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Refinished & Reused, Part 1- The Great Outdoors

Refinished & Reused, Part 1- The Great Outdoors

Are you tired of your old outdoor furniture or do you have a great piece that is just not in the best of condition. No matter if it is an old bench, patio set, fire pit, or picnic table, there are many ways to freshen up and make those old treasures sparkle like new. Here's how...

Now I am not the one to say take the easy way out, but sometimes it works. I recently have been working on some projects around my house both inside and out, and have come to find that spray paint is my new best friend when it comes to making my old rugged pieces seem new. While it is not a fix all (like some believe duct tape to be), it does a great job of giving a face-lift to those old tired pieces of furniture.

1) Lets start with the metals. Are your metal patio chairs getting a little old and rusted out from the rain, or is your porch swing frame getting a little orange looking? Try a Rustoleum spray paint, designed to adhere to metal and eliminate your rusty spots. Remember this is just to cover surface rust, always check the strength of rusty metal items to make sure the rust has not damaged the structural integrity of your piece. I do not want you sitting down and your chair or swing falling apart because it rusted through.  You can also make your fire pit or charcoal grill look good as new.  Especially if you allow your fire pit to weather the elements, it may have rust damage from rain and continued use.  Make sure you purchase a special spray paints designed for high heat that can remedy your rust problems with a new layer that will make your fire pit or grill look good as new.  Use a metal wire brush to clean off as much rust as possible before applying a even coat of paint to the entire bowl.  Make sure to coat both the interior and exterior to cover all the rust.  You can even spray your cover if that needs a new look as well.

2) Next onto the Wood.  While you can use spray paint on wood products too, depending on the look you are going for, you may want to sand and re-stain your outdoor wood furniture for a more natural look.  You can re-stain directly over your weathered wood fence, but for furniture you may want to sand down the surface to smooth it out and then apply new stain.  If you sand down the current finish on any outdoor wood products, it would be good to add a final coat of polyurethane to protect your finished product.  This will add a water resistant finish to your furniture pieces and add an additional layer of resistance to rot and insects.   If you are not interested in the natural color of the wood, paint is a great options.  If you choose to spray paint, make sure it is designed for wood and outdoor weather, or select a traditional exterior paint that you can apply with a brush.  If you choose to paint your furniture, you may still want to apply a clear protective coating depending on the location and use of the piece.  Select one that will work with water based paint.  You do not want to use the same clear coat as the oil based stain as that material will react negatively with the water based paint.  Check with your local home improvement or paint store to find out what product they recommend for the paint product you are using.

3) Finally lets look at what we can do with the plastics.  Plastic outdoor furniture is a pretty inexpensive way to populate your backyard and offer ample seating for guests and most pieces are fairly comfortable and nice looking when you first purchase them.  But white pieces get dirty and stained quickly and color pieces fade in the sun and not quite as bright after a few summers of use.  So even though they are not too expensive, there is no need to go out and replace perfectly good pieces just because they are a little color worn.  Revive them with a new coat of bright paint.  For a long time, you had few options for plastic.  Because of the slick finish, paint would slide right off and not stick to a plastic chair.  There are new spray paints out there designed specially for plastic.  So you can touch up your existing pieces by matching the existing colors or try something new and add some color to brighten up your outdoor space.

Take a look at a recent project I finished that used several of the above idea with a enjoyable outcome.  The treasure as an old porch swing found on the side of the road on junk day.  It was in bad shape.  The metal frame was all rusted, the bolts were pretty much worthless, the small slats were pretty mossy and cracked, the wider slats were salvageable, and the chain was gone on one side.  Plus it was a porch swing and we don't have a porch to hang it from.  So... our solution... take apart the swing, refinish it, and reuse it.  The small slats needed to be replaced, and all of them were sanded and painted white to create a clean bright look.  We painted the rusty metal frame with a rust proof metallic paint and replaced the bolts with new ones to guarantee the strength.  We also bought a new porch swing chain set to hang the swing.  And to address the no porch issue... we built a freestanding frame to hang the swing from.  Fie 8' 4" x 4" posts created the two A-frame sides and the horizontal piece to hang the swing from.  Braces and shelves add rigidity and decoration to the ensemble.  We stained and urethaned the whole piece thoroughly to resist bugs, rot, and mildew.  Treated lumber or cedar should be used for added resistance to the outdoor elements. One all was finished, assembly was all that was left and then it was ready to enjoy.

So maybe you don't  need to go on a shopping spree for new outdoor furniture to revamp your backyard, just take a trip to you paint store and refresh you finish.   You can reuse a lot of your existing pieces by just taking a little time to refinish them.

Written By: JoAnna Landers

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