We have a small deck off the back of our house just big enough for a bistro table and chairs. I love sitting on the deck when the weather permits. Although it’s been warm here for the past month, I haven’t sat on the deck at all because, up until this weekend, the table and chairs looked like this:
The paint on the top of the table was peeling off so badly that whenever I just brushed by the table, little flakes of paint fell off.
It was definitely time for a new paint job.
Fortunately for me, the wood was all in good shape so I didn’t have to make any repairs. If necessary, I would have taken a bit of wood filler to repair nicks or holes and then sanded it down.
Repainting Outdoor Wood Furniture
What You’ll Need
- newspaper and/or tarp
- sandpaper (ideally a medium grain like 120 grit followed by a finer grain like 180 grit)
- damp cloth (a tack cloth would be great to use too, although not necessary)
- primer suitable for exterior paint jobs (I used Kilz Premium Interior/Exterior Primer)
- exterior paint in a gloss or semi-gloss (furniture with a gloss or semi-gloss finish is simple to wipe clean when it gets dirty)
Step 1: Put the furniture on newspaper to aid in easy cleanup.
Step 2. Sand all wood surfaces with the grain. We had 120 grit sandpaper, so that’s what I used. Not surprisingly, most of the paint came right off. For the paint that didn’t come off, I sanded until the surface was basically smooth. If I’d had a finer grit sandpaper, like 180, I would have followed the 120 grit sanding with the 180.
Step 3: With a damp cloth, wipe all of the surfaces clean. Let dry. You could also use a tack cloth to really make sure you have all the sanding dust off. Clean up the newspaper with all the paint flakes. At this point, I pulled out our tarp to put the furniture on to paint.
Step 4: Paint a coat of primer on all of the bare wood surfaces. Let the primer dry for at least an hour.
Step 5: Apply a coat of exterior paint. Let dry (according to the directions on the paint can). Apply a second coat. I applied a third coat to the table top since it gets so much use. I used enamel spray paint in a gloss finish. I don’t much like spray paint because it’s not at all friendly to the environment or our health, but we had several cans of spray paint in the garage and our county won’t recycle the cans unless they’re empty. (If you’re interested in recycling aerosol cans, check with your city or county’s recycling program. Ours recycles these cans but only if you take them to the county’s hazardous waste collection area. They won’t pick up the cans at the curb with other recycling.)
Here’s the finished product:
This project took me about six hours to complete, but most of that time was spent waiting for paint to dry. The active work time was closer to about an hour. It was a really easy project and the table and chairs look much better. It’s amazing what a little paint can do.
After the table and chairs were all dry, we sat out on the deck and there wasn’t a single bit of flaking paint. Perfect.
(In case you’re interested, the novel Mark is reading in the photo is A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. Mark finds it very funny and definitely recommends it.)
We had all the supplies on hand for this painting project, so it was free. Even if we’d had to buy the supplies, the project would still be inexpensive. And now we have a table and chairs that look as good as new.