How to Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture

Blue rocking chairs show off nicely on this covered porch with a stained wood floor, greige siding and multiple muted-green trimmed windows.

With smart planning, staining your outdoor furniture can be done in less than a weekend.

Outdoor furniture is made from many different materials—such as wicker, wrought iron, aluminum and plastic—but wood is by far the most popular. Whether you go with a stain opacity that allows your wood furniture’s natural grain to show through or opt for an opaque solid in your choice of 3,500+ colors, a fresh exterior wood stain on outdoor furniture yields a great new look.

Staining outdoor furniture is a lot easier with expert advice to guide you. Follow these steps to achieve the best results and explore our guide to choosing a wood stain color and opacity.

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

The first step when staining outdoor furniture is to make sure the wood is absolutely dry and free of mold and mildew.

Be sure to check the undersides too.

If the old surface has stains from mold or mildew, you can properly prepare the surface with a premium cleaner like Woodluxe® All-in-One Wood Cleaner. For mild cases, you can mix your own solution of one part household bleach to three parts water (it’s best to do this outside or in a well-ventilated area). Be sure to rinse the furniture and allow it to completely dry before applying an exterior wood stain.

If the weather is cold, move the furniture indoors to dry. In milder weather, it’s fine to place the furniture in a garage, carport or other shelter from the rain. Don’t cover the furniture with plastic or a tarp, as doing so will not allow enough air circulation for thorough drying.

Step 2: Sand Your Exterior Wood Surfaces

The next step is to sand the surfaces to be stained. If the old finish is in fairly good condition, it’s enough to just roughen the surface. Start with a coarse-grade sandpaper, working with the grain, then move to a finer-grade sandpaper until you obtain a smooth finish. An orbital hand sander is the perfect tool for this job, if you have one. If the old finish is in bad condition, you may choose to remove it down to the bare wood. This can be accomplished with a quality exterior wood stain remover such as Woodluxe® Wood Stain Remover.

Step 3: Apply Your Exterior Wood Stain

If you’re staining outdoor wood furniture, why not go for a product that’s strong enough to protect a deck?

Woodluxe® Exterior Stain is formulated to protect against the harshest weather conditions as well as UV rays. Woodluxe offers a range of colors and opacities:

  • 7 Translucent ready-made colors: Woodluxe Translucent stain is available in Natural, Redwood, Teak, Cedar, Mahogany, Bleached Gray and Chestnut Brown.
  • 75 Semi-Transparent and Semi-Solid colors: Woodluxe Semi-Transparent stain and Woodluxe Semi-Solid stain are available in a curated selection of colors.
  • 3,500+ Solid colors: Woodluxe Solid stain is available in the full Benjamin Moore portfolio of colors.

A note on grain: If you use Woodluxe Solid stain, the wood grain will be completely covered, but you will still be able to enjoy some of your outdoor wood furniture’s natural texture.

Step 4: Dry & Maintain

Let the furniture dry in a clean, dust-free, well-ventilated area. Don’t leave it outside to dry, as wind and air may deposit dust and particles onto the wet surface.

Once the furniture is dry, you’re good to go. Situate your furniture where it won’t be under a drip line from a roof or tree limb. An occasional light wash with dish detergent and warm water will help you enjoy your freshly stained outdoor wood furniture for years to come.

Get inspired: See color and design inspiration for outdoor furniture—featuring our premium Woodluxe Exterior Stains—on our decks page, and explore a timeless palette of driftwood grays, warm russets and woodland greens.

Explore Exterior Wood Stains & Colors

Beyond Wood Furniture

If you have wicker furniture, wrought-iron patio furniture, plastic backyard furniture or questions about painting any other type of outdoor furniture, visit your locally owned Benjamin Moore store to get expert prep instructions and product recommendations.

Now that you’ve got your outdoor wood furniture looking its best, try painting or staining an outdoor fence for your next project.

Have questions? Visit your locally owned store or contact Customer Support.

Step-by-Step Guides.

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Woodluxe® Oil- and Water-Based Exterior Stains.

Woodluxe® Exterior Stain

The ultimate protection for outdoor beauty.