How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture? : Outdoor Furniture Maintenance Tips

How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Furniture? : Outdoor Furniture Maintenance Tips

In a perfect world, outdoor furniture never gets torn out or needs refinishing, but while dealing with reality, you will discover that refinishing wood is required to get the most out of your outdoor furniture and keep them long-lasting.

Refinishing your outdoor furniture not only gives it a new look and touch but also helps you save money you may spend on buying new furniture.

If you have kept your furniture outdoors all the seasons, when you unpack them to reuse, you may realise that some parts are not in the ideal condition and need a hand to refinish to get their original condition.

If you are wondering how to refinish wood furniture, we’ve got your back. And if you think refinishing wood furniture is a complex process, let us tell you that you have got that wrong.

If done correctly, refinishing wood furniture takes hardly half a day to transform into a beautiful piece of furniture.

In this blog post, learn how to refinish wood furniture to celebrate a new look, touch, and finish and enjoy the upcoming season to its best.

Things to Know Before Refinishing Wood Furniture 

The process of refinishing depends on the wood surface. If you have oil finishes or exterior stains, you will need yearly refreshing and cleaning to upkeep the wood’s appearance. Whereas, if you have a protective finish, you can simply sand the old finish and apply new coats again. 

Step-by-step Guide on How to Refinish Furniture:

Here’s the process of wood furniture refinishing:  

Step: 1 - Sanding the Wood 

sanding with woods


The first step to refinishing rocking outdoor furniture is to sand off the damaged layer and get a smooth, clean and healthy surface. 
Use a random orbit sander and 80-grit sandpaper to get a perfect and smooth surface area. If you want even further smoothing, go over it with 120-grit sandpaper.

Things to keep in mind: 

  • Don’t overdo the sanding, as a strong finish is more important in patio furniture. 
  • Sand in long strokes with the wood grain for a smooth and even texture.

Step:2 - Cleaning 

Once you are done with the sanding, blow the furniture off and clean it with a cloth to make it completely dust free. 

To make your cleaning effective, clean the furniture by dipping the tack cloth in a mineral spirit and wiping the surface. 

Step: 3 - Apply Stain 

Apply stain


The next step in finishing wood furniture is to apply a stain. Shake the stain can thoroughly to mix all the pigments well. Using a cotton rag or chip brush, apply slow and even strokes of stain with wood grain.

Let the stain dry for 10-15 minutes or, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, before wiping off excess with a clean rag for an even finish.

Things to keep in mind: 

If you are applying an oil-based stain, provide enough ventilation to avoid fume build-up by the higher VOC content. 

Step:4 - Applying Finish: 

Technically, the last step of refinishing the wood is to apply the finish. It’s pretty much the same as applying stain, but with the finish, you have to be extra careful to prevent drips and runs, especially around the joints, as they are more likely to hold a little finish resulting in drips. 

If you opt for a wiping finish, you will need at least three coats to protect your rocking outdoor furniture. Before applying the next coat of finish, let the previous coat dry entirely and scuff it with a fine sanding sponge. Lastly, clean the surface with a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust before applying the next coat of finish. 

The final step is to let everything dry for at least 24 hrs. before using it. 


Many people keep their outdoor furniture with stains only but applying finish seals the wood and protect it from moisture. 

Step: 5 - Embellishing or Decorating Your Furniture: 

If you are a creative person and want to give a unique identity to your outdoor furniture, including outdoor glider chairs, decorating furniture is the best way to let your creativity flow in. 
For example, you can decorate an outdoor glider chair by colouring it your way, wrapping bright and shining ribbons around it, or painting a beautiful thing on it. And if you like the soft, soothing sound, you can add a series of bells to your rocking chair.
Moreover, you can also add colorful accessories or pillows to make your furniture more cosy and comfortable.  

Things to note while refinishing wood furniture: 

  • Changing finishes frequently affects the wood quality and compatibility.

  • Choose a garage, workshop, or any other shady area for refinishing to protect it from rain, extreme sunlight, dust, leaves, and other harmful environmental components.

  • Place a drop cloth or plastic to keep the floor clean and tidy.

As you now know how to refinish wood furniture, if you are wondering how to protect outdoor wood furniture, let’s have a look at the factors that affect your patio furniture:

Wood Damaging Factors: 


Climate and UV rays are two of the significant factors that degrade the quality of your wood furniture. UV rays break down the lignin in the wood - the bond that keeps wood fibers together and strengthens it. 

When lignin breakdowns, it causes the wood surface to turn grey/silver and the development of checks, followed by wood drying. 

Greying of wood becomes a problem for softwoods as they are vulnerable to checking, cupping, and warping, leading to water damage.

Wood Rot: 

wood rot

Wood rot is the silent killer for your furniture caused by a fungus, and the good news is that you can prevent it easily.

If you are living at 40°F or higher temperatures, keep the wood dry to prevent wood rot. Remember, wet wood is not a problem; keeping it wet is. 

Maintaining Outdoor Furniture:

Maintaining your outdoor furniture is equally important after refinishing it. Here are some maintenance tips that will help you enjoy your furniture for a longer time: 

  • Avoid extreme exposure to direct sunlight. 
  • Cover your furniture or bring it inside when you are not using it 
  • Avoid keeping the furniture in dirt or grass for a long time to prevent moisture damage.

  • Store furniture in an area with enough ventilation.

  • Keep enough distance between sharp points and the furniture for a smooth surface.

  • Dust furniture regularly.

  • Clean and renew the wood finish regularly with wax or oil. 
  • Avoid power washers for cleaning. 
  • If you notice any wear and tear, treat it immediately. 


We hope, with this guide, you have no doubts or confusion about how to refinish wood furniture and how to protect outdoor wood furniture. Follow all the steps, and we are 100% sure you will make it to the end! 

It is no wonder that maintaining outdoor furniture is easier than refinishing it from scratch. If you maintain your furniture well, you will need to refinish it once every two to three years, depending on the furniture material, quality, and other external conditions.

If you have any questions or queries regarding outdoor furniture, feel free to email us at or call us at (888) 412-2269 for a quick response.