How to restore garden furniture

Outdoor furniture can be tricky to look after. Not only does it receive regular wear and tear it can also be exposed to harsh weather conditions and changing seasons. For this reason, additional maintenance and even restoration are often needed to keep your garden furniture in tip-top shape.

As a rule, all garden furniture should be given a thorough deep-clean both before and after winter. However, depending on the material your garden furniture is made from, as well as the climate and weather conditions it is exposed to, additional restoration and cleaning may be required. In this blog, we take a look at the most common types of garden furniture - wooden, metal and plastic items - and provide our top tips when it comes to restoration and maintenance.

How to restore wooden garden furniture

Wooden garden furniture comes in a range of different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to know what you are dealing with before doing any restoration work. Cheaper items tend to be made from softwoods such as pine or redwood, which require more maintenance and restoration than hardwood alternatives such as teak. This is because they tend to deteriorate more quickly, despite likely having been treated with wood preserver, stain or paint prior to your purchase.

To best restore softwood outdoor furniture, start by washing off any moss, mould and debris that may have collected on it during the winter. This can be done with a hose followed by a wipe down with a damp cloth. Next, lightly sand the entire surface area of all items before re-applying a wood stain or paint. This will not only ensure the furniture looks great again, it will also reseal the wood, helping to protect it from the elements. Softwood items usually deteriorate most quickly at the points that have contact with the ground. For this reason, it’s a good idea to also apply additional layers of wood preservative to table and chair legs.

How to restore teak garden furniture

Premium outdoor furniture is often made from teak. Because this wood boasts a high oil and natural rubber content, it is extremely resistant to weather, making it a low maintenance wood. Indeed, teak furniture can be left untouched for many years without showing signs of damage, instead just turning a silvery colour as it starts to age.

In most cases, hosing off teak furniture with cold water is enough to remove any dust and dirt that may have collected during the winter months. However, if you want to restore old-looking teak to its original state, you can gently sand all surfaces, making sure you use medium/light grade sandpaper and sand in the direction of the grain, before applying teak oil or teak preserver with a clean rag.

How to revive plastic garden furniture

Although incredibly durable and weather-resistant, plastic outdoor furniture will usually experience discolouration and staining after a few years of being exposed to the elements. However, these items can be revived by simply buffing them clean. To do this, following the steps below:

  • Place discoloured items on a hard-standing area, such as a patio or driveway.
  • Add a tablespoon of soda crystals (available in most supermarkets in the washing machine aisle) to a bucket of warm water and allow them to dissolve fully.
  • Apply your newly-created solution to all surfaces of your plastic furniture using a clean sponge or rag.
  • Leave the solution to sit on the plastic for a few hours and then rinse thoroughly using clean water.
  • Repeat this process on areas of your plastic furniture that remain stained.

How to get rust off metal garden furniture

As a rule, metal outdoor furniture doesn’t need much maintenance. However, if you notice any patches of rust, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible in order to prevent this from spreading and damaging the items. To do this, simply use a stiff wire brush to knock off any rust, before then using wire wool to ensure the freshly brushed area has a smooth, rust-free finish. You should then apply the buffed area with a rust-proof metal paint.

It’s also a good idea to check any metal brackets or hinges on your metal furniture, especially on items such as folding chairs. Regularly adding a small amount of WD40 will not only prevent rust from forming in these areas, but it will also help to keep joints and other moving parts loose and fully functional.

Can you paint metal garden furniture?

Yes, painting metal garden furniture is the best way to protect it from the elements and to stop rust from appearing. As mentioned above, the best way to do this is to remove any areas of rust, as well as all old coats of flakey paint, using a stiff wire brush before gently buffing the entire surface areas of your metal furniture with steel wool. Once all areas are smooth and rust/paint-free, new metal paint can be applied. This can either be done with a brush or using spray paint that’s suitable for use on metal.