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Should you refinish old furniture or buy new?

Renovating and redesigning old furniture is becoming trendy among decorators and homeowners. Restoration beautifies the old furniture and gives it a completely different look – and sometimes a different purpose. Refurbishing old furniture is not difficult; you can repair what is worn and paint it to match your new decor. These old-turned-new pieces can give your room or outdoor space a lot of character.

The basic steps to refinishing outdoor wood furniture

Refinishing outdoor wood furniture can be time consuming, depending on the state it’s in and how you intend to use it.  Removing rust, carving wood, or repairing dents or chipped surfaces can be hard work but are rewarding when you perform the task yourself.

refinish old furniture
Koldunov Alexey/Shutterstock

When refinishing outdoor wood furniture, there are some basics steps to follow:

Degrease and thoroughly clean any old wood furniture. This can be done with sandpaper or a power washer.
For varnished wood, you can use a stiff-bristled brush or sander to strip the varnish. A 50-50 mix of vinegar and water can also be used to loosen the glue. For stubborn areas, try a fine-grade steel wood to remove varnish.

Once the wood is dry, apply generous amounts of teak oil directly (until the wood is saturated) by brush, roller, or chamois cloth. Remove any excess oil. Apply a second coat after the first dries, which may take several hours. This helps condition and protect your furniture.

Is teak oil good for outdoor furniture?

Teak is a colorless, synthetic-based product that is formulated with natural teak oil, special oils, and alkyd resin. This is specially designed for the protection and maintenance of outdoor furniture. Teak oil provides a great penetrating power while offering protection against harsh weather because it is water repellent. Here are a few of the benefits of applying teak oil on outdoor furniture:

  • Water repellent. The resin found in teak oil helps it repel water.
  • Easy application. Teak oil can easily be applied with the use of a fiber brush or roller.
  • Preservation. Teak oil preserves the natural look of wood.
  • Resists UV rays. In addition to beautifying the wood, teak oil helps protect from the harmful effects of UV rays in sunlight.

What oils should you use on outdoor wood furniture?

Natural oil is recommended for the protection of all types of wood, especially tropical and exotic species. This can be applied to outdoor wood furniture that is exposed to both blistering sun and harsh, frigid winters. The natural oils nourish the wood, restore its original beauty, and prolong its life.

Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, saturates deep into the wood grain. It protects against scratches and changes in humidity. This oil is eco-friendly and produces a finish that brings out the wood’s natural color.

Tung oil is a plant-based oil that is useful as a wood finish. It is clear and dries easily. This oil penetrates the wood to enhance and also protect the wood.

Other oils that are commonly used on outdoor furniture include mineral oil, walnut oil, and danish oil.

refinish old furniture
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it’s better to buy new furniture

Depending on how well you take care of your outdoor furniture, it should last 15 years or more. So, how do you know when it’s time to invest in new patio furniture? Well, there are certain conditions that mean your set is at the “point of no return.” If your furniture is cracked from exposure, then it’s best to replace it. If it is starting to sag and refinishing doesn’t really improve its appearance, then it’s time to starting shopping sales. Other indicators include excessive rust, it wobbles or creaks when you sit on it, and the structure has tears or breaks.

The main point is don’t just throw away your old furniture because it looks a little tired and beat up. You can rejuvenate it with some time, patience, and elbow grease. You may even have some indoor furniture that’s seen better days that you can repurpose for outdoors. For example, that old dresser could be restored and repurposed to make a wonderful bar area for your patio. If you have an old nightstand that has a missing or broken drawer, don’t throw it in the trash! Remove the drawers, add a shelf, and you have the perfect side table. It’s always great to find a new purpose for old furniture pieces that still have plenty of life left in them!

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