When I began articles about which outdoor furniture lasts the longest, I never thought it would become a series. Since then, I’ve written not only about specific hardwood as a material for outdoor furniture but also about how to care for wooden outdoor furniture. People still have more questions!
Wood is a popular material for outdoor use because it can be surprisingly durable. Natural oils, sturdy build, and your own actions can protect it from the environment. Also, actions such as monitoring your wood furniture, oiling that furniture, or using a sealant can protect it from rotting.
I plan on going into more detail by answering the questions you have about wooden furniture in this article. All you have to do is read it! And guess what? If you have more questions, let me know. There’s a link for that at the bottom.
Let’s jump in!
Is Wood Good for Outdoor Furniture?
Absolutely! But most wood takes a decent amount of care. And not all wood used for outdoor furniture or patios is created equal. My suggestion though is to be sure that you are choosing a hardwood. Those types of wood are stronger than their counterparts.
Also, you can research to be sure the wood you choose has traits that make it more appealing for outdoor use. Teak is the wood I covered in a previous article because its natural oils make it water-resistant and will repel insects. Also, teak does not tend to warp with changes in humidity. Though, if you look for teak, be sure it was farmed sustainably.
Two other hardwoods that fit the criteria for good outdoor furniture are ipe, eucalyptus, and acacia. Acacia and Eucalyptus have all of the same qualities as teak, but the hardwoods grow much faster and so are more sustainably farmed. That’s something to keep in mind.
What you need to keep in mind about using wood outside or purchasing any wooden outdoor furniture is that there will most likely be more care involved in wood than in any other type of outdoor furniture. Be prepared to paint, protect, and use sealant on most woods to keep them for as long as possible. Even teak should be cleaned and oiled now and again. You can find that information in my article on taking care of your outdoor teak wood furniture.
If Wood Rots, Why Use it for Outdoor Furniture?
The answer I keep coming back to when faced with this common-sense question is that from a design and decorative standpoint, wood is a natural material that really works in some outdoor spaces better than any other kind of furniture. If that’s something that’s important to you, and wood is your choice, you simply need to be willing to protect it from the elements in any way you can.
And again, it’s your choice. You can choose woods that are known to last better, be resistant to pests, and be water repellant. With that great base to start from, all you have to do then is keep it clean and protect it from anything else.
How Do I Keep Wood From Rotting Outside?
Whether you’re using wood for a deck or for furniture (or you’re buying furniture already made with wood) you need to be sure that it’s a specialized wood that resists rotting or that it’s pressure treated. You need to take care of it.
The best way to fight wood rot is to keep a close eye on the things in your outdoor space that is made of wood. Look for cracks and holes, stains, warping, or cracked and peeling paint. If you see any issues, remedy them quickly to keep your wood from rotting. And don’t forget to keep the furniture clean of leaves, sand, dirt, and debris. Anything settling on your furniture increases the risk of rot.
Covering your wooden outdoor furniture when it’s not in use with a ventilated water repellant furniture cover will help keep rot from invading your furniture via it collecting debris and soaking in the rain, sleet, and snow in the off-seasons. Just be sure that those covers are definitely ventilated, especially if you live in humid areas.
Another thing you can do to keep wooden outdoor furniture from rotting is to be preemptive and waterproof everything. That actually gets us to the next question.
How Do I Waterproof my Outdoor Wood Furniture?
Maybe you didn’t choose a water-repellent wood. Maybe you did but you want a different color. Maybe you just want to be on the ball when it comes to protecting your investment. So you want to waterproof your wooden outdoor furniture.
The first method would be to use linseed or Tung oil (or whichever oil you research for your particular type of wood that works best). When I oil my teak wood stool, I use a brand specifically made for teak wood. I used a brush the first time I oiled it, to be sure I got around all crevices and that I used enough of the oil. After that, I simply use the oil and rub it into the wood with a cloth.
Other versions of this call for a mixture of equal parts oil of choice, mineral spirits, and polyurethane. You can apply this with a paintbrush, let it soak in, then reapply to any dry spots. Wipe away excess oil.* You can then treat this like staining in that you can sand and reapply the coating as many times as it takes for you to get the look you want. But in the end, the wood is protected.
You can always seal your wood by using varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, or a stain-sealant combination product. Just sand your wood, get rid of the grit, and paint or spray this stuff on. Unlike paint, you don’t stir or shake it before applying, unless you want air bubbles. No matter which type of sealant you decide to use, this method is going to give you the best waterproofing.
Whether you use oil or a sealant – I would definitely recommend a very ventilated area to work in. You don’t want to make yourself sick or worse.
I hope this has answered the questions that were brought to my attention. If you are searching for more information, check out the other articles on my website as I am constantly creating new and helpful content for you.
Did You Know?
Oily rags used to rub away excess oil can spontaneously combust – as the oil dries, it generates heat. While working; as a rag becomes oil-saturated, drop it in a bucket of water and continue with a clean rag. Rags are hang-dry only (do not put in a dryer). When completely dry, you can throw them away. Rags should not be reused.