How to Refurbish an Outdoor Table

It’s spring in my neck of the woods so it’s time to start thinking about those outdoor projects you need to get done in readiness for summer.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you might want to pin this post to revisit in about six months time.

Every year, I make the time to refurbish our outdoor timber table to make it look fabulous for all the use it gets in the summer.

Have you ever wondered about restoring outdoor timber furniture? Well, I’m about to show you how.

Our Table

I’m so lucky! I have an amazing husband!

You all knew that right!

He’s amazing for many reasons but the one I’m talking about today is his ability to build things.  I text him links and say, 'hey, can you make this for me?’ and he almost always says, ‘yes’!

That’s what happened with our outdoor table.  It was a good many years ago – probably around 2012.  I sent him my text and a link to the plan on Ana White's website and he made it for me. I can’t find the link to the exact plan but this one is similar.


If you want to know how to protect your outdoor furniture read on.


Our table gets a huge amount of use each year. We generally eat our meals outside for at least three months of the year, weather permitting. We use it for lunch and dinner most days, and even sometimes for breakfast – breakfast barbeque is one of my favourite things!

During the week, when everyone else is at work, I eat my lunch there. It sits in the middle of our raised gardens so it’s a lovely place to sit and eat or just enjoy a cup of tea and a quiet moment.

Look at that lush grass – it doesn’t look like that at the moment, but then nor does the garden look barren and bare. Note - the fence is also higher now.

This table is heavy - too heavy to move much, so it sits out in the wind and rain all year around.  It gets even heavier when it’s wet.

I do like the fact that it turns this nice grey tone, however it needs to b protected from the elements too.

It also had a lot of stains on it from the previous year’s frivolity!

So, as you can see, it needed some love.

Preparing the Table

The first thing I did was give the table a good scrub. I just used hot soapy water for this.

Then I let it dry really well. I actually did this clean one day and left it to dry until the next afternoon.  That way, I knew it was really dry.  The oil won’t remove any existing moss or mould so it’s really important that it’s clean.

Next, wearing the appropriate PPE, I sanded the table.

You can see the difference that it makes.  It removes any left-over dirt and stains and gives a nice clean surface to oil.

Brush the table down to ensure that all the dust is gone.

Decking Oil vs Stain

There are two alternatives when renovating your outdoor furniture – oil or stain. What is the difference between oil and stain? This information is the same is the same if you are wanting to renovate your deck.


Oiling your outdoor furniture is a preventative measure. Oil penetrates deep into the pores of the wood, protecting it from water damage. Some oils are even manufactured with UV blockers, which help reduce the damage from the harmful rays of the sun. They are often also resistant to mould and fungus.

There are water based and non-water based oils available. If you choose a non-water based oil, you will need to wear gloves and use mineral turpentine to clean up brushes. I actually used an old brush and threw it out afterwards.


Staining your furniture can enhance the appearance of the timber by changing the existing colour. It can help preserve the wood if the stain is carried in an oil. Stain may also provide UV protection.

While oil works as a yearly preventative treatment, staining lasts a lot longer, maybe up to five years, so it’s more like painting your furniture.

In a nutshell, a stain will improve the appearance however an oil will better protect your outdoor furniture.

Oiling the Table

I chose Resene Exterior Decking and Furniture Oil. In my opinion, this is the best oil for outdoor wooden furniture.

If you live in the USA and don't have access to Resene products, you may like to try this Osmo Decking Oil.

This oil is easy to use and it doesn’t smell nasty like some of the others.  

I applied two coats with a brush. As it dried, I noticed that there were some places that looked a little uneven, so I touched them up. You will need to wear gloves to protect your skin.

The Finished Table

Once the oil was dry, it looked fabulous. This is what the table looks like after the oil was dry.  Much better.

You will have to excuse the grass (or lack thereof).  We have hard clay which gets waterlogged every winter, so the grass doesn’t much like to grow there, but that’s a whole other story.

I’m happy with the table, next job is the chairs. They are looking for an exciting makeover too.

If you would like to see their makeover, subscribe so that you won’t miss it.

November 12, 2020