Garden Furniture FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Maintaining garden furniture will help to keep it protected and looking great. Well maintained wooden patio or garden furniture will last considerably longer than furniture that has not been treated and protected. With the cost of replacing garden furniture potentially costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds, this is an expense that you will want to avoid.

At ‘Home Gardener’, we get asked a lot about garden furniture care and maintenance. Here we try to answer many of the more commonly asked questions.

Garden Furniture FAQ’s

Click on a question to be taken to the answer below.

(Q) can you use fence paint on garden furniture?

(A) It depends on what type of paint it is and also the condition of the furniture.

Many garden paints or fence paints are water-based and perfectly safe for use on garden furniture. They are ideal on most types of bare-wood garden furniture or furniture that has not been oiled, varnished or stained. If the furniture has been previously painted or stained it will require sanding to remove any lose, flaking material and to provide a key for the paint. If it has been previously oiled it will need to be thoroughly sanded and degreased with Methylated Spirit to remove all traces of oil from the wood.

Previously oiled garden furniture that has not been re-oiled for a number of years and allowed to weather should be fine to paint after a light sanding to remove ingrained surface dirt and debris.

If the furniture shows any signs of mould, algae or fungi, it will need to treating with a garden furniture cleaner first. This will remove all traces of biological growth and kill off any mould or algae spores in the surface of the wood. Outdoor furniture can then be treated with a wax free wood preservative. Using a wood preserver that contains wax or silicon will likely prevent the paint from adhering to the furniture surface.

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(Q) What should I use to protect my wooden garden furniture?

(A) This very much depends on the type and condition of the garden furniture you have, if it’s new or old and if it is bare wood or has been pre-treated. It also depends on the type of finish desired. is a natural, wood looked prefered or a more colourful painted look? There is no simple answer to this question and we recommend that you read our garden furniture care and maintenance guide. This explains in more detail the various types of garden furniture treatments that can be used to preserve and protect, softwood and hardwood patio and garden furniture. Find out more about the differences and benefits of wood preservers, stains, oils, varnishes, paints and restorers.

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(Q) How do you keep garden furniture from rotting?

(A) The way to prevent wood rot is to ensure that the wood is protected with a wood preserver and a top coat of oil, varnish, paint or other suitable top-coat. This is important for both softwood and hardwood garden benches and furniture but more so for softwood. Wood preservers also offer protection against mould and algae, a common issue with garden furniture that if left untreated, can accelerate wood rot.

If mould or algae is already present on the wood, the wood should be treated with a fungicidal wash or mould and mildew cleaner before treating with a wood preserver.

It is recommended that any garden furniture that has been treated with a wood preserver is also treated with a top-coat. This seals in the preserver making it more effective for longer and also prevents direct to skin contact with the preservative.

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(Q) How do I restore my garden furniture?

(A) When talking about garden furniture restoration, this is usually where the wood has turned grey or silver as a result of UV and water damage. The good news is that this natural chemical process can be reversed by using a wood or garden furniture restorer. This will help to restore the natural colour of the timber which can then be preserved and oiled. This process can restore tired and worn garden furniture to make it look like new again in many cases.

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(Q) Should I oil wooden garden furniture?

(A) This depends on if the furniture is bare wood or has been previously treated. Bare wood and previously oiled garden furniture can be oiled or re-oiled. If the wood has been treated with a silicon-based wood preserver or top-coat such as a varnish, stain or paint, it cannot be oiled. You can find out more about the various clear and coloured wood oil options for garden furniture here.

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(Q) How do you weatherproof a wooden garden bench?

(A) Weatherproofing a garden bench can be achieved in a number of ways. The most common approach and the easiest to maintain is to use a garden furniture oil. This is the ideal solution for bare wood or previously oiled garden furniture. Exterior wood varnishes, paints and stains can also be used but the wood must be carefully prepared and be absolutely dry before applying these. For more information on the various types of garden furntiture finishes, see our garden furniture care and maintenance guide.

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Types of Garden Furniture Treatments

With so many wood treatments available, that seal, protect, and waterproof garden furniture, deciding on which is best for your project can seem difficult. Factors such as the age, condition, and if the furniture has been previously treated can all play a part in knowing which wood treatment to use. For a general ‘overview’ of garden furniture treatments, see our ‘Garden Furniture Care & Maintenance‘ page.

For a more detailed explanation of each patio or garden furniture treatment type, follow the links below: –

Do you have a garden fence care and maintainance related question that we haven’t covered above? Let us know and if it is something that we get asked more than a couple of times, we’ll add it to this page along with the answer to help other site visitors.

We cover a wide range garden wood care topics including sheds, fences, decking and more. If you’re looking for answers to many of the common problems and issues that can affect these garden fixtures and fittings, visit our FAQ index page for more answers and solutions to these problems.


We always recommend that test areas are done to assess product suitability and final finish, before starting any project. For technical advice, troubleshooting or any other product or situational queries, always refer to the product manufacturer’s published information and guidance. For technical information on products and their suitability for a given project, contact the manufacturer’s technical support departments directly. Contact details including phone numbers can usually be found on the manufacturer’s products and/or website. cannot be held responsible in any way, shape or form for the guidance given in our gardening faq’s or any other part or page of our website. This is due to the unpredictable nature of wood, its age, species, condition, previous history including previous treatments and/or contamination, environmental, and application considerations, which can all differ from one piece of wood to the next and which will ultimately have an effect on any wood finish applied, including but not limited to suitability, colour, performance and overall results. If in any doubt about the suitability of a product for a given project, always contact the product manufacturer before starting any project or seek the advice of a professional contractor.