Tips for Cleaning and Refinishing Outdoor Wood Furniture

Outdoor wood furniture and other wood items—including fences, decks, railings, trellises, and arbors—need to be cleaned and refinished from time to time to protect the wood from the elements and keep it looking good. Here’s how to go about it:

    1. Clean Wood: Use an exterior wood cleaner, such as Flood Cleaner/Brightener, to clean the wood, open the pores to accept stain, and remove any gray weathering. Follow the instructions on the container and allow the wood to dry before staining.
    2. Apply Masking Tape: For a two-tone look, apply masking tape to the edges of the accent pieces to separate the two stain colors.
    3. Apply Primary Stain Color: Brush a semi-transparent wood stain on the lower parts of the wood furniture, following the instructions on the container.
    4. Apply Secondary Stain Color: Remove the masking tape and apply the accent stain color to the arms of chairs or top of tables and benches.
    5. Allow Stain to Dry: Make sure the wood furniture has dried thoroughly before using.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Julie, you know, I like anything out in the yard made of wood. It just seems to improve the look of the outside.

Julie Day-Jones: Yeah, things like fences, trellises, arbors, Adirondack chairs, even this old bench can be recycled.

Danny Lipford: Even my old bench we’re trying to save. Actually this thing looked pretty bad a few days ago, but we used a special brightener and cleaner to not only clean the surface of the wood, but to open the pores a little bit so that we can now apply a two-tone kind of a finish to it with a semi-transparent stain. So now that it’s clean, she’s doing a little taping off. We can change the look of these pieces of furniture real quickly.

After a little masking we can start applying the lighter color stain to the bottom half of both pieces. The stain warms up the wood and seals the pores without concealing the grain. So the beauty of the wood shows right through. This bench and chair will be safe from the elements for years to come. But left unprotected, exterior wood eventually will have to be replaced.

Danny Lipford: Julie, I would have never thought that this old, ugly bench would look this good.

Julie Day-Jones: Boy, it sure dressed it up. And this chair’s going to feel really good later.

Danny Lipford: You might want to wait and let that dry a little bit before you start relaxing there.


  1. Nothing in your article on oil or beeswax for out door furniture. If one wants the natural look is this not recommended? ( did my outdoor table with linseed oil, but third year it went very dark and unattractive,Had to sand down now seeking a solution!! )
    Best regards Richard.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here