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How to Care For Your Outdoor Wood Chairs

When it comes to your outdoor wood chairs, paying attention to fine details, such as the quality of workmanship and components, is highly crucial. Particularly if longevity is what you’re after.

But equally important, yet often underrated, is the ongoing care and maintenance these chairs need to preserve their beauty as they age.

A quick glance at any piece of well-maintained outdoor wood furniture will tell you that every effort you put into caring for your wooden chairs will help them stand the test of time.

In fact, the more you care for these chairs, the greater the benefit. 

Here’s why we say so: 

  • No more costly repair and maintenance expenses: Cleaning and caring for your outdoor chairs, much like maintaining your health with regular check-ups, will help reduce the need for late repairs or replacements—which can be quite costly.
  • You’ll enjoy a clean and fresh environment: Ensuring that your outdoor wood chairs are regularly cleaned will improve your air quality by removing the build-up of dust, molds, and allergens.
  • Your chairs will look as good as new: Taking proper care of your outdoor wooden chairs will ensure they maintain their beauty and timelessness, keeping their colors bright, textures intact, and looking as good as the day you got them.

Fortunately, caring for your outdoor wood chairs doesn’t need to be so labor-intensive. 

With just a few easy steps, you’ll have them looking their best in no time.

Step 1 - Clean and Dust the Chairs Regularly

We love wooden furniture for many reasons; it’s durable, timeless, and sturdily built to last generations.

But one particular reason that stands out is its ease of care and maintenance. 

Outdoor wood chairs require minimal effort to stay fresh and new-looking. With a bit of dusting at least once or twice a week (to eliminate any debris, dirt, or dust), your chairs will look as good as new. 

However, this is only a short-term solution. As time goes by, debris, dust, and dirt will start settling and sticking to your chairs’ surface, especially in the wood grain. 

In these situations, dusting won’t really do much, which is why we recommend doing some light cleaning as well. 

Occasionally cleaning the surface of your wood chairs improves their longevity and maintains their beauty as dirt or dust particles won’t settle on or discolor them.

This cleaning procedure is simple and direct, requiring only five easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Run a soft microfiber cloth over your wooden chair to remove surface dirt or dust.
  2. In a bucket, mix a solution of warm water and mild soap or a wood cleaner. 
  3. Dip a soft cloth or sponge in the solution, wring it out, and gently wipe the wooden chair.
  4. Rinse your cloth often with plain water and wring it out, then wipe the wooden chair to remove any soap residue.
  5. Take a second clean cloth or towel and dry the wooden chairs thoroughly.

Also, remember to deep clean your outdoor wooden chairs at the start and end of every season or immediately after you notice stains and spills. 

Do this by gently scrubbing the affected areas with a soft brush and a mix of water and oxygen bleach or mild detergent.

Once your wooden chairs are completely dry, give them extra protection using a varnish or a sealant, which you can easily find online or at a local hardware store. 

Alternatively, prepare your own sealant by mixing a cup of olive oil with a quarter cup of white vinegar.

Pour the mixture on a soft cloth and work it into the wood, lightly wiping with the grain. Buff until the chair becomes shiny.

Expert Tip: For hardwood outdoor chairs, such as rustic chairs, choose sealants and varnishes solely made for hardwood furniture

Ask your local depot which brands are safe for cleaning and maintaining your hardwood outdoor chairs before choosing one.

Certain cleaning products, like ammonia or bleach detergents, are harsh on wood chairs and can discolor them, drastically changing their appearance.

wood has rermained a top-choice outdoor furniture

Step 2 - Keep the Chairs Away From Heat and Harsh Weather

Wooden chairs aren’t immune to the adverse effects of heat. Furniture can be warped or otherwise damaged from expansion and contraction caused by heat.

Avoid placing hot plates and cups directly on your outdoor wood chairs. Instead, use a hot pad or a coaster to keep a layer between the hot items and your wooden furniture.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can also take a toll on their appearance. The sun’s UV rays may cause light and dark spots to form on their surfaces, permanently discoloring them.

Luckily, you can protect your wooden chairs from the sun’s harsh rays in several ways:

  • Place them under covered areas of your patio or backyard.
  • Apply a clear, water-resistant varnish that will protect the chairs against stains and mildew.
  • Invest in a quality outdoor furniture cover to conceal the chairs when not in use for more than a few days. It should be breathable to reduce the chances of mold growth during rainy seasons.

Unless you live in an area with a mild climate and use your outdoor wood chairs all year round, never leave them outside during severe weather conditions, such as storms and hurricanes.

Instead, bring them into a dry garage or basement to prevent moisture damage. Letting wood chairs sit in damp soil for a prolonged period of time will make their legs wick moisture from the ground and cause them to decay.

Note: Some outdoor rustic chairs don’t need to be stored inside during winter or when not in use. Woods like American hardwood and cedar release natural oils that give them some degree of protection against moisture. 

However, furniture covers and indoor storage still guarantee maximum protection against moisture, mold, and mildew.

Step 3 - Restore Your Weathered Outdoor Wood Chairs for a Fresh Look

One of the top benefits of hardwood furniture is its extreme durability. Top-of-the-line outdoor wood chairs have a high natural resins that makes them resistant to decay and weather.

But just like any other natural material, when these wood chairs are exposed to harsh weather elements, like the scorching sun or freezing rain, they’ll slowly begin to degrade, giving them a dull gray color. 

The good news is that you don't need to buy new chairs when this occurs. You can restore your weathered chairs to their original warm and vibrant woody tones.

All you need to do is follow four simple steps:

  1. Clean: Remove dirt and any other debris using a stiff bristle brush or a soft cloth, depending on the severity of the dirt. Then leave the chairs to dry completely to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  2. Sand: Sand the chairs with a fine-grit sandpaper to evenly smoothen the surface. Brush away any dust afterwards.
  3. Finish: Apply a coat of finishing oil to the freshly sanded chairs with a natural bristle brush. Let the oil penetrate for about 10 minutes before wiping off any excess, which may encourage mold growth.
  4. Dry: Leave your freshly oiled chairs in a shed, and give them a couple of days to completely dry. 

After restoring your outdoor wood chairs, maintain them with a finishing oil at least once per year. This will prevent them from getting too dry, which can cause splitting or cracking.

Consider getting an anti-rot wood hardener if your outdoor wood chairs show any signs of rot, including:

  • Smelling damp and musty
  • Feeling soft and spongy
  • Looking darker 
  • Cracking or crumbling

Caring for Your Outdoor Wood Chairs Begins With Investing in Durable, Weather Resistant Chairs

Wood has remained a top-choice outdoor furniture material for centuries and for excellent reasons. Its versatility, beauty, and malleability are still as enticing as they were many years ago.

However, not all woods are created equal. Even within the same species there are those with different quality grades.

The following table depicts some of the most common wood types for outdoor furniture and their features.

Outdoor Wood Furniture Type Pros Cons
  • Exceptional water-resistance
  • Strong and durable
  • Sustainable
  • Pricier
  • Comes in three grades: A, B, and C. Grade C is highly vulnerable to insect and water damage
  • Repels bugs and insects
  • Withstands high temperatures
  • Lightweight
  • May need regular maintenance
  • Color may fade if not treated
  • Easy to stain and paint
  • Resists shrinking and swelling
  • Has an attractive wood grain
  • Can dent or scratch with ease
  • May need light sanding

From our experience, the best outdoor wood chairs to invest in are rustic wood chairs made from top of the line woods like American hardwood, pine, and cedar. 

These outdoor wood chairs are highly durable, super versatile, and better for the planet since they’re made using reclaimed wood. 

Besides, their rustic nature makes them 100 percent unique. Each plank of reclaimed timber is different. This implies that each piece you buy is uniquely yours.

Rustic Furniture Marketplace offers a wide variety of beautiful rustic outdoor wood chairs that will stand the test of time and complement every furniture design.

"We wanted something unique and this sure fits the bill. It’s extremely durable and is in many ways a chair set that adds class to the front of our house."

— Paul W, Verified Buyer

Our outdoor wood chairs release natural oils that protect them from decay and harsh weather to ensure they require as little maintenance as possible.

Browse our entire collection of outdoor wood chairs to find the best option today.

Pair your chairs with other outdoor wood furniture to transform your backyard into an outdoor oasis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove mold or mildew from outdoor wood chairs?

Gently scrub the affected area with a sponge or cloth. If this fails, add equal amounts of warm water and white vinegar to a spray bottle, then apply the solution to the soiled area.

Ensure the solution sits on the chair for an hour (or more depending on the stain’s severity) before using a damp cloth to wipe it down. 

Finally, completely dry the area with a clean towel to reduce the chances of another mold or mildew growth.

What should I do to prevent my outdoor wood chairs from rotting?

Protect your outdoor wood chairs from rotting by keeping them completely dry and in moisture-free environments. 

For rot to occur, water or moisture must find its way into the cracks of a chair or a side that touches the ground.

How long should I expect my outdoor wood chairs to last?

The longevity of your outdoor wood chairs will depend on several factors, namely their build quality, how you maintain and care for them, the type of wood used, and your area’s climate. 

Generally, expect to receive a service of 25 years and more from your outdoor chairs if they’ve been made with quality wood, like cedar or pine, and receive proper care and maintenance.

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