBay which saved a fair bit compared to buying in a store.

To sand the whole bench took just over an hour and I used 3 x 60 grit and 2 x 120 grit sand pads. Remember to always sand in the direction of the wood grain.

To finish off I lightly sanded with a mouse sander with a 240 grit pad. This left a nice smooth surface to apply the oil.

Step 2.  With all the sanding completed it’s important to wipe down the whole bench with a damp cloth to remove all the sand dust.  A nice clean surface will allow for easy application of the oil and leave a much neater finish.

Step 3.  The oil can be easily applied with a medium size brush or a lint free cloth.  For a job like this I tend to use a brush and apply a reasonably thick layer.  This allows the oil to soak right into the wood grains for a deep protection.  Using a lint free cloth is handy for a cleaner, smoother finish if thats what you are going for.

Again make sure you apply along the grain and ensure extra attention is applied to the end grains and around the feet. One coat can be sufficient but for added protection I would apply two coats.  And that’s it. Some may prefer to use a clear oil and some may prefer a different brand or type including a teak oil. All will give a good finish and prolong the life of your furniture.

Step 4.  Now leave to dry and enjoy your new looking furniture in the sun.  Don’t try to take on this project in the rain, it’s not going to work.

And here is the before and after:

If your’e a fan of restoration projects, check out my banister restoration… What a mess!

Here are some more of my home DIY project to inspire you:

If you also looking to save a bit of money on your home and DIY projects why not consider these:

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