Patio Furniture Shows its True Colors

By: Kathy Moran

Wood is a wonderful, versatile material that makes beautiful indoor and !a href=''>patio furniture. It can be left unfinished, or coated with a clear sealer, to complement any dťcor, or stained, painted, distressed, or antiqued, to accent specific color schemes and motifs. If youíre thinking about repainting a piece, and are dreading the process of stripping it, youíll be relieved to know that you normally donít have to strip furniture before you paint it. The important thing is to prepare it correctly, so that the paint will adhere properly, and dry to a radiant enamel finish. Besides making sure that the surface is clean and dry, you will have to dull any glossy paint that is already on it. If it was painted in the past couple of decades, you can do this by sanding it; but if the paint was put on before the early 80ís, it may contain lead, and should be treated with a liquid de-glosser. Always work in a well-ventilated area, and wear a dust mask when youíre sanding, and a respirator when youíre painting. Before you begin painting, make sure that there is no dust left over from sanding, or from anywhere else, or it could ruin your paint job. An alkyd enamel paint will give the furniture a wet look, while a latex will create a satiny appearance. Two coats of either type will give you good results, but three will provide maximum shine and durability. For an ultra-smooth finish, prime the piece with two layers of enamel undercoat first. Another way to ensure a spectacular finish, is to use an alkyd paint with an oil base and an extended drying time of approximately two days. A paint additive will increase penetration and drying time. To help the paint to flow more freely, strain it, even if itís fresh, and thin it by as much as ten per cent. Apply it in thin coats, with a natural-bristle brush, to help to minimize brush marks, which also interfere with a flawless finish. Whenever you can, have the surface that youíre painting lying horizontally. Make your strokes across the grain first, then, very lightly, with the tip of the brush, go along the entire length of the grain. After each coat dries, sand it with fine paper, and wipe it with a tack cloth. A project such as this requires time and patience, but itís worth it, as you will be rewarded with stunning furniture that looks as good as new. However, if you donít want to put up with the mess, the fumes, and the sawdust, go to, where a few clicks of your mouse can bring you the most gorgeous patio furniture youíve ever seen. has a huge selection of hand-crafted, decay-resistant cedar, pine, oak, cherry, and teak, as well as aluminum, polywood, synthetic wicker, and vinyl furniture thatís maintenance-free and nearly indestructible. Furthermore, you can get most of the metal and synthetic, as well as much of the wood furniture, in dozens of bright, stylish colors, without even lifting a brush. To browse the entire collection, visit To contact a design consultant or customer service representative, call 1-888-293-2339, or e-mail [email protected].

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