Welcome to one of my favorite things. I've spent the better part of 20 years working on my home, and I'd like to share with you what I have learned. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe learn a thing or two.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Refurbish Outdoor Furniture

In this time where money is tight, it doesn’t make any sense to throw away things just because they don’t look brand new. These chairs were made by my father-in-law. Since he is no longer with us, the thought of getting rid of them would break my heart. So I want to show you how to make them look as good as new.

The first thing you need to do is sand it. You have to remove the loose paint from the furniture. If you just painted over it, it would start chipping immediately because it has to bond to a solid clean surface. This project has a lot of individual pieces, so I removed the thinner pieces of wood.It will make it easier to sand. I also marked the pieces so that I can remember where they go when it is time to put it back together.  I used 100 grit sandpaper to start. Note: the higher number on the sandpaper, the finer the sand, and the smoother the finish. 100 grit is pretty rough, but it works pretty well on this type of outdoor furniture.

Once it is sanded, you need to clean the surface of dust. You can buy tack cloth, but for this project, I just used a damp cloth. (Just make sure the furniture is dry before you try to paint it.) And when I say “damp”, I don’t mean “wet”!

Now that it is sanded and clean, this is a good time to tighten and replace any screws that are loose. Take you screwdriver and check all the screws. If you try to tighten a screw and it just turns, remove the screw. Take a wood toothpick or a piece of a wood shim and tap in into the hole. Now you can either use the same screw or use a new screw and it will hold tight. This is one of my favorite tricks. (Taught to me by my father-in-law.)

The piece is now ready to paint. Be sure that you are using an exterior paint. Also if a piece has been painted with oil based paint, you MUST use oil based paint. If you use a latex paint over oil based paint, it will just peel off, and this is a rule that works both ways. You can’t use oil over latex. I used a paint brush instead of a roller. Rollers will really only work over the flat surfaces, so it is just easier to use a brush. Also, don’t use a brush that is too narrow. It will take you a long time to paint that way.

Another good trick is to make sure that you put two or three coats of paint on the bottom of the legs. This will help to keep the wood from absorbing moisture and rotting the wood.

Once you have painted all the pieces, and it is completely dry, it is time to put it back together again.

Now it is as good as new! I should get another 8 to 10 years out of this, and every time I look at it, it was
well worth the effort!

Happy Fixing!


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