waterproofing outdoor furniture

Outdoor space is at a premium, and many of us have chosen to make the most of our yards with distinctive furniture. However, since the Tampa area is no stranger to afternoon thunderstorms, keeping your patio furniture looking its best can be a challenge.  One way to help extend the longevity and beauty of your backyard is by waterproofing outdoor furniture. 

In this post, I will be sharing popular methods for waterproofing outdoor furniture that anyone can tackle. Be sure to take safety precautions like wearing a mask when working with aerosols or when sanding. Safety glasses are a good idea too!

Waterproofing Outdoor Furniture: Wood

Wooden furniture has a classic, traditional look to it. And while weathered wood furniture maintains a certain beauty, to extend the lifespan of your furniture, you will want to seal it with a transparent deck stain or lacquer if it did not come sealed. 

Bob Villa, the popular DIY-er, offers three ways to waterproof your wooden furniture:

  • “Use linseed or Tung oil to create a beautiful and protective hand-rubbed finish.
  • Seal the wood with a coating of polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer.
  • Finish and waterproof wood simultaneously with a stain-sealant combo.”

After your wooden furniture has been sealed, stained, or lacquered, you can easily clean it with water and gentle dish soap. If you use a specialized coating, be sure to check for any additional cleaning information on the back of the bottle. 

You should reapply your waterproofing lacquer or stain every 2 to 3 years to get the maximum life out of your furniture.

If your wooden furniture came pre-sealed, check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding resealing and maintaining a waterproof finish.

Waterproofing Outdoor Furniture: Wicker

Wicker is a classic outdoor material for furniture. However, all of those little woven pieces create plenty of opportunities for water to sneak in and start deteriorating your furniture.

Wicker furniture is generally made from reeds, rattan, bamboo, or willow. However, now you can find plastic wicker on the market. 

If you opt for a plastic wicker option, there is no need to waterproof your furniture. It is already protected. For plastic wicker furniture, you will want to minimize the amount of time it spends in the sun as those UV rays can fade the color of plastic.

For wicker made from organic materials, you will want to use a spray varnish to create a barrier on the wicker. Follow the instructions on the back of your spray varnish, which may include first cleaning your wicker furniture and applying multiple coats. Make sure to wear a mask to protect your lungs. Be sure to tackle this project outside and protect the ground with a tarp or other protective coverings.

Waterproofing Outdoor Furniture: Metal

Metal is a popular outdoor furniture option because it is long-lasting and can stand up to a lot. Unfortunately, water and metal generally do not mix. To ensure that your metal furniture stands the test of time (and weather), keep an eye out for any rust spots or areas where the paint is peeling.

If you experience these issues, you can sand down the finish on your metal furniture and use anti-rust spray paint to give it new life.

To safely apply this, make sure to work in an open area. Cover the ground where you will be working, and wear a mask when sanding or using spray paint. Follow the directions on the bottle to make sure you get even, thorough coverage.

When thinking about what to waterproof, do not stop at metal chairs and tables. Think about the frames on your favorite items too. For example, if you have a hammock held up by a metal frame or cocoon chair secured to a metal frame, give those frames a once-over regularly to help protect them from water damage.

Waterproofing Outdoor Furniture: Fabric 

Outdoor cushions help make seating more comfortable, and they can also create new seating options. Outdoor poufs, hammock chairs, and other fabric-based furniture are often sewn from outdoor-friendly fabric that is already weather-proofed.  

If you want to take fabric that is meant for indoor use outside, you will want to use a waterproofing spray like Scotch Guard. To use such a spray, find a well-ventilated area, preferably outside, and thoroughly coat the fabric. Let it dry completely before applying a second coat.

Fabric can get dirty with regular use and may fade from the sun. If you want to maintain your bright or white shades, keep your favorite fabric items under a shade or umbrella. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to deal with any stains from ice cream, popsicles, and other yummy outdoor treats.

A Note on Rugs

Outdoor rugs have become increasingly popular as a way to create separate spaces outside. They help to give an area a finished look. However, depending on the type of material your outdoor rug is made from, it may trap water and stay wet. After it rains, check that your rug dries quickly. If it does not, you may want to move it onto a paved surface so that it does not damage wood decking or furniture by keeping those materials wet.

Wrapping Up

While waterproofing helps provide some protection from the elements, there is one element you cannot apply lacquer. If strong winds are projected, it is time to batten down the hatches and move any outdoor furniture into the garage, shed or other enclosed space. Outdoor furniture can turn into a projectile during major storms and can lead to broken windows, dented siding, and more. You do not want to risk damage to your home, so be sure to take a few moments to move things inside when the forecast calls for strong winds.

Not happy with your current backyard status? If you need more space to make your backyard dreams a reality, let’s talk! I can help you find a home with plenty of outdoor space so you can create your backyard oasis.