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How to Waterproof Your Wooden Garden Furniture

Easy to follow guide on how to waterproof your wooden garden furniture. Protect all your outdoor favourites from the UK weather.

When it comes to enjoying your garden, there's nothing quite like the look and feel of wooden garden furniture. It adds a rustic charm, whether you're lounging on a wooden bench or hosting a summertime barbie at your outdoor dining table and chairs. But let's be honest—British weather is about as predictable as a game of bingo. One moment it's sunny and you're reaching for the sun cream, and the next, it's chucking it down.

So, how do you keep your chunky wooden garden furniture, wood garden benches, and wooden planters looking spiffy through unpredictable weather? The answer is simple: waterproofing. Below, we walk you through the must-know steps to ensure your garden furniture stands the test of time.


Why Waterproofing Matters

Waterproofing your wooden garden furniture isn't merely a cosmetic upgrade; it's an investment in the longevity and functionality of your garden pieces. The benefits of this essential maintenance practice go far beyond keeping your outdoor dining table and chairs dry. Here's a more detailed look at why waterproofing should be on your gardening to-do list:

Longevity: An Investment That Pays Off

When you invest in quality wooden garden furniture, such as a chic wood garden bench or an elegant set of outdoor dining table and chairs, you're not just buying items for a single season. You're investing in pieces that should serve you for years to come. By waterproofing your furniture, you prolong its lifespan, making sure that you get the most value for your money. This allows you to put off constantly shopping for cheap garden furniture replacements, saving you not only money but also the effort involved in furniture hunting.

Aesthetic Appeal: Keeping It Looking Shipshape

Untreated wooden furniture exposed to the elements can quickly deteriorate in appearance. The wood may begin to split, the colour can fade, and you might even see the onset of rot. Waterproofing maintains the original sheen and hue of your chunky wooden garden furniture, ensuring that it looks as inviting as the day you bought it. When your garden looks good, it becomes a more appealing space to relax and entertain, enhancing your overall quality of life.

Functionality: Always Ready, Come Rain or Shine

British weather is notoriously fickle. One moment you're basking in a glorious sunbeam; the next, you're dashing inside to escape a sudden downpour. Waterproofed furniture is more resilient to these sudden changes. The sealant acts as a barrier, repelling water and preventing damage. This means your wooden bench remains a comfortable place to sit, and your outdoor dining table and chairs are always ready for an alfresco meal.

Eco-Friendly: A Win for You and the Planet

When you continuously replace damaged or worn-out garden furniture, it’s not just your wallet that takes a hit; it's also the environment. More production means more resources consumed and more waste generated. By prolonging the life of your existing furniture through waterproofing, you're also playing a small but important part in resource conservation.

Health and Safety: Slip and Splinter Free

Wet wooden surfaces can become slippery, posing a risk of slips and falls. Plus, damaged and eroded wood can develop splinters, which are a pain in more ways than one. Waterproofing reduces these risks, making your garden a safer place for everyone, from the little ones to the elderly.

So, it's clear that waterproofing your wooden garden furniture is far from a trivial task. It’s an essential part of gardening care that maximises your investment, preserves beauty, ensures functionality, and even contributes to environmental sustainability and personal safety. No matter how you look at it, waterproofing is well worth the elbow grease.


Step 1 - Understanding Wood Types for Effective Waterproofing

Knowing the type of wood your garden furniture is made from is crucial for effective waterproofing. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation; different types of wood have unique characteristics that make them more or less susceptible to water damage. Here's a closer look at why this knowledge is key and what to consider when you're dealing with popular wood types like teak and pine.

The Importance of Wood Type

Selecting the right sealant or waterproofing treatment hinges on knowing what kind of wood you're dealing with. Some sealants may be excellent for hardwoods but ineffective or even damaging to softwoods, and vice versa. Additionally, the wood's natural oils, grain pattern, and density can all affect how well a sealant will adhere and protect the furniture. Getting this step right ensures that your wood garden bench or chunky wooden garden furniture will stay in prime condition for years to come.

Teak: The Hardwood Champion

Teak is a popular choice for high-quality wooden garden furniture due to its natural resistance to rot and decay. Its dense grain and natural oils make it one of the most durable hardwoods available. Teak generally requires less maintenance than other wood types but will benefit from an oil-based sealant designed specifically for hardwoods. This will help maintain its rich, golden colour and protect it from greying over time.

Tips for Teak:

  • Use a teak-specific sealant or oil for best results.
  • A light sanding before application can help the sealant adhere better.
  • Because of its natural resistance, teak may require less frequent reapplications of sealant compared to other wood types.

Pine: The Softwood Star

Pine is another common material used for cheap garden furniture and plant pots. It's more affordable than teak but is also more susceptible to rot, decay, and insect damage. Softwoods like pine absorb water more readily than hardwoods, so a water-based sealant that penetrates the wood deeply is generally the best choice.

Tips for Pine:

  • Opt for a water-based sealant specially formulated for softwoods.
  • Pine may require multiple coats for effective waterproofing.
  • Due to its susceptibility to the elements, consider reapplying the sealant annually or even more frequently depending on the weather conditions.

Read the Label

Whether you're dealing with a teak outdoor dining table and chairs or a pine wooden bench, always read the supplied product instructions for specific application instructions and compatibility information. Manufacturers often provide insights on which types of wood their product is best suited for.

Knowing what type of wood you’re dealing with is more than just woodwork trivia; it’s essential information that guides your choice of waterproofing products. Paying attention to this detail can mean the difference between furniture that endures for seasons on end and items that deteriorate after just a few short months. So before you even uncap that sealant, make sure you know your wood. It’s a simple step, but one that lays the foundation for effective, long-lasting protection.


Step 2 - Clean and Prepare: Effective Waterproofing for the Garden

Skipping the cleaning and preparation steps in waterproofing is akin to painting over a dirty canvas. You might be able to do it, but the results won’t be pretty—or durable. Properly preparing your wooden garden furniture ensures that the waterproofing sealant adheres well to the wood, offering optimal protection for your outdoor dining table and chairs, wooden planters, or that lovely wood garden bench. Here’s how to get your wooden pieces in tip-top shape for waterproofing:

Initial Cleaning

Tools Needed:

  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge


  1. Remove Loose Debris: Before you dive into more intensive cleaning, give your furniture a good brush down with a soft-bristle brush to remove leaves, dirt, and cobwebs.
  2. Soapy Wash: Create a mixture of mild soap and water. Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrub the wood to remove grime, bird droppings, or moss. Avoid using harsh detergents as they can strip the wood of its natural oils.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Use clean water to rinse off the soap, then let the furniture dry completely. This is crucial; applying sealant to damp wood can trap moisture, leading to potential rot.

Surface Preparation

Tools Needed:

  • Sandpaper (medium and fine-grit)
  • Tack cloth or a soft, dry cloth
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask


  1. Remove Old Paint or Varnish: If your furniture has been previously painted or varnished, you’ll need to remove this layer. Use medium-grit sandpaper to gently sand the surface.
  2. Smoothing: After the old coatings are removed, switch to fine-grit sandpaper. Sand the furniture again to achieve a smooth, even surface. This makes it easier for the sealant to adhere properly.
  3. Dust Off: Sanding can leave a layer of fine wood dust. Use a tack cloth or a soft, dry cloth to remove this dust, ensuring a clean surface for the sealant to adhere to.
  4. Safety First: Always remember to wear safety goggles and a dust mask while sanding to protect yourself from wood dust and particles.

Optional: Patching Up

If your furniture has cracks or small holes, this is the time to fill them. Use a wood filler that's suitable for outdoor use. After applying, let it dry before sanding it down to level with the rest of the surface.

Why These Steps Are Crucial

Adequate cleaning and surface preparation are not corners you want to cut. Dirty or uneven surfaces can lead to poor adhesion of the sealant, rendering your waterproofing efforts ineffective. Given that you're taking the time to improve the longevity and appearance of your wooden garden furniture, you'll want to do it right. Proper preparation not only enhances the durability of your furniture but also elevates its aesthetic appeal, allowing you to fully enjoy your outdoor sanctuary.

By spending a bit of time on these preparatory steps, you set the stage for a successful waterproofing job that will keep your garden furniture looking fabulous for years to come.


Step 3 - Apply a Primer: Setting the Stage for Lasting Protection

Think of applying primer to your wooden garden furniture as laying down the foundation for a house. Just as a solid foundation provides stability for the building, a high-quality primer creates an ideal surface for your waterproofing sealant to adhere to. Whether it’s your beloved wood garden bench or your sturdy outdoor dining table and chairs, priming is an essential step you don’t want to overlook. Here's why it's crucial and how to go about it:

The Importance of Primer

  • Better Adhesion: Applying a primer offers the benefit of better adhesion for the sealant. This makes the sealant layer more effective, durable, and long-lasting. If you’re investing time and effort into waterproofing, you want those efforts to count.
  • Enhanced Durability: Primer creates a more resilient layer that fortifies the wood against the wear and tear of outdoor life, including exposure to the UK’s unpredictable weather.
  • Improved Aesthetic Finish: Primer can enhance the visual appeal of your wooden furniture, making the grain and colour of the wood stand out more distinctly once the final waterproofing sealant is applied.

Choosing the Right Primer

Different wood types may require different kinds of primer, and various primers are formulated to perform specific functions. For hardwoods like teak, oil-based primers are often recommended. For softwoods like pine, a high-quality water-based primer may be ideal. Always read the label carefully and, if in doubt, consult a professional or perform a patch test.

How to Apply Primer

Tools Needed:

  • Primer appropriate for your wood type
  • High-quality paintbrush or foam brush
  • Gloves
  • Protective sheet or tarp
  • Safety goggles


  1. Setup: Lay down a protective sheet or tarp under the furniture to catch any spills or drips. Make sure you're in a well-ventilated area, and put on safety goggles and gloves for protection.
  2. Stir, Don’t Shake: Stir the primer gently to mix it well. Shaking can create air bubbles, which you'll want to avoid.
  3. Brushing Technique: Use a high-quality paintbrush or foam brush to apply the primer. Follow the grain of the wood for a smoother finish. Make sure you cover all surfaces, including corners and crevices.
  4. Dry Time: Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Drying time can vary, so read the instructions on the label for specifics.
  5. Optional: Light Sanding: For an ultra-smooth finish, some people prefer to lightly sand the primed surface with fine-grit sandpaper once it’s dry. If you opt for this, remember to remove the sanding dust with a clean cloth before proceeding to apply the sealant.

    By taking the time to properly apply a primer, you're setting the stage for a successful, long-lasting waterproofing job. It’s an investment of time and effort that will pay off in spades, helping to keep your wooden garden furniture both functional and good-looking through many seasons of British weather.


    Step 4 - Seal the Deal: The Final Step in Waterproofing Your Wooden Garden Furniture

    You've cleaned, prepared, and primed your furniture. Now, it's time for the grand finale—the application of the waterproof sealant. This is the crucial step that locks in all your hard work, safeguarding your wooden garden furniture against the relentless British weather. Whether it's your chunky wooden garden furniture or that cosy wooden bench, sealing effectively is the final touch that will ensure their longevity and beauty. Here's how to do it right:

    The Importance of Sealing

    The Protective Barrier

    The sealant acts as an invisible shield, repelling water and preventing moisture from penetrating the wood. This is especially beneficial for items like outdoor dining table and chairs, where durability is crucial.

    Colour Retention

    The right sealant can help maintain the natural colour of the wood, preventing unsightly fading or discolouration due to sun exposure.

    Reduced Maintenance

    A well-sealed piece of furniture is easier to clean and less susceptible to staining. This means less scrubbing and more time enjoying your garden.

    Choosing the Right Sealant

    When it comes to sealants, one size does not fit all. For hardwoods like teak, you may opt for an oil-based sealant designed to penetrate deeply into the wood. For softwoods like pine, a water-based sealant might be your best bet. Always read the label for application guidelines and compatibility information.

    How to Apply Sealant

    Tools Needed:

    • Appropriate sealant for your wood type
    • Paintbrush or foam brush
    • Paint tray or shallow container
    • Gloves
    • Safety goggles
    • Protective sheet or tarp


    1. Safety First: Ensure you're working in a well-ventilated area and lay down a protective sheet or tarp under the furniture. Don your safety goggles and gloves for personal protection.
    2. Preparation: Pour your chosen sealant into a paint tray or a shallow container. As with the primer, stir the sealant gently to mix it well but avoid creating air bubbles.
    3. Even Application: Dip your paintbrush or foam brush into the sealant, ensuring it's well-coated but not dripping. Apply the sealant in smooth, even strokes, following the grain of the wood. Pay attention to corners, nooks, and crannies to ensure full coverage.
    4. Double Coat: For most types of wooden garden furniture, a second coat of sealant is advisable for optimal protection. Make sure you allow adequate drying time between coats as specified by the manufacturer.
    5. Final Drying: Once the final coat is on, leave the furniture to dry completely based on the recommended time on the sealant's label.
    6. Inspect: After the sealant has dried, inspect your work to ensure there are no missed spots or uneven areas. If necessary, touch up as needed.

    Sealing is more than just the final step; it's the crux of the entire waterproofing process. By meticulously applying a high-quality sealant, you're not just prolonging the life of your wooden garden furniture—you're enhancing your entire outdoor experience. So go ahead, seal the deal, and look forward to many more seasons of enjoyment in your splendid British garden.


    Step 5 - Regular Maintenance: The Key to Long-Lasting Wooden Garden Furniture

    Congratulations! You've navigated through the cleaning, priming, and sealing processes to waterproof your wooden garden furniture. But your journey towards durable and stunning outdoor pieces doesn't end here. Regular maintenance is the unsung hero that ensures your waterproofing efforts stand the test of time. Whether it’s your chic outdoor dining table and chairs or those charming wooden planters and plant pots, a bit of TLC will go a long way. Here's why regular upkeep is crucial and how to make it part of your routine.

    The Importance of Regular Maintenance


    A well-maintained piece of furniture will naturally last longer. Regular upkeep minimizes wear and tear, ensuring your investment stands up to the British elements year-round.

    Aesthetic Appeal

    Maintenance keeps your furniture looking its best. Imagine your wooden bench as a centrepiece in your garden: regular care ensures it stays as a showpiece rather than becoming an eyesore.


    In the long run, regular maintenance can be more cost-effective than replacing neglected, damaged furniture. With a bit of upkeep, even cheap garden furniture can give you years of service.

    Maintenance Tips

    Periodic Cleaning

    Even with a robust sealant, dirt and grime can accumulate on your furniture. Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaning solution to wipe down the surfaces periodically. For tougher grime, a soft-bristle brush can come in handy.


    Your furniture may require a new coat of sealant every couple of years, or even more often for high-use items. Always check the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific type of wood and sealant.

    Winter Storage

    While many types of wooden garden furniture are robust enough to withstand winter weather, storing your items in a shed or covering them with weather-resistant covers can provide added protection.

    Check for Wear and Tear

    Inspect your furniture regularly for signs of damage, such as cracks, splinters, or loose screws. Small issues are much easier (and cheaper) to fix when caught early.

    Cushion Care

    If your furniture includes cushions or fabric elements, don't forget these in your maintenance routine. Wash or replace the fabric as needed and ensure it is thoroughly dry before storing to prevent mould.

    Mind the Plants

    If you have plant pots or wooden planters, make sure they have proper drainage to prevent water accumulation, which could lead to wood rot.

    By incorporating regular maintenance tasks into your gardening routine, you're not just preserving the condition of your furniture; you're also enhancing the overall aesthetic and comfort of your outdoor sanctuary. Time spent in regular upkeep pays off in spades, adding years to the life of your furniture and an extra dose of charm to your garden. So grab those gardening gloves and give your wooden garden furniture the regular love and attention it deserves.


    Don't Forget Your Garden Decor!

    Waterproofing isn’t just for your big-ticket items like wooden garden furniture or your robust wood garden bench. Think about your wooden planters and plant pots too. Just as you'd tend to your blooming roses and vibrant hydrangeas, you'll want to lavish a little TLC on these items.

    The Perks of Choosing Our Range

    Looking to elevate your outdoor living space further? Our range of cheap garden furniture, plant pots, and gardening decor ticks all the boxes:

    • Stylish Designs: From contemporary wooden planters to rustic outdoor dining table and chairs, find something that aligns with your aesthetic.
    • High-Quality Materials: We use top-tier wood to create chunky wooden garden furniture that's as durable as it is eye-catching.
    • Affordable: No need to break the bank—our range offers fantastic quality at wallet-friendly prices.

    So, if you're keen on keeping your garden looking as lovely as a picture, you can't skimp on protecting your wooden garden assets. Waterproofing might take a bit of time, but it's well worth it to keep your outdoor oasis looking fab, come rain or shine.

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