Painting garden furniture has become hugely fashionable over recent years with the explosion of garden paints. Offering everything from traditional white to shades of grey, soft pastel tones and bright vibrant colours, there’s a garden furniture paint for virtually any garden setting and style.
Why paint garden furniture?
- Older outdoor furniture that has perhaps turned grey or silver can look tired and worn. Painting it with a garden paint is a quicker alternative than trying to restore it to its former, natural appearance
- Garden paints offer a much broader colour spectrum than wood stains and oils. These typically only offer a translucent wood tone or colour.
- Garden paints provide more interesting and contrasting colour options to brighten up and highlight outdoor living spaces
- In addition to adding colour, paints also protect outdoor furniture from weathering and wear, extending the life of older furniture and potentially saving on the cost of replacing it. Some brands of garden paint offer guarantees of up to 10 years
Top 5 recommended garden paints
- Cuprinol Garden Shades: A popular water-based garden paint suitable for wooden patio furniture. Available in over 30 colours including shades of green, blue, grey, pink and more
- Ronseal Garden Paint: A water-based garden paint for outdoor furniture, brick, terracotta and metal surfaces.
- Liberon Garden ColourCare Shed and Building Paint: A multi-purpose garden paint that is perfect for patio furniture and more
- Protek Royal Exterior Paint: A water-based, joinery grade wood paint for all exterior wood including patio furniture
- Johnstone’s Garden Paint: Provides up to four years protection on most types of garden wood, including tables and chairs and other garden wood. Provides an elegant layer of long lasting colour without losing the natural grain of the wood. Available in a wide range of colours
How to paint outdoor furniture
Before painting garden furniture its important to ensure that the wood is clean, dry and free from surface contaminants such as grease, oil or wax. Any signs of mould, algae or mildew should also be cleaned and treated prior to painting. Outside furniture should only be painted after several days of dry, warm weather. Do not paint, if rain or frost is expected.
Always do a test area before starting to paint garden furniture. This is to test colour, adhesion and the final finish of the paint. Doing a test patch on the underside of the table, chair or bench is a good idea. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tin or container at all times.
Preparing and painting garden furniture
- Use a scraper or stiff brush to remove all surface traces of mould, algae and fungi
- Lightly sand all surfaces of the furniture to remove surface, dirt and debris that may have become ingrained in the surface of the wood
- Remove all traces of sanding dust with a tack cloth or slightly dampened cloth
- Ideally, bare wood should be treated with a mould and mildew cleaner to clean the wood and kill off any mould spores in the timber fibers that would regrow
- Degrease the furniture with a cloth dampened with methylated spirit. This is a great way to remove oil, fat or grease stains that could otherwise spoil the finish. This is more important for naturally oily hard wood furniture
- As an option, treat the wood with a wood preservative to protect against mould, algae and insect attack. If using a water-based paint, its important to use a preservative that does not contain wax, oil or silicon as these will repel the paint and prevent it from adhering to the wood
- Stir the paint thoroughly before and periodically during application to ensure a consistent colour finish. Be sure to stir the bottom of the tin as this is where the heavier elements of the paint can sink and collect
- Apply the paint evenly working in the direction of the wood grain
- Allow the first coat to dry in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- Apply a second and any additional coats as required
Can all wooden garden furniture be painted?
Any bare wood or freshly sanded garden furniture should be suitable for painting as long as the wood has been properly prepared and the paint manufacturers instructions followed. Exceptions to this are…
- If wood furniture has been oiled and not properly stripped. As most types of garden paint are water-based, they will not stick to wood that has been previously oiled, or treated with a product that contains oil or wax
- Previous coatings of paint or varnish should be stripped and especially so if they have started to crack, flake and peel. Not all paints and varnishes are compatible so painting over an existing paint or varnish may result in a reaction that will ruin the new coating. Doing a test area is strongly advised
- Wooden patio furniture that is heavily soiled with mould, algae, fungi or other biological growth will prevent the paint from bonding to the surface of the wood. As well as producing a terrible looking finish, chances are that it will start to degrade and flake off in no time. Always treat mould and algae with a suitable wooden garden furniture cleaner before painting
- No amount of painting is going to restore or protect garden furniture that is already rotten. It’s probably best to save the money allocated for paint and use it towards buying and protecting a new wooden patio furniture set
Alternatives to painting
If a more natural finish is preferred, our recommendation would be to consider other types of exterior wood finishes such as garden furniture oils, garden furniture stains These types of furniture finishes will help to restore the original finish of weathered garden furniture.
For more information on how to restore the natural finish of previously oiled garden furniture, read about patio and garden furniture cleaners and restorers here. Once all traces of mould, algae, lichens and other biological growth have been cleaned and removed, outside wooden furniture is ready for re-staining or oiling.