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How to rejuvenate wooden garden furniture

rejuvenate wooden garden furniture

What are the best ways to rejuvenate wooden garden furniture? Our guide outlines the different treatments and instructions for how to do them.

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In order for wooden garden furniture to remain long-lasting and visually beautiful, you need a coat of paint, varnish or oil from time to time. We explain the options you have.

The natural environment in the garden is often enhanced by wooden furniture. Wood looks warm and cozy and harmonizes wonderfully with the plants and plants in the bed. However, wooden furniture cannot really be called robust and durable. The domestic softwood in particular needs regular maintenance. Today, high-quality garden furniture consists of more resistant tropical woods. Nevertheless, wood remains a sensitive material.

Once set up, the joy is often short-lived. The wood molds, rots or turns gray. The causes for this are manifold. Our garden furniture does not get permanent sunshine, just like a damp location, larger temperature differences or insects. If you buy wooden garden furniture, you will only enjoy it in the long term if you take care of it, do not neglect maintenance and regularly use your brush.

Popular types of wood for garden furniture

Type of woodadvantagesdisadvantage
SpruceThe domestic wood is inexpensive and easy to work with.
Spruce wood grows quickly and is particularly elastic.
Spruce wood attracts moisture and mold and rot quickly develop.
The wood is only suitable for outdoor use if it is regularly glazed and impregnated.
larchLarch wood is one of the most stable domestic woods.
The wood has a distinctive design and is weatherproof.
The high resin content keeps the risk of rotting low.
Larch wood is comparatively expensive.
Impregnation is also required here.
teak woodTeak is particularly robust and visually attractive.
The weather-resistant wood is very well suited for outdoor use.
Teak is one of the most expensive types of wood.
The wood is not always available.
Long transport routes and sometimes illegal clearing reduce the ecological balance.
acaciaThe wood is particularly weatherproof and does not have to be impregnated.
When exposed to the sun, the yellowish wood turns golden brown.
The wood is particularly heavy and massive garden furniture is difficult to transport.

Ways to rejuvenate garden furniture

The sun hits our wooden garden furniture. Sooner or later this will leave its mark on every wood. The ultraviolet (UV) rays attack the wood fibers and create a so-called patina, the wood gets a gray shimmer. In order to rejuvenate wooden garden furniture to regain its attractive appearance, the grayed-out layer must be sanded down. The wood is then treated with a special oil.

Paint vs oils vs glazes and varnishes

Garden furniture can be painted in different ways. If you want to continue enjoying the natural grain of the wood, use glazes. Paint coats the wood and protects it, also often adding colour to the garden. Glazes and varnishes preserve the natural look of the wood and are available in various wood shades. Colorless or ‘liming’ glazes are also available.

Tip: Glazes and varnishes do not lighten the wood when painting. If this is desired, the surface must be sanded down first.

You achieve a similar effect with wood oil. The oil penetrates the wood and has a certain protective function. In contrast to the glaze, the wood is less protected and has to be treated more often. If the wood is varnished, the garden furniture will not only shine in your desired color, the opaque coating also offers optimal protection. Anyone who paints their wooden furniture can provide additional eye-catcher with garden furniture in trendy colors, but the natural grain of the wood is lost.


Before garden furniture can be painted, a lot of preparatory work is necessary. The surface must be dry and dust-free. Any old paint should also be removed so that the new paint covers well and a closed surface is created. If the surface is not painted, it is sufficient to thoroughly clean the wood with soapy water and then cover it with a fine sandpaper. If the surface is painted, cleaning is carried out with a wire brush and all paint residues are completely removed.

Tip: With particularly stubborn colored areas, pickling paste or pickling gel can make work easier.

If you want to follow a trend and let your garden furniture shine in chic chic, residual paint on the wood creates the desired used look.

Important properties for good wood color

  • permanently durable
  • good covering properties
  • environmentally friendly and non-toxic
  • color stable

Painting to rejuvenate garden furniture – what is needed?

bucket of
soapy water
soft cloth
acrylic paint
wood oil
Grinding machine

Painting for the first time – step by step

  1. Prepare wooden furniture
  2. Cover areas
  3. Paint wooden furniture
  4. Remove the cover

After the surface has been cleaned and paint residues have been removed, the varnish can be applied. If the wood is to be painted white, this will not always be satisfactory on raw wood. Once the paint has dried on, it is not uncommon for the wood pigments to emerge more intensely and the surface becomes yellowish. To prevent this, a primer should be applied in advance.

Use darker colors, do not need to be primed and the lacquer can be applied directly. You work with brushes of different thicknesses. Smooth surfaces can be processed particularly quickly and easily with the paint roller. If surfaces have been taped off on the garden furniture, the adhesive tape should only be removed when the paint has dried completely.

Setting accents
The new color has been applied, but could the garden furniture still have a special eye-catcher? Different colored motifs or decorative edges can be applied with the help of stencils. To do this, let the base color dry well and then fix the stencil to the wood with adhesive tape. The recesses in the template are now painted with a brush. Special stencil brushes are available for this.

Attention: The color is not painted, but only dabbed on. You work from the inside out.

If you spread out the stencil with the paint, you risk that color gets under the stencil edge and the motif ultimately has unclean contours and blurs. If the stencil is used several times, it must be cleared of paint residues after each use.

Repainting to rejuvenate wooden garden furniture

The garden furniture has already been painted, but was that a few years ago? Then you can probably already see it from the paint, it is getting old and flaking off. This is not an inviting sight, but also no reason to dispose of the wooden furniture. If the furniture is repainted, it will shine in old shine and you can use your desired color, no matter what color the old lacquer had.

Instructions – step by step

  1. remove old paint
  2. Roughen the surface
  3. Apply primer
  4. apply new paint

The preparatory work is particularly important if the result is to convince. Only when the old paint layer has been completely removed can the new paint cover well and really convince the result. With a wire brush, peeled paint residue can be removed easily. Then work with a spatula. Now the sandpaper is used. If the wood surface is roughened well, the paint will hold even better later.

Tip: Sanding dust must be removed thoroughly. Use a vacuum cleaner or a soft microfiber cloth for this.

The surface should never be treated with a damp cloth. The wood would absorb the moisture and make it difficult for the color to penetrate. After the pretreatment, the wooden furniture is primed. The primer is applied quickly. Always work in one direction so that a smooth surface is created. Now the primer has to dry well, this is best done overnight.

Attention: Put the garden furniture in the house to dry. Cats, birds or other small animals could otherwise leave marks on the surface and make them repaint.

Once the primer has dried thoroughly and a smooth surface has been created, the colored varnish can be applied. If possible, only work in one direction here too, so that the paint is applied evenly. The garden furniture is dried over night and can be set up in the garden the next day as usual.

Wood oil for a natural look

What is needed?

  • Wood oil
  • brush
  • Paint tray
  • Sandpaper
  • Tarpaulin

If the wood is untreated and you want a natural look, you can rejuvenate wooden garden furniture with special wood oils. So that the wood glaze is absorbed well, the wood has to be sanded down first. Here, too, it should not be forgotten to completely remove the sanding dust from the wooden surface. The wood oil can be worked in with the help of glaze brushes or with a clean cloth. You should always work in the direction of the wood grain.

The treatment of natural woods with maintenance oil or wood glaze should be on the program to rejuvenate wooden garden furniture once a year, preferably in spring. This means that the wooden furniture looks attractive even after years and lasts much longer than untreated wood. As a rule, there is no need to prime when oiling and varnishing wood. 

If the wooden furniture is already glazed, but could now be painted in a lighter shade, wood protection primer should be applied. In general, you can leave the color to your personal taste in the glaze. If the result is not yet satisfactory after a single coat, you can simply glaze a second time.

Caring for and protecting wooden garden furniture properly

When the gardening season begins, wooden furniture deserves care and attention. The furniture is cleaned thoroughly with soapy water. A sponge or a brush is used for this. Microfiber cloths are not suitable because they can extract oil from the wood. After cleaning, rub with a dry cloth so that the wood is completely freed from the soapy water.

The location of the wooden furniture in the garden also has an impact on its lifespan. Garden furniture should not be permanently placed in the sun. Especially when not in use, it is advisable to put the furniture in a shady place.

If garden furniture is placed directly on the surface, the surface of the wood is attacked. This can be prevented by attaching small plastic feet to the underside of the garden furniture. These prevent direct contact with the ground and ensure an air exchange that protects the wood surface.

Tip: Not only plants , but also your wooden furniture should move to a protected and frost-free winter area. Stow the furniture additionally with special cover foils or covers.