Nov 18, 2023

Do I need to stain outdoor furniture? Get the lowdown

Patio furniture can need staining but it's not always the case. Find out when it's the right action to take

Staining outdoor furniture can have benefits. But staining isn't the right course of action for every type and it can even be a mistake for some furniture.

On the positive side, using a stain on furniture might extend its life and keep it looking like it did when you first bought it; advantages worth spending money and time on. But it could, on the other hand, be the wrong move and even detract from its beauty.

To enable you to make a decision about staining your best outdoor furniture we’ve put together a guide to when staining is a great strategy, and the benefits it will bring, and when it's a job you should avoid.

Staining outdoor furniture can have a whole lot of upsides from restoring color to making the wood more water repellent. But it isn't always necessary – let alone desirable – as a course of action.

These are the details you need to know about staining patio furniture so you can avoid making an outdoor furniture mistake.

Staining outdoor furniture can help it to last longer

Staining outdoor furniture can be a task worth taking on. To decide if it's the right strategy consider these questions:

Staining outdoor furniture can be a worthwhile project. These are the reasons why:

Staining can help restore the original color of the wood

There are some possible downsides to staining outdoor furniture. Bear these in mind:

Some outdoor furniture can be painted or stained. Both stains and paint can revive most types of wood patio furniture and give them protection from the weather. Always follow the product instructions including regarding preparation of the surface for good results when painting or staining wood.

Outdoor furniture made from metal can be painted as can that made from plastic. Be sure to use paint made for the particular material and outdoor use.

Staining furniture isn't essential, but it is a great idea for a number of reasons. Although outdoor furniture is weatherproof, staining can make it more water repellent and less subject to other weathering so it is sound and looks good for longer. It can also make the most of the wood's beauty. Staining means more color, too, whether that's closer to the wood's hue when it was new, or a fresh look. It can also make it easier to clean. And while staining will cost you and take up a little time, overall, it's worthwhile.

There are two caveats. Staining is for wood not other types of outdoor furniture. Some of these can be recolored but not with stain. Secondly, don't stain teak. If you want to restore its color, look instead for products designed for use on teak wood.

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she's specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She's written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4's flagship website, 4Homes, and Future's T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future's Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.

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