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How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

Everyone loves a good set of o...

Everyone loves a good set of outdoor wood furniture, from patio chairs to tables and steps. We love the look and feel of wood furniture over metal or plastic. 

But when it comes to outdoor wood furniture, you must be concerned about how long it will last. 
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

One way to make your furniture last longer is by applying a sealant. Luckily, sealing outdoor wood furniture is relatively easy. 

With just a few instruments and a little knowledge of the product that's out there, you can seal your furniture yourself. 

How Do You Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

So, how do you seal outdoor furniture? There are some products you can use to protect your wood furniture. Let's go down the list:

Solid color stain



Semi-transparent stain and sealer

In addition to using these products on your wood furniture, you'll also want to abide by a few common sense methods. 
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

Remember to use covers or remove wood furniture from the elements when necessary. 

While using a sealant or other protective product is always in your best interests, it helps not to abuse your wood furniture where possible. 

Types of Outdoor Wood Sealers

Outdoor would sealers are an excellent choice to protect your wood from the elements because they prevent water penetration and can block UV rays. 

They can be applied over the top of the paint or natural wood so that you can see the grain.


You would use polyurethane if you wanted to cover a painted surface. This chemical seals gaps and joints in various surfaces such as wood, concrete, metal, and plastic.
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

It works great as a paint-based sealer on your steps or porch or for benches, side tables, or other bits of wood furniture that you want to protect.


The exact composition of these chemicals depends on the manufacturer. 

But you can expect a water- or oil-based urethane product mixed with the stain of your choice to achieve a gloss finish.

Drying Oils

Drying oils are often used as natural sealants for wood furniture. 

They work by penetrating the surface of the wood and hardening it when exposed to air, creating a protective layer that seals the wood. 
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

They’re sometimes used with other varnishes or just by themselves.

How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture

When it's time to finish your outdoor wood furniture, there are a few tips you may want to follow to get the best results possible. 

Most of them have to do with the preparation of the furniture itself. If the wood isn't entirely ready for a new coat of sealant, you'll set yourself up for failure.

How to Prep Wood

Remember to complete any repairs to your furniture before you start sealing it. 

Once you've ensured the piece is structurally sound, you can begin sanding or stripping the older sealant.

If the old sealant is left on the outdoor wood furniture, it'll prevent the new coat from evenly applying and setting correctly. 
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

This can lead to the sealant flaking off and moisture entering the wood.

You should also check the moisture level of the wood. Don't settle for anything over 15% because that can also lead to issues with the sealant setting later. 

The sealant won't correctly penetrate, and then when the wood dries out and gaps form, the sealant won't protect it from water.

How to Apply a Finish

With most finishes, you'll want to read the sealant to see the instructions for that specific brand. They can vary, but in most instances, you'll find the process to be something like this:

You'll pick the finish that fits your needs and apply it liberally to the piece. Depending on the brand, you'll leave it on the wood for several minutes. 
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

After it's had time to penetrate the wood, you'll wipe away the excess and allow it to dry.

Some stains will take more than one application, while others will be a simple one-application process that dries quickly. It's essential to reference the instructions on your can.

How to Use a Sealer With a Brush

A brush is a fantastic way to apply a sealer to wood, but it can be a little tricker when it comes to furniture that can have a lot of nooks and crannies that are hard to hit with your brush. 

There are some tips you can keep in mind when using a brush that will help make the process smoother.

Remember to paint with the grain of the wood, and don't paint backward while the finish is still drying. 

You may notice imperfections in the process, and it's possible to sand those away with a few touches up. But it's optional if you don't see those defects.

When using the sealant, stir the product so the suspension remains in effect. Don't do this too quickly; you'll incorporate air bubbles into the product. 

Those air bubbles can lead to undesirable results when sealing.

Remember, you shouldn't apply the sealant if the wood's moisture level is too high or low. Check the weather, and do your sealing in an area away from direct sunlight.

How to Use a Sealer With a Spray Gun

A pump spray gun can be a great way when applying sealer to outdoor wood furniture. 

It allows you to get sealant into more challenging-to-reach areas, which might be more difficult with a brush. 

The spray will easily hit spots, leaving you confident you've achieved total coverage.

How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

You also won't have to worry about creating air bubbles by stirring with your brush because the spray gun will apply an even coating of smooth sealant. 

Doing this effectively is one of the critical steps to sealing your outdoor wood furniture.

This method is excellent for uniformly sealing outdoor wood furniture without wasting any product. It can be harder to manage this with your typical brush.

How Long Should Sealed Outdoor Wood Furniture Last

That will depend significantly on how you treat your wood furniture. Of course, by learning how to seal outdoor wood furniture, you're taking a great first step. 

The sealant will protect it from the elements and any moisture that threatens to get into your work.

It may also be necessary to apply a new coat every year or every other year to keep the surface of your furniture adequately protected from the elements.
How to Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you want your wood furniture to last more than a few years without repeatedly sealing, you'll want to keep it out of the elements. 


Avoid allowing your furniture to be soaked by downpours, keep it out of direct sunlight, and store it during the winter. 


You should also consider investing in covers for your furniture; several options on the web can keep your furniture protected and out of danger.


Using a sealant on your outdoor wood furniture is crucial to keep it protected and ensure it lasts longer. 


You could use oil-based, urethane-based, or polyurethane-based sealants to keep your furniture safe.


Before applying sealant, it’s important to prep the wood by cleaning and sanding it.


Even after you’ve used sealant, you should regularly clean your furniture and re-apply sealant whenever needed. 

This will ensure your furniture can withstand harsh weather conditions and remain a beautiful addition to any outdoor space.

Spring Nee

Spring Nee is an outdoor furniture expert with 18 years of experience.


She has extensive experience in outdoor design, including choosing furniture materials, following trends, and adding useful elements.


As a thought leader in the outdoor furniture industry, Spring has been a regular contributor to various blogs, magazines, and design forums

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