How to Waterproof Painted Wood Furniture for Outdoors?


Outdoor wooden furniture is quite useful to enjoy peace of mind. You are sitting in your yard, sipping coffee, and you might see your wooden chair or table is not the same. This happens when your outdoor wooden furniture is old and the paint is peeling and the wood is starting to rot.

After seeing that your precious outdoor painted wood furniture is fading potential to give you that same touch, you might be heartbroken. You may think about how to make it water and dust-proof. Don’t be sad! In this article, you will get ideas about how you can waterproof your existing painted wood furniture for outdoor use. Before that, you need to know what causes your outdoor wood furniture to fade. Let’s get into a detailed discussion.

Key Takeaways

  • Outdoor-painted furniture can fade away and reasons why that happens.
  • Different types of wood paint work differently.
  • Using tong oil and different kinds of sealant to waterproof outdoor painted wood furniture.
  • Some basic manners to keep your wood furniture from damage.

Reasons Why Painted Wood Furniture Fades

Reasons why painted wood furniture fades

Painted wood furniture is used both casually and traditionally done. You can place this kind of home decor in both indoor and outdoor areas. Painted wood furniture can last for decades. But still, there are some things that may damage longevity.

There are a few specific reasons to explain why your outdoor painted wood furniture is fading away. Let’s see these possible reasons and outcomes:

These natural phenomena can ruin your outdoor furniture and these have a great impact.

UV rays from sunlight burn the paint by penetrating the surface materials, breaking down the glue in the wood, and discoloring it.

Solar heat is not good for outdoor wood furniture. The sun can affect outdoor wood furniture to fade and break down.

Heavy rain and long snow have the same effect on wood furniture. As rain and snow cause the absorption of moisture on unpainted surfaces which results in the fading of color and kills the durability of wood and pained finishing.

Icing and frost problem makes the same damage as rain and snow. In advance, icing or frost problems can instantly break down your furniture. To avoid all this damage happening to your outdoor painted wood furniture, there are a few ways to protect by waterproofing. To do that, you need to understand what kind of paint it has and how to waterproof it.

Different Kinds of Outdoor Wood Paints

There are only two types of popular outdoor furniture paints. One is Oil-based paint and the other is Acrylic paint. Oil-based paints dry more solid, which provides excellent resistance to the surface area. Ordinary acrylic paint is well-suited for wooden furniture.

However, this paint does not prove durability on outdoor wood furniture surfaces. If you design to paint a horizontal wood surface, such as a floor, use acrylic deck paint. Oil paint is more effective to paint wooden furniture. But this paint is not going to protect outdoor furniture from the weather.

Waterproofing Painted Wooden Furniture for Outdoor

Waterproofing painted wooden furniture for outdoor

It is not enough to have oil-painted outdoor wooden furniture. They will get faded and be ruined by the weather elements. To keep your outdoor painted wooden furniture the same as new, you need to take an important step.

Waterproofing your painted wooden furniture is an all-in-one solution to this problem. There are plenty of ways to do that. Let’s discuss that.

1. Tung oil

Tung oil or China wood oil works drying oil found by pressing the seed from the nut of the Tung tree. This oil is waterproof and helps to protect outdoor furniture from water drops and moisture. It is used as a finish to help protect wooden furniture and prevents water molecules and moisture from going inside the wood. It enhances the color of your wood and offers excellent protection and it is eco-friendly.

To use it, you need to prepare your wooden furniture. The furniture surface needs to be well-ready for oil absorption. Tung oil will make the imperfections of the wood surface more noticeable. So scrape the wood surface very well with sandpaper. Remove extra oil with a clean fabric and let it dry for 24 hours. Now rub the surface with steel wool.

This process needs time to give you the result. You will be coating a couple of times following this same method.

2. Polycrylic

Polycrylic is a clear topcoat that is applied to protect wood surfaces. It provides a water-based protective finish that dries fast and adds beauty to the interior and exterior wood surfaces such as doors, cabinets, and furniture.

To coat outdoor painted furniture with polycrylic, use a good quality synthetic brush to apply it to the painted surface. Apply the polycrylic with long slow brush strokes to a painted surface. Let it dry for 2 hours after applying the first coat and before applying a second coat, lightly polish the surface again.

But polycrylic is not effective as polyurethane.

3. Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a plastic substance that exists in various forms. It can be tailored to be either rigid or flexible and is the material of choice for a broad range of end-user applications such as lagging refrigerators and freezers.

Polyurethane works better than polycrylic on outdoor wooden furniture. Using polyurethane coatings gives wooden surfaces a special level of finish that may not be overtaken by UV rays, heavy rain, heat wave, snow, and icing problem.

Just polish the surface with sandpaper. Then apply polyurethane sealant with a soft wall paintbrush. Bruch it slowly to cover the whole surface. You can also try polyurethane spray which works way better than painting with a brush.

4. Clear Acrylic Sealer

Clear Acrylic Sealer is a solvent-borne single-pack clear acrylic coating. Used as an overall purpose clear coating for stable substrates like outdoor wood furniture, which will enhance the color and appearance of the coated material.

This usually works as an acrylic paint sealer spray which is easy to apply. It offers waterproofing both indoors as well as outdoors and becomes dry quickly to a clear shine finish. Protect outdoor painted wood furniture and other wood items from scratches and moisture.

You can apply it by spraying. Hold the spray at least a foot or 50 centimeters far from the surface, then spray evenly. Two to several thin layers might be okay. However, the more you spray the more you can make your wooden furniture super glossy.

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Can Varnish Make Furniture Waterproof?

A varnish finish protects wooden furniture very well. Still, only a simple varnish will not protect your outdoor painted wood furniture from weather elements. Varnish is a general term for a top coat on a wooden surface. There are different types of varnish. But they work like acrylic paints. But this does not work as waterproof.

Other Ways to Protect Outdoor Furniture

Other ways to protect outdoor furniture

There are some ways to protect your outdoor furniture by simply following some etiquette rather than applying waterproofing methods. If you feel like waterproofing is a big hassle, then keep reading.

Use cover

This is the easiest way of protecting outdoor painted furniture from getting ruined by weather elements. Just buy or make furniture covers using fabric or plastic. Better to use synthetic covers to cover up your outdoor painted wood furniture. This will protect the paint and longevity. Put the cover off when you use them.

Move them inside

If you really like your wood furniture, you should move them inside before weather calamities. No matter what you do to protect your outdoor wood furniture, you will not be able to save them if the weather gets to them first. Also, there is dust and heat that can ruin them slowly. Moving them inside your house when you do not use them is a wise choice to make. Make sure that your furniture is handy to move.

Clean up daily basis

Keep your outdoor wood furniture clean every day. This is a basic manner for furniture. Even for indoor furniture too. So, clean your outdoor wooden chairs and tables with a cleaning machine, brush, or just a piece of fabric. With this habit, you can check your outdoor furniture daily basis for any damage or repair issues.


1. Can painted wood be waterproof?

When outdoor wood furniture is maintained well, paint seals the wood and protects it from water, effectively waterproofing it. However, when cracks become visible in the paint, water can reach the wood and the wood is no longer waterproof.

2. What is the best sealer for painted wood outdoors?

A clear polyurethane topcoat can seal exterior paints and help prolong the life of the finish of wooden furniture. This specific sealer is similar to polycrylic except it is available in two forms. Water-based polyurethane is appropriate for latex and acrylic-painted finishes.

3. Can you use a wood preserver on painted wood?

Wood that has been finished such as furniture like outdoor seating and decorations should be stripped of any wax, oil, varnish, or paint to ensure that the woodworm treatment and following preservative is able to successfully penetrate into the surface of the wooden furniture.

Final Thoughts

Wood furniture is a symbol of the classy and aesthetic decor of your house. Especially, when you decorate your outdoors with colored wood furniture. To protect outdoor painted wood furniture you can waterproof them. Use Tong oil or different types of sealer which works really well. Although waterproofing may not help you to protect your wood furniture outside, you can try some basic manners of furniture. Use wood furniture covers, keep them inside after using and clean a daily basis can help you a lot to protect your furniture from weather elements.

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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