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Wooden Garden Furniture Maintenance and Care Guide

Wood is undoubtedly one of the best materials to style your garden with. It’s relatively easy to care for, and both rustic and modern wooden pieces look right at home in a natural environment.

But in terms of maintenance, there are a few simple rules and wood basics to know to keep your wooden pieces in top condition for decades. Yes, you’ll need to take extra care over the winter months. But most serious issues can be prevented.

Whether you already have wooden garden furniture in your garden or are just thinking about investing in it, read on to find out about the basic strategies to make it last for longer.

Of course, the first step is to invest in high-quality items and treat them with care. While wooden garden furniture has been designed to tolerate different weather conditions and the outdoor environment, it will still need appropriate care to keep it in great shape.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you keep your wooden garden furniture in good condition – so add them to your yearly maintenance checklist now!

Expecting a long period of bad weather? Store furniture indoors

While it would be great to be able to keep your garden furniture out throughout the year, it simply isn’t possible with our weather. If you have some clutter-free storage space outdoors, such as a shed or a summerhouse, stash your wooden furniture inside when expecting long periods of rain or extremely cold weather conditions. Another way to take care of your furniture is to use seat cushions – think less wear and tear from buttons and even keys scratching the surface with everyone who sits down!

Keep up with regular cleaning sessions

There’s no reason why your garden furniture shouldn’t last many years. Simply remain consistent with your cleaning sessions. It doesn’t have to be too time consuming or complicated. Much of the dirt and debris you’ll see on your hardwood garden pieces are easy enough to clean using just soapy water and a sponge. We’d recommend using a wood-cleaning product for softwood items.

Have a large number of pieces to clean? You may want to invest in a high-pressure spray that can blast out water for quick and easy cleaning.

Even if you don’t spot any obvious signs of dirt or decay, it’s important that you still clean garden furniture on a regular basis, especially softwood items. Without regular cleaning, daily exposure to the elements can result in issues such as mould and rot over time. You can also keep your furniture both clean and mould-free by using furniture covers when not in use.

Deal with any signs of mould or fungus immediately

Spotted mould or fungus on your pieces? This could be due to harsh weather conditions and damp setting in, or even leaks in your storage space. Unfortunately, this can happen even if you regularly care for your garden furniture. It’s important to tackle it with a specialist cleaning product as soon as you spot it.

Start by washing the wood with a special wood cleaner. There are many cleaning solutions dedicated to eliminating mould available, and they’re easy to use. All you need to do is scrub the area using the liquid and follow the specific product instructions.  Once you’ve completed the treatment and your furniture is dry, finish off with an oil treatment.

To prevent mould from forming too often, get your garden furniture treated with a special preservative designed for wooden items.

Use specific treatments for hardwood and softwood pieces
Image Credit: Unsplash

Use specific treatments for hardwood and softwood pieces

Hardwood garden furniture, such as teak or eucalyptus items, tend to be on the more expensive side. The upside is that these pieces are highly durable and can last longer than softwood pieces if treated properly. Clean them with soapy water at least twice a year and you’re unlikely to face any issues. This amount of cleaning will be sufficient to keep any algae in check.

We’d also recommend using a high grade oil for maintenance. Not only will this add a luxurious sheen,  but it’ll also help maintain its good-as-new condition for longer.

Softwood garden furniture, such as pine pieces, are on the cheaper side. However, they do require more regular care. Clean them regularly with a special wood-cleaning product to maintain their condition. You should also treat them with a high-quality wood preservative. This is an important preventative step as softwood is more likely to suffer from rot over the years. Be careful, if you own a glass-topped dining table, not stain the top with wood treatment.

We’d also recommend investing in an oil-based stain to keep your softwood pieces looking great.

Use the correct removal methods for different types of paint

Keen to refresh the appearance of your furniture? Here are the best methods to remove paint from wood:

  • Emulsion paint: Emulsion paint should be removed manually by scraping or sanding. We’d also recommend using a paint stripper. It may be possible that the emulsion is embedded deep into the wood. If you can’t remove it entirely, use dark wood stain to hide the colour when renovating garden furniture.
  • Gloss paint: After scratching the area you wish to remove gloss paint from, apply paint stripper to work its magic. Once you’ve left it on for the appropriate time (based on the product instructions) remove any remaining substance with a scraper.
  • Varnish: Products such as varnish and lacquer are used to protect your wooden garden furniture from signs of wear and tear. Remove them using chemical strippers or sanding.

Carry out maintenance when furniture is dry

Finally, save any maintenance sessions for when the weather is guaranteed to be dry. You don’t want to spend considerable time applying preservative treatments or removal products to find that the rain immediately washes all your hard work away.

Double check to make sure that all pieces are bone dry before any oil treatment. Apply oil at least twice a year and right before you store your furniture away for winter.

All garden furniture cleaning should also be carried out in dry weather. To avoid mould, you’ll want to ensure that your newly washed furniture has enough sunlight to dry quickly.