How to transform tired outdoor furniture rather than buying new

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With the weather becoming brighter and the sun even making a regular appearance it is probably time to check on the appearance of your garden furniture and structures – have they survived the wet winter or are they in trouble?

But before you decide to ditch that garden bench, take the metal bistro set to the council tip, or give away that old shed, there might be a chance of not just saving them but reviving them to the point where they are one of the stars of your outdoor space.

Of course, some garden items are beyond salvation and need to be disposed of in the appropriate manner, but for the rest it’s time to get your creativity flowing.

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There are a range of products and methods you can choose to revive wood, metal and even plastic to get the sunshine back into your garden or balcony, and they come in a tasty range of colors too.

Wood is, of course, a major material used for garden furniture and structures, and a number of companies produce wood-specific exterior paint designed to easily give the garden wood a color lift. Co-founder of Thorndown paint, Ben Thornborough has some advice for reviving wooden furniture, sheds and outbuildings.

Color



Shed revived using Thorndown’s Squirrel Blue and Skylark Blue Wood Paint

Ben Thornborough says: “Select your color palette based on shades that will fit with your existing garden design and your plants, and most importantly, bring a smile to your face.” But also, think about how the inside and outside of your home might be better connected by checking the view from the windows of your home out into the garden.

If your internal rooms have a certain color palette or a particular interior design theme, why not pick these tones up in the garden too? This will help visually connect the inside to the outside, even when the windows, patio or bi-fold doors are closed.

If you are unsure what colors will give you most joy, buying some sample pots are the way to go to see how each shade will look and the leftover shades could then be used to brighten up smaller wooden structures in the garden like planters or a trellis .

correct product



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Metal garden set revived using Frenchic Alfresco paint in Greyhound

It sounds obvious, but always choose a paint specified for the specific surface and for exterior use. There are a range of companies that do exterior wood paint, including Thorndown, so the choice is exciting, but there are options for metal and plastic too.

Frenchic paint does a multi-surface paint called the Al Fresco Inside/Outside range, a water based, durable, weatherproof, UV resistant chalk and mineral paint specifically developed to transform your garden or indoor furniture.

The company states that the Al Fresco range produces a very low, almost flat finish, suitable for wood, laminate, UPVC and metal and is a suitable choice for your kitchen, bathroom, front door or just about any type of garden furniture.



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Plastic set revived using pintyplus spray paint in pure white, antique pink, gentian blue and mint turquoise

And if your plastic furniture is looking well past its use by date, Pintyplus Evolution spray paint available online might be an option to breathe new life into them. The Pintyplus company claims using their primer and spray can totally transform outdoor plastic items.

Preparation



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Bench updated using Tree Lichen Wood Paint from Thorndown Paints

Preparation is key when it comes to the perfect finish, so before you consider painting your old, tired wood or metal furniture, sand off any rough patches or loose old coatings that will show or affect the finish.

Paint company Rust-Oleum, who also do a range of specialist paints for a range of surfaces that includes outdoor metal, has a vital tip when preparing old painted surfaces for repainting, saying if you suspect there is lead in the paint, do not try to remove it yourself. Instead, contact a qualified contractor for a lead paint assessment.



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Ben Thornborough has advice for wood surfaces, saying: “Wooden furniture may need preserving with a wood preserver. If your furniture is made with treated softwood, remove any surface residue from the pressure-treatment process.

“If your furniture is old, make sure the surface is thoroughly cleaned whatever it is made of. Wash off any dirt with soapy water or use a pressure-washer to blast off persistent dirt or algae. Washing with a light bleach and water solution will also help to kill off algae.”



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Thorndown Paint’s Field Green Wood Paint on Forest Georgian Wall Greenhouse

Painting outdoor metal is an option too but might need a bit more preparation. Ben says: “If there is any rust on fixings, treat the metal surfaces or use paint with a rust inhibitor like Thorndown Wood Paint to stop rust from forming on non-galvanised metal or metal screws other than stainless steel.”

Frenchic paint reminds you to wear a mask before cleaning the metal item you are about to paint and they recommend mixing one-part sugar soap with 10-parts warm, soapy water, and then sanding back the rust with the aim of smoothing out the surface and helping the paint to adhere.



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Table and bench painted in Thorndown’s Cavepool Gray Wood Paint

Plastic also needs appropriate preparation. To stand a chance of successfully updating your plastic outdoor furniture Pintyplus states that cleaning the surface and letting it dry is vital before applying the primer (using a facemask and eye protection). With outdoor plastic, the first stage of respraying is extremely important.

The company states to make sure the primer is dry before applying the spray paint and that it is important to always paint about 15cm from the surface.

It is always preferable to apply two thin layers rather than one, so there isn’t a build-up of excess paint and to keep your hand moving left to right or from top to bottom to cover all the object you are painting.

Again, let the paint layer dry totally before checking for any areas you might have missed or that need a touch up.

patience



reviving old garden furniture and structures
Cavepool Gray and Bishop Blue Wood Paint on Forest Oakley Summerhouse from Thorndown Paints

Don’t rush to start your paint job before the cleaning and preparation stage is dry.

Whatever surface you are updating, the coatings won’t fix properly to the surface if you apply before its dry, affecting the paint’s performance and longevity.

Ben adds: “To ensure the perfect finish with wood apply a knotting agent or stain-blocking primer to prevent possible tannin staining of the paint coating.

“However, if you’re a fan of all things natural, don’t worry about it and let nature take its course.

“Apply your first coat of wood paint using a high-quality paint brush, roller or sprayer and leave to dry for one to two hours, and obviously if you’re leaving the paint to dry in the sunshine, it will dry much quicker.

“After you have applied a second coat, leave this to dry for at least 12 hours. While it might feel dry, the curing, fixing process takes a lot longer and the more time you give it, the better.”

weather forecast

As with all DIY projects, follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly, but there’s one element you and any specialist paint manufacturer can’t control – the great British weather,

Before you start applying your paint or spraying your plastic, check the weather to make sure rain isn’t forecast for at least 24 hours.

This will allow plenty of time for the paint to dry, fix and bond properly and mean all your hard work isn’t washed away in a few seconds. And don’t miss any home and garden tips and advice, dream homes and renovation stories in the future by joining the Amazing Welsh Homes newsletter.

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