It’s a tough life out there exposed to the elements, so if you wish to get your money’s worth out of your outdoor furniture, it’s important that you give them a spot of TLC in the form of oiling once every so often.
Oiling wooden furniture can help keep it hydrated in dry and arid climates where it’s pummeled by scorching sun day in, day out.
The moisturizing layer provides unparalleled UV protection, helping the wood hold its rich color profile. Left to its own devices, the finish of your wooden furniture will fade significantly.
A coating of oil can also help protect the finish of the wood from stains, so if you enjoy socializing in your garden, perhaps over a few cocktails or cups of tea, it’s an essential bit of maintenance.
Another reason to give your bench a massage every now and again is that the oil fills the pores in the wood, preventing damaging moisture from taking residence. This in turn eliminates rot and the development of fungal molds.
How often you should oil your furniture depends on a few variables, the two most important of which are the climate and the particular wood your furniture is made out of.
In mild climates, you can stick to a twice-yearly schedule, and your outdoor furniture will always look nice and fresh. In hotter climates, you may be looking at something more to the tune of once every two or three months.
Hardwoods such as teak and oak are much more resilient than softwoods like cedar and larch, so they won’t need quite as much maintenance; however, as they’re much more expensive, it’s important not to let your routine slip.
While we’re on the subject of wood types, bear in mind that you should be using oils that complement the properties and natural finish of the wood in question.
How Do You Take Care of Outdoor Furniture?
There are three main aspects of maintenance that, if followed correctly, ensure you get the longest lifespan from your outdoor furniture.
The first of these three miracle methods is cleaning. Things get messy in the great outdoors; it’s just a fact of life, so a good once over with a moist cloth or perhaps a soapy solution is essential.
If you’re dealing with more stubborn stains or mold, you may need to bring a soft-bristled brush into the equation, and in extreme cases, don’t hesitate to add a little detergent or oxygen bleach to your cleaning water. Want a pro-tip? Always scrub with the grain of the furniture rather than against it. This helps to keep your furniture smooth and splinter-free.
No luck with the brush and bleach? It sounds like it’s time to give that problem area a light sanding. Just like with the brush, pass the sandpaper or sanding stone along the grain.
The second part of outdoor furniture maintenance is oiling. We’ve already discussed the myriad of benefits of applying a coat of oil to your wooden garden features, so let’s briefly run over procedure.
The goal is to apply a very thin and even layer of oil. One of the most common mistakes people make is to apply more than the wood can absorb, amounting to a resting layer of oil on the wood’s surface. Suddenly that bench in the sun isn’t such an enticing prospect; no one wants slimy furniture.
Once applied, leave your furniture to air dry for 10 minutes, then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the excess away. Although your seating will be looking mighty fine at this point, resist the urge to sit down.
The coat won’t fully soak into the wood for roughly 24 hours. Want another pro-tip? Before oiling, cover all the metal fixtures of the furniture with masking tape.
You can apply the oil using either a brush or a spray can; the methods are more or less the same. Spray is quicker, but a brush allows you to be more thorough.
The last thing to add to your maintenance routine is to give your outdoor furniture shelter from time to time. If you’re not planning on using it for a while or there’s some extreme weather forecast, invest in some outdoor furniture covers, but avoid plasticky materials, as they can cause fungal growth.
Better still, put your outdoor furniture into storage. We’re not saying you have to find space for it in your house, but any well-ventilated shed or garage will do them a world of good.
What is the Best Oil to Use on Outdoor Furniture?
The two most popular oils for outdoor furniture are teak and tung oils. Danish oil and boiled linseed oil are also popular choices for wooden furniture, but they don’t offer as much protection, so they’re best saved for interior furnishings.
If you’re on the lookout for a quality teak oil, we highly recommend this Premium Golden Teak Oil. Containing advanced tung polymers, this formula brings you the best of both worlds and provides deep and lasting protection against UV, mold, and stains. It also reinvigorates the appearance of wood with a natural golden hue, offering a fresh-from-the-store look no matter how old a piece of furniture is.
Alternatively, why not give HOPE’S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Wood Finish a try. Not to be confused with Hoppes, a famous gun oil manufacturer, Hope’s produces the absolute best tung oil wood finish you can buy.
Penetrating deep into the pores of the wood, it renders it impervious to the damaging effects of moisture, alcohol, other oils, and general wear and tear.
One thing to be mindful of; however, is that tung oil tends to leave furniture with a much darker hue than teak oil, so if you feel that deviates from the exterior design theme you’re going for, stick with teak.
Both these woods are completely non-toxic too, making them perfect formulas for those who like to soak up some morning sun as they eat breakfast outside at a wooden table.