Oil vs painting wooden outdoor furniture

by Julie Finch-Scally

After four years of constantly living in the elements our outdoor furniture was starting to look very tired.  We have made a point of coating the table and chairs with special outdoor furniture oil every Spring and Autumn, but for some reason or other we missed out last Spring.  The question was, do we repaint it with the usual oil or go for something new like decking paint?

Actually we chose decking paint.  Why? Maybe because the wood had shrunk to such an extent that we didn’t feel the oil coating would be enough, and maybe because the decking paint would be more protective.  Now we have used the decking we cannot go back to the oil anyway. 

It wasn’t the best of weekends to be painting outside: much too hot, but we started early in the morning before breakfast and were finished by nine.

I said the furniture was tired, but it was a bit more than that.  Splinters were starting to strip off the arms and the edges of the table, so all had to be rubbed down with sandpaper.  This made the surfaces smoother, and once wiped over were ready for painting.

Of course the sandpapering caused a light dust on the tiles where we were going to paint, so the whole area had to be swept and dust removed before we could put down the plastic sheet to protect the tiles.  Thankfully our large sheet of garden plastic fitted the allocated space and the table and four chairs were placed in such a position that hubby and I could paint a chair each and leave the box containing the tin of paint between us.

We were very diligent.  Not only did we paint the tops and undersides of the chair slats but the edges as well.  This was not easy as the gap was only wide enough for the paint brush to slide down between.  By maneuvering from both above and under the slats the sides of the slats were coated.  If this hadn’t have been done the paint job would not have looked finished and the wooden slats would not have had the protection they required.

There was a second coat painted early the following morning and by lunch time that day everything was dry.  The results were better than we expected.  The furniture looks fresh and rejuvenated, and the surfaces smooth and hard. 

The choice of using decking paint in our eyes was a good one.  The oil coating we had previously used had been the right choice while the furniture was new, but after four years more protection was needed and that is exactly what the decking paint has done.  


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