Revamp your patio furniture with these tips

Keep your outdoor furniture looking fresh and new without having to replace it.

Fixing tatty old patio furniture instead of buying new has three bonuses: it’s less expensive, less stuff goes to the landfill and it’s fun to re-imagine and repaint chairs and tables, or even re-cover seats and umbrellas. We asked two experts for simple tips on revamping furniture to last for many more summers.

“Most broken or loose parts on wood patio furniture are the result of failed glue joints, broken wood, or a loose screw,” says Rockler DIY Project Specialist Dan Cary. The remedy is simple, but choose the correct waterproof or water-resistant glue, and exterior-rated screws. Firstly, sand wood surfaces to make a tight connection.

“Apply a thin layer of glue to both surfaces and clamp them together until the glue has cured,” says Cary. “If the pieces don’t fit together perfectly, use a two-part structural epoxy.”

Replace missing or loose screws with either longer or slightly thicker ones, or drive a new screw near the previous one.

“Avoid splitting wood by pre-drilling with a tapered countersink bit,” says Cary. “That also leaves the screw head flush, making the repair look clean and eliminating the risk of catching clothing or scratching skin.”

Rusted metal-framed loungers can look as new and last several more years with the right preparation. Decorating company Farrow & Ball’s Creative Director Sarah Cole says, firstly, “Remove all rust with sandpaper and a wire brush, and then paint with metal primer. Leave the primer one week to fully dry and harden, then lightly sand and apply a coat of metal primer and undercoat, before your topcoat color.”

Similar care can save damaged wood.

“Paint is unlikely to adhere properly to chipped or rotten wood, and may result in peeling or blistered paint,” says Cole. “Remove and burn back anything that’s become loose using a blowtorch before thoroughly sanding. Apply a layer of exterior wood primer and undercoat in the correct color to help paint adhere and make it more durable. Then, apply a layer of exterior eggshell thinned with 10% water, before applying your final topcoat.”

Don’t have your own blow torch? You can pick one up at Home Depot for around $25, and they’ll probably even show you how to use it without hurting yourself.

Online resources
Both the Farrow & Ball ( and Rockler ( websites have more tips. Also, the DIY Network ( offers a host of tips on revamping all parts of the home. Pinterest and Reddit have pages devoted to DIY advice, as well.


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