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Outdoor Furniture Upkeep

As cheapskates, er, I mean, frugal people, we’re all about normal maintenance and upkeep on anything you can maintain. Lawnmowers, cars, HVAC, and… FURNITURE?

That’s right, furniture. More specifically, outdoor furniture.

Of course the reason we love maintaining outdoor furniture is BECAUSE we’re “frugal” and all you really ever SHOULD do with most wooden outdoor furniture is 1. clean it lightly, maybe scrub it with a soft brush and some soapy water, and 2. let it go because most outdoor furniture is made wood that is naturally resistant to the elements, like teak, or cedar. It will eventually just weather, turn gray, and get that nice wood patina. The oils deep within the wood are what protects it and all you’re really doing when you apply oils and varnishes is making the surface look good temporarily.

watco_teak_oilWait, did they say do NOTHING and let it sit out there in the sun and rain and turn gray and dry out? Yep. Adding oils, like Teak Oil (which is really mostly Linseed Oil) will temporarily add luster and oils back into the wood but it will just dry out again meaning repeat applications depending on the severity of your weather.

EVEN THOUGH I KNOW ALL THAT I’m about to be a hypocrite and tell you that I usually apply WATCO Teak Oil (Lowes Item#: 88135) at the beginning and end of every summer season anyway because I like how it looks on my cheap wood outdoor furniture and the dryness really makes me uncomfortable.

Outdoor furniture upkeep.

Here’s what I like to do with my table.

1. Tighten up all connections.

My first step when doing upkeep is looking for anything that’s loose that should be tight, and tighten it. Go easy, though, don’t over-tighten. That’s just a good rule for anytime your tightening anything, DON’T OVER-TIGHTEN.


2. Sand out wine stains or food stains.

Or in my case, enlist cheap labor, say you’re going inside to get sandpaper so you can sand out the wine glass stain and come back from getting sandpaper to your helpers already going to town on your table.


3. Fix all the spots your cheap labor missed (wipe up any pooling or excess Teak Oil).

CACAO! Check this before and after out. I much prefer the oiled look because I don’t like my furniture looking like driftwood. Something about a nice shiny rich-looking surface that appeals to me.


You can reapply if you want, but really one good coat should do the trick for the season.


For the end of the season you should move your wooden furniture indoors for the winter unless it’s made of teak or cedar. Those can stay outside.

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“In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. Although we have a material connection to Lowe’s, any publicly stated opinions of Lowe’s and their products remain our own.”

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