Best Ways To Preserve & Maintain Outdoor Wooden Furniture 

If you purchase a product through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

You may have outdoor space like a backyard or garden where you have a deck or patio. If so, you are likely to have some outdoor furniture ranged around. We get outdoor furniture made of different materials like steel, plastic, and wood. If you have outdoor furniture made of wood, you need to take certain precautions to preserve it.

You can take care of your outdoor furniture in various ways. Only selecting suitable wood for your purpose is not enough. There are other considerations that you need to make, and follow certain best practices. Here we discuss some aspects of how to care for your outdoor furniture to enhance its durability.

How To Care Of Outdoor Wood Furniture

Outdoor furniture tends to deteriorate with exposure to the elements. For example, the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, rain, extreme heat or cold, high atmospheric moisture. All these contribute to deteriorating the condition of the wood.

And, other than the wood, you need to consider the negative impact on non-wood items like screws, handles, and hinges. Hence, if you follow these tips to maintain your outdoor furniture, it will last much longer than if you leave it unattended.

Here is some information on what affects your outdoor furniture and what you can do to prevent the adverse effects:

Choice Of Wood

Types of wood
Types of wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The wood used in outdoor wooden furniture needs to be selected carefully. Some types of wood are not suited for outdoor use. Other varieties of wood may not be suitable on their own but perform well if treated.

We deal with the types of wood for outdoor furniture in another interesting post, so you would do well to read that as well.

Hence, before you put your money down on outdoor furniture, you need to consider what type of wood it needs to be. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where will the furniture be? In the shade or the sun?
  • Will the furniture be placed on the ground?
  • What are the weather conditions?
  • Do you live in a coastal area?
  • Will you need to move the furniture around frequently? (Then you need less bulky furniture made from lighter wood).

Exposure To Water

Wood surface with water droplets
Wood surface with water droplets (Image: SnapwireSnaps)

You may have wooden furniture in an area prone to frequent rainfall and high levels of humidity. Then, you need to ensure that it is moisture resistant.  Prolonged exposure of wood to moisture can deteriorate the wood. It can also lead to health issues due to the accumulation of mold and bacteria.

Rust-Proof Materials

Wood with rusty nails
Wood with rusty nails (Image: Denkfalle)

We tend to focus only on the wood that we use for making outdoor furniture. But, what about other materials you may use? For instance, you also need to pay special attention to metal accessories, like clasps, hinges, fasteners and handles.

Because the furniture gets exposed to the elements, you have to use rust-free materials like stainless-steel or metal that is plated or coated against corrosion. Metal tends to corrode more rapidly in coastal areas due to the saline atmosphere.

Termite Proofing

Bonide (BND568) - Termite and Carpenter Ant Killer, Insecticide/Pesticide Concentrate (32 oz.)
Bonide Termite and Carpenter Ant Killer. See on Amazon.

You also need to ensure adequate protection to your outside wooden furniture against termites. Although termites can attack indoor furniture as well, wood left outside is more prone to them. Fortunately, you can get a wide range of chemicals to treat wood against termites.

Windy Locations

A gale-force wind can cause untold damage to your garden furniture. Hence, if you live in an area frequented by high winds, then ensure your outdoor furniture is adequately heavy or firmly secured.

Tendency To Crack And Warp

Cracked wooden chair
Cracked wooden chair (Image: orange31)

When exposed to the elements, wood tends to crack and warp. You will find this occurs mainly due to extreme temperatures. When wooden furniture cracks and warps, it looks unsightly and can become uncomfortable to use.


Continual exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can bleach the wood, and it will lose its natural sheen. It sometimes results in the formation of an appealing patina. If you want to avoid fading, you need to provide some shade for your outdoor furniture.

Essential Tips For Outdoor Furniture Care

Wood dining set
Wood dining set (Image: Engin_Akyurt)

Now, you know about the factors that contribute to the deterioration of outdoor furniture. You will surely wonder what best practices you can adopt for the preservation of your valuable outdoor furniture. Here are a few useful tips that should go a long way in keeping it in prime condition:

Compatible Wood

Choose furniture made of wood suitable for outdoor use.

Special Care For Wicker Furniture

For maintaining wicker furniture, you need to take it indoors and clean it using mild detergent, soft brushes, and a vacuum cleaner.

Frequent Washing

Regularly wash your outdoor furniture with mild detergent and water. You can use dishwater detergent or oxygen bleach to get rid of mold and stubborn stains.

Adequate Finishing

The surface of outdoor furniture needs to be adequately finished with suitable oils and varnishes.

You can refer to our article on “The Best Wood Finish For Outdoor Furniturefor further details on some suitable wood finishes you can use.

Regular Varnishing/Oiling

Apply varnish, oil, or paint at least once a year to extend the durability of your outdoor furniture.

Apply Sealants

If you want your wooden furniture to retain its new look and color, you can apply sealants every few years.

Covering As Required

You can cover your furniture in case of bad weather.

Inside Storage During Winter

Consider storing your outdoor furniture inside if you live in a place prone to harsh winters.


Having an outdoor space is something that everyone does not have. Hence, if you have it, you need to make the most of it. Even the smallest areas around your home are likely to have some wooden furniture in it. You need to take specific steps to preserve your outside wooden furniture.

Many of us make the mistake of assuming that because the wood is for outdoor purposes, it will be durable. However, when it comes to outdoor use, durability has its limitations. Once you understand what your outdoor furniture is up against, you will realize how it can deteriorate without appropriate maintenance. If you follow the tips we have provided here, your outdoor furniture will last for years and years.

Featured Image by Engin_Akyurt