Has your wood outdoor table seen better days? Read on to learn step-by-step tips on how to refinish an outdoor wood table.
I purchased our outdoor farmhouse table at Walmart several years ago and still love the look of it. However, I have done nothing over the years to protect it from the elements. It has sat outdoors in the heat, rain, snow, and everything in between for the last three years without so much as a tarp or awning. The top boards were warped from the sun and the bench showed some wood rot. It was time to either replace the table and bench, or refinish them! New outdoor furniture is expensive, so I knew it would be worth the try to refinish. With only the cost of some sand paper discs, stain, and wax, I was able to save our table and bench to serve us another year. Read on to learn how to easily refinish a wood outdoor table!
Step 1: Sand previous stain off with an orbital sander.
You can use a chemical paint or stain stripper to remove your old stain, but I prefer to use an orbital sander and low grit sandpaper. Click here on the affiliate link for the orbital sander on Amazon that I swear by. I actually own three sanders and this is the only one I count on. The lower the number on the sandpaper discs, the coarser the sandpaper. Start with a low number disc such as 40-60 to remove all of the stain and work your way towards a higher sandpaper disc until the table is completely smooth to the touch. I like to start with 60 grit, then I use 100, and finish with 360 grit if necessary.
Below is a picture of my table sanded down and ready for the next step!
Step 2: Clean your sanded table.
Use a wide, clean paint brush to dust off all sanded surfaces. Next, wipe down the table with tack cloth, or use a lint free rag misted with mineral spirits. Tack cloth is a sticky cloth you can purchase on Amazon (linked), or at any home improvement store. It’s a sticky cloth that will pick up any residual dust. If you prefer to use mineral spirits, you can also find them at any home improvement store. Place a small amount of mineral spirits on a lint free rag and wipe down all surfaces. Mineral spirits will remove any grease, dirt, or lint remaining on your table.
Step 3: Choose your outdoor stain.
I chose to use Valspar Semi-Transparent Outdoor Stain on my table. This stain line at Lowe’s has a wide variety of colors that can be mixed in-store. I highly recommend sampling your stain color on a scrap piece of board, using a similar wood if possible. Note: I found the swatch colors to be MUCH darker than the actual stain colors. The stain colors were not true to the swatch on my table, and I had to purchase a different shade to get closer to the color I was going for. Even after purchasing a second can, I had to get creative to achieve the color I wanted by using a dark finishing wax.
The stain itself goes on great and is easy to work with. It’s a thick semi-transparent stain that goes on like a paint. I used a few foam disposable brushes to apply the stain.
Step 4: Seal the table.
Many outdoor stains have a top coat included in the stain, but I always like to add an extra layer of protection. Since the color of my table wasn’t exactly what I wanted, I decided to use a dark finishing wax that I had on hand over the top of the stain to darken and protect the finish.
In the picture below, you can see the color of the stain on the bench before and after using the dark finishing wax. I’m so glad I decided to add the wax! Now when it rains, water just beads up on the table and I use a squeegee to remove it. The table doesn’t absorb all of the rain and dries off easily.
My outdoor dining room is so beautiful now and ready for entertaining! Our family enjoys dining al fresco through the fall and I know that this table will serve us well through another year of memories.
For more summer outdoor tips, click on the following post links: