Backyard Discovery Blog

When To Seal & Re-stain Your Outdoor Wooden Structures

Spring and early summer are the perfect time of year to consider taking care of your outdoor structures, including wooden furniture, pergolas, and gazebos. In this article, you’ll find out more about the importance of sealing and re-staining your outdoor wood, how and when to seal and re-stain, and learn some of the best ways to weatherproof your outdoor wood.

Why do I need to seal and restain my outdoor wood?

Sealing your outdoor wood once or twice a year - depending on your climate conditions - is important to maintaining the quality, and re-staining helps maintain its style. You could even try different colors of stain for a different look each year. 

Wood naturally turns gray over time, and becomes more exposed to rotting and break-down if you don’t take proper care of it. Sealing your outdoor wood furniture allows you to add an extra layer of protection to the wood, protecting it from the sun’s rays, moisture, and other elements that can affect both its look and quality. (In fact, if you’ve purchased a wooden outdoor structure from Backyard Discovery, it’s important to note that resealing the wood is a requirement of your warranty.)

When should I seal and re-stain my pergola, gazebo or patio structure?

As we’ve mentioned, spring is an ideal time to seal and re-stain your outdoor furniture - that way, you have the whole summer to make the most of your outdoor space. For any type of wooden pergola, gazebo, or patio structure, it’s important to wait until the wood is completely dry before you seal and re-stain it, otherwise the products won’t take as well and you won’t be able to properly protect the wood. Another indicator that might tell you it’s time to seal and restain your outdoor structures is when the wood starts to fade. 

What’s the best way to weatherproof outdoor wood?

Weatherproofing your wooden patio structures and backyard seating has quite a few benefits. Not only will you protect the wood from UV rays, humidity, and frost, but you’ll also help expand the lifespan of your outdoor wood furniture.

Before applying any waterproofing solution, you should first consider repairing, cleaning, and sanding the wood. Outdoor wood and furniture are prone to physical damage, and you may find that it has chipped or been scratched. If that’s happened, repair the damage first and seal it right away. This prevents moisture, water, and any other elements from seeping in and causing wood rot. 

Cleaning and sanding outdoor wood is necessary to ensure that you can fully restore it to its original state (or re-stain it a different color if you want to go for a different look this season!). Removing any scratches or cuts in the wood also makes it look as good as new, and sanding it down helps even the wood out, which is helpful once you begin weatherproofing your outdoor wood.

Once you’ve taken these necessary precautions, here are some of the best ways to weatherproof wood:

1. Waterproof using wood oils

Linseed oil, derived from seeds of flax plants, and tung oil, extracted from the Chinese tung tree, are two protective and beautiful-looking oils you can use to protect high-quality wood. You could even try blends of these oils, which is said to enhance the drying time and eliminate the sticky sensation after coating. 

2. Waterproof using sealants

Sealants, such as varnish and lacquer, are well-known to offer great protection against water and moisture. They can be either brushed or sprayed onto outdoor wood and only need a few minutes to dry. Before applying your sealant, consider removing any traces of past finishes to ensure that the new coating will be completely absorbed by the wood.

3. A combination of stain and sealants

Using a combination of wood stain and sealant allows you to complete two separate tasks in one go. With stains, you can enhance the health of the wood, and the addition of sealants ensures your wood will be weatherproof. If you’re using a combination of products, you may need to reapply it every year to ensure you’re effectively waterproofing and maintaining the quality of your outdoor wood.

Color options for re-staining outdoor furniture

There are plenty of color options when it comes to re-staining your outdoor furniture, and your choice will simply depend on your personal style. These are some of the most popular wood stain colors used in most outdoor furniture:

Honey maple

This is a light stain with unique hues that will give your outdoor furniture and structures a natural look.

Early American stain

For a sun-faded look and weathered vibes, Early American also has a hint of red that allows its classic brown color to naturally shine.

Dark walnut stain

Dark walnut is a medium-dark brown with golden highlights that truly shows off the quality of your outdoor wood grain. Many people love this stain color for outdoor wood because it looks so natural.

Briarsmoke 

Briarsmoke is a mix of rustic brown and smoky gray, which gives this stain its unique look and is a simple way of upstyling your backyard seating.

Jacobean stain

Jacobean is a rich dark brown, and gives a similar effect as walnut stain but darker. The golden grain hues are also more visible, which makes this a beautiful rustic color for your gazebos, pergolas, and backyard seating.

Sealing and re-staining outdoor wood furniture

When sealing and re-staining your outdoor furniture, the first step is to prepare by keeping track of weather conditions and gathering the necessary materials you need to apply your stain. 

You’ll need at least 48 hours of precipitation-free weather to ensure that your furniture is completely dry before you get started. It’s also important to remove any peripherals, such as parasols, cushions, shades, etc. from your furniture to ensure that you don’t stain them as well. 

Once your furniture, gazebo or pergola is dry, make sure it’s free of dirt. This will ultimately give you the best results. You can simply wash it down with a pump spray that has enough pressure to push out any dirt or residue, and scrub any spots of stubborn dirt. Once that’s done, you’ll again need to let your furniture dry for at least 24 hours.

If it needs to be sanded down before you apply a stain or sealant, now’s the time to do it. Finally, you can get to the good part - applying your stain and transforming your outdoor wooden structure. Make sure you start from the highest point, and always remember to brush your stain in the direction of the wood grain. Since stain is less thick than paint, it’s also a good idea to keep a clean rag nearby in the event of any accidental drips. For a smoother finish, apply a second coat once the first coat has fully dried.

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