How Do You Stain And Seal Patio Furniture?

I love a freshly stained patio set. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve sat outside on my painted-and-stained furniture and just admired it. 

It’s like art, only better. And, unlike some artists’ work, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do yourself! If you want your own piece of painted-and-stained furniture, follow these simple steps:

How I Restored My Outdoor Furniture \ A Beginner’s Guide
Staining and sealing patio furniture helps protect it from the elements.
Proper surface preparation is crucial before applying stain and sealer.
Choosing the right type of stain and sealer is essential for durability and appearance.
Regular maintenance, including reapplication of stain and sealer, is necessary to prolong the life of patio furniture.
Following the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines is important when staining and sealing.

Remove Cushions And Covers

The next thing you need to do is remove the cushions and covers. Whether or not you will be staining or sealing your patio furniture, this step will make your job easier. 

If there are stains on the cushions, clean them up before you start. 

Use a mild detergent if necessary. If you are going to stain or seal your patio furniture, remove all of the cushions and covers so that they can be replaced after they have been stained or sealed.

Looking to add some ambiance to your patio without using string lights? Our guide on lighting a patio without string lights offers creative and alternative lighting ideas that will transform your outdoor space.

Move Furniture Outside, If Necessary

Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies and prepared your workspace, it’s time to move the furniture outside.

If you’re working on a large piece of furniture, such as an outdoor dining set or an entire patio, move it into a clear area where you can work comfortably. 

If moving the furniture is not possible or if space is limited, move as much as possible into one area and then cover up any remaining areas with tarps or plastic sheeting. 

This will help prevent dust from getting in those spaces while still allowing them to be worked on.

A good rule of thumb is that if there’s not enough room for two people to stand beside each other without touching the sides of the piece being stained/sealed, it should be moved outside.

If this isn’t possible because there isn’t enough room outside either (for example: if you’re working on a small table), try placing drop cloths down over any surfaces around where you’ll be working and putting down some drop cloths beneath that so no dust gets kicked up into the air while doing so!

Wipe Down With A Dampened Cloth

Wipe down your patio furniture with a damp cloth.

Use a clean cloth, rag, sponge or towel.

You can also use a mop or broom if you have a big area to cover.

If you want to be more efficient and save yourself some time later on, use a spray bottle filled with water to lightly mist your furniture before applying stain and sealer. 

This will make it easier for the stain/sealer to soak into the wood and give an even application when brushing out excess liquid afterwards (this process is called “blotting”).

To get narrower spaces like table legs or chair backs: You can use an absorbent pad attached to your hand with rubber bands for easy access around corners; just dip one end in paint thinner and apply it directly where needed!

When it comes to laying patio floor tiles, it’s important to do it right. Our step-by-step guide on laying patio floor tiles provides expert tips and techniques to ensure a durable and beautiful patio flooring installation.

Wait For It To Dry

Now that you’ve finished staining and sealing your patio furniture, it’s time to wait for the final result. 

The amount of time required to allow the stain and sealer to dry will depend on the type of product used and how long it takes in your specific climate. 

Be sure to check the instructions on the product label before starting this process, as they will provide specific directions for getting an optimal result.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need at least 24 hours before you can feel confident that your stain has dried properly.

However, if there is any question about whether or not your patio furniture has been properly stained and sealed (for example, if there are still wet areas), simply repeat steps 1-4 until no further refinements are necessary for optimal results.

Sand Your Furniture

Once you’ve finished cleaning and stripping, it’s time to sand. We recommend using a fine-grit sandpaper for this step. 

You’ll want to use it with the grain of the wood, following a circular motion so as to not remove too much material from your furniture. 

It’s important not to overdo it here: if you sand too much, your furniture will begin to look worn after just one season!

Wash Your Furniture

Before you begin, gather your supplies. You will need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Water (or a pressure washer if you have one)

To clean the furniture, start by spraying it down with water. Then use the mild detergent and soft brush or sponge to scrub away any dirt and grime. 

Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach; they can damage the wood on your furniture over time! 

If you’re using a pressure washer, keep it at least 6 inches away from the surface of your patio furniture this will prevent damage from occurring due to heat buildup in conjunction with high pressure water jets striking against surfaces at such close proximity

Hairline cracks in your concrete patio can be an eyesore and a potential hazard. Learn how to effectively repair them with our helpful guide on repairing hairline cracks in concrete patio, so you can enjoy a smooth and flawless outdoor surface.

Wait For It To Dry Again

Patio furniture takes a while to dry, so you’ll want to give it at least one full day before using it again. 

If it’s raining and you can’t get the patio furniture outside, cover it with a tarp but don’t let the tarp touch the surface of your furniture (it could rub off any newly applied stain).

If possible, allow your patio furniture to dry under direct sunlight; this will help the stain set better and last longer. 

If there’s no sun available where you live or if it’s too cold outside for too long of a period, just make sure that your outdoor living room has plenty of ventilation throughout its drying time.

SurfaceRecommended Drying Time
Wood24-48 hours
Metal1-2 hours
Concrete4-6 hours
Drywall2-4 hours
Exterior Siding6-8 hours
Furniture4-6 hours
Cabinets8-12 hours
Masonry12-24 hours
Plaster4-6 hours

Apply Sealer Or Stain In A Well-Ventilated Area

Before you begin, it’s important to make sure that the area where you’re preparing to stain or seal your patio furniture is well-ventilated. 

We don’t recommend doing this indoors or in a confined space, like a garage. Doing so can increase the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, which could have negative effects on your health.

Apply The First Coat

Once you’ve opened your cans of stain and sealer, it’s time to apply the first coat. If you’re worried about staining yourself, use a brush or roller with disposable foam covers.

If you have an outdoor project that requires multiple coats of stain or sealer, then I recommend using a brush over a roller because they allow for more control over where the paint goes on furniture. 

It also makes it easier to see where any missed spots are without having to wipe off excess paint.

When applying any kind of finish: apply just enough material so there’s no pooling in one spot but not so much that it drips down the side or dries before reaching all surfaces you’ll only get one shot at getting this right!

SurfaceRecommended Brand
Exterior SidingBenjamin Moore
CabinetsGeneral Finishes

Let It Dry And Add Another Coat If Necessary

You’ll need to let the finish dry for 24 hours before you apply a second coat, so make sure you have enough time to do this. If you’re in a hurry, use high-heat lamps or place the furniture in direct sunlight.

It’s not uncommon for wood grain to show through after staining patio furniture with light-colored stains (like Minwax Jacobean), so if that bothers you, consider using a darker stain color.

Is your wood patio in need of a makeover? Our easy-to-follow guide on redoing a wood patio will walk you through the necessary steps to revitalize and transform your outdoor living space.

Test Your Handiwork With Water Droplets

Test your work with water droplets. If the stain is still not dry, let it dry for another 24 hours. When you’re ready to test it with water, drip a few drops onto the surface of the furniture and let them sit for a minute or two to see how they react. 

If some of them bead up and form tiny spheres on top of the wood grain, you’re good! It’s ready for use!

Dry For 24 Hours

Once you’ve finished applying the first coat, let your piece of patio furniture dry for 24 hours before applying a second coat. 

The stain should be dry to the touch and no longer sticky. Don’t place it in direct sunlight while it’s curing because this will cause premature fading. 

If you live in a rainy or snowy climate, be sure that your pieces are covered when they’re not being used. And finally, don’t put them under heat lamps or any other type of artificial light because this could discolor them over time.

Put It Back Where It Belongs, If Necessary

If you’re storing your furniture outside, it’s important to put the pieces back where they belong. 

This helps prevent damage from rain or other elements that can cause your furniture to discolor, rot or even rust. If you do not have a place to store your patio furniture but still want to be able to enjoy it as soon as possible, consider putting it into storage in the garage until you are ready.

If you’re not sure where something goes with respect to staining and sealing patio furniture, talk with someone who has experience with this process before making any decisions on how best to proceed with either of these tasks.

ClothingReturn to the closet or designated drawers
BooksPut them back on the shelf
Kitchen UtensilsReturn to their respective drawers or storage areas
ToysPlace them in the toy box or designated storage bins
ToolsStore them in the toolbox or designated tool storage
ElectronicsReturn to their designated spots or charging stations
Personal ItemsPut them back in their designated places
GroceriesStore in the pantry, refrigerator, or appropriate storage areas
Office SuppliesReturn to their designated drawers or storage containers

Add The Cushions And Covers Back On, If Necessary

If you have cushions, put them back on and make sure they’re in place. If you have seat cushions, replace them as well. 

They should be firmly attached to the frame of the furniture so that they won’t move around too much during use.

Don’t let rust ruin your wrought iron patio furniture. Follow our expert advice on repairing rusted wrought iron patio furniture to restore its beauty and extend its lifespan, so you can continue enjoying your outdoor seating in style.


If you follow these steps, you’ll have patio furniture that looks like it was just purchased at the store! 

And if you want to keep your hands free from the mess, there are companies out there that will do the work for you.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful for staining and sealing patio furniture:

Refinish Your Outdoor Furniture: True Value provides a comprehensive guide on refinishing outdoor furniture, offering tips and step-by-step instructions to bring new life to your worn-out pieces.

How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture from Elements: Woodworkly offers valuable insights on protecting outdoor wood furniture from various elements, such as rain, sun, and pests, helping you maintain its longevity and beauty.

Painting Outdoor Wood Furniture: Benjamin Moore provides expert advice on painting outdoor wood furniture, including surface preparation, color selection, and application techniques, ensuring a professional and durable finish.


How often should I stain and seal my patio furniture?

Staining and sealing frequency depends on various factors, such as the type of wood, climate conditions, and usage. As a general guideline, it is recommended to stain and seal outdoor furniture every 1-3 years to maintain its appearance and protect it from the elements.

What tools and materials do I need for staining and sealing patio furniture?

To stain and seal patio furniture, you will typically need a brush or sprayer for application, sandpaper for surface preparation, wood stain, and a suitable outdoor wood sealer. Additionally, you may require a clean cloth, drop cloths, and protective equipment such as gloves and goggles.

How do I prepare my patio furniture before staining and sealing?

Preparing your patio furniture for staining and sealing involves cleaning the surfaces thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, and old finish. This can be done by using a mild detergent, water, and a brush. Sanding may also be necessary to smooth out any rough areas or remove existing coatings.

Can I stain and seal painted patio furniture?

In most cases, it is not recommended to stain and seal painted patio furniture. Stains are designed to penetrate the wood fibers and may not adhere properly to a painted surface. However, you can consider repainting your furniture with an outdoor paint specifically formulated for wood to provide protection and enhance its appearance.

How long does it take for the stain and sealer to dry?

The drying time for stain and sealer varies depending on the product used and environmental conditions. Generally, it takes around 24-48 hours for the stain and sealer to dry completely. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the specific product you’re using for accurate drying times and curing recommendations.