Caring for your Wooden Garden Furniture

By: John Duff


Many people are unsure how to best care for wooden garden furniture during the winter months. Garden Furniture Scotland has a number of ideas which you can put into practice whether you have keruing, balau or jarrah wood furniture.

Our customers often ask us how they might best care for their newly purchased wooden garden furniture when winter begins to set in. Remember, wood is a natural product and, as such will react to the environment in which it is store. If you have the space, it is recommended that in order to best protect your wooden garden furniture that you store it inside during the winter. If this is not possible, cover the set with a good quality breathable weather cover, ensuring that the centre is higher than the sides so that rain water runs off.

Regardless of how you store your furniture in the winter, the appearance of the wood will change as it acclimatizes to being exposed to the atmosphere during the summer months when you are using it. There is a naturally occurring process of protection which the wood undergoes and as it does, it changes to a silver-grey colour, or patina. If it is stored under a tree, you might discover dark spots appearing on the furniture as sap and excretions from aphids fall on its surface and dry in the sun.

Wood is a wholly natural product and will react to the atmosphere when left outside. This natural process is a means of the wood protecting itself against the elements. If the furniture is left outside, the air pockets within the wood will react to changes in pressure and temperature. Little cracks may appear in the wood, especially on the end grain, in hot conditions but will recluse when the weather cools and it becomes wetter. This is a common occurrence and doesn’t alter the robustness or durability of the furniture.

Hardwood also protects itself by changing colour to a sliver-grey and this “patina” as it is called is purely cosmetic. Again, it does not affect the quality of the furniture and is not an indication of an inferior product. The exact colour of patina depends on the atmosphere in which the garden furniture is stored. You cannot stop this from happening but you can take some action to limit the effect of the process.

In applying teak oil, you ought to pay particular attention to the end grain and to any joints. Any oil which remains on the surface must be removed with a cloth and please make sure that the furniture is fully dry before you use it! We have known people to ruin a lovely set of clothes by sitting on newly oiled furniture!

In hot weather, cracks may appear in the wood. This is natural and should not worry you. It does not affect the durability of the garden furniture nor the strength of the wood. Cracks will close again once cooler and damper weather returns.

In the sun, you might find that sap will appear on the surface and the sun might cause it to harden. Dousing it in soapy water and then scrubbing it with a hard brush will bring your furniture back to its former glory. Sticky sap can be scraped off and then an application of white spirit can remove any residue. This will help your garden furniture stay looking better for longer.

To recap:

* Remove any dirt which has accumulated by rubbing with a stiff brush and warm water.

* Brush with warm soapy water to remove any dirt

* Sand any rough areas

* Apply teak oil sparingly using a lint free cloth

* Use teak oil sparingly, applying it with a lint free cloth

* Use a lint free cloth to apply teak oil sparingly

* Allow to dry thoroughly before use

* Repeat once or at most twice a season

NOTE: If the dirt is not removed before treatment, black areas will appear on the surface where the oil and dirt have mixed.

Following these handy tips that John of Garden Furniture Scotland has outlined, will help you to keep your garden furniture looking super for longer and ensure that you make the very most of your garden.

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