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How to Stain Outdoor Furniture [Our Expert Guide]

How to Stain Outdoor Furniture [Our Expert Guide]
By Jordan Henrie
January 28, 2023

The Kooper™ 4 Piece Sunbrella® Outdoor Sofa & Club Chair Set features a natural stained look on weather-resistant acacia wood.

Staining outdoor furniture can bring new life to weathered and worn pieces. Wondering how to go about it? Staining outdoor furniture requires cleaning, stripping the old finish, sanding, and applying new stain. Learn more about these steps in the guide below.


As mentioned above, staining outdoor wood furniture involves preparing the wood, stripping the old stain, sanding, and applying a fresh stain. But before you do any of that, it's essential to make sure you have the right supplies.


A natural-bristle brush is best for oil stains, while a synthetic-bristle brush is ideal for latex stains. Buying the proper brush will ensure the stain goes on evenly.


Once your supplies are all ready, take care in preparing for the staining process. Preparing the wood correctly takes time and patience, but it will be worth it when you see the final results. Likewise, a rushed job will be obvious when staining outdoor furniture. 

Prepare the wood by: 

  • Remove parts you don't want to stain (like metal bolts or nails). 

  • Clean dirt and mildew off the wood. 

  • Allow the wood to dry.


Stripping the stain requires a well-ventilated workspace. Set out a drop cloth and use a sander or chemical stripping solution to remove the old stain. Use a fine-grit sanding sponge to work around delicate or curved areas of the wood. If using a stripping solution, let it soak for about 20 minutes before removing the finish with a scraper tool.


Sanding will allow you to clean off any remaining stain and smooth out the wood to prepare it for the new stain. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Clean the wood with a dry rag to remove any sanding dust before proceeding.


Now it's time for the main event. First, apply your stain using the proper brush and a rag to blend each section. Start at the top of the furniture piece and work your way down.

This lovely Vaughn™ 76in Sunbrella® Outdoor Sofa features a dark wood stain on beautiful eucalyptus.


You can refinish outdoor furniture in various ways, including staining, painting, or waterproofing. Staining is one of the most popular choices for refinishing because it's a natural-looking option that won't chip and will stand up well to the elements.

Staining requires cleaning the wood, sanding off the old stain, and applying a fresh coat of the new stain. You can choose a similar stain or a completely new color.

If you choose to paint, be sure to apply at least two coats and an outdoor sealant as the final coat.


Waterproof wood furniture is one of the best ways to protect your outdoor furniture pieces. However, to effectively waterproof your furniture, you'll first want to research your options for sealant. Some stains come with a waterproof element, while others require sealant as a second coat.

The sealant can be applied by sanding down the wood and applying one layer of primer, followed by one layer of sealant. This will protect your wood from rain, wind, and sun damage.

The wonderful Yuri 4pc Seating Set features a natural stain on FSC certified eucalyptus wood.


Now you know how to stain wood on your outdoor furniture. But did you know you can also repurpose indoor furniture for outdoor use? Simply follow the steps in the previous section for weatherproofing your furniture, and your indoor pieces will be ready for use outside.


Even if you've never stained outdoor furniture, you can do the job right the first time with plenty of research and care in each step. Here are some do's and don'ts to remember:

  • Apply your stain at room temperature. If the stain is too hot or cold, it will ruin the consistency. Most stains should be applied around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but make sure to check the label.

  • Use even and smooth strokes. This will produce a natural and consistent color once the 

  • stain dries.

  • Apply your stain in a dry climate. Avoid applying the stain in a humid area since this will make it hard for the stain to dry. However, during rainstorms or extremely humid days, delay your staining project until the air dries out.


Is your outdoor furniture in need of a refresh? If you're looking for a change, check out RST Brands' collection of outdoor furniture. We offer high-end outdoor sofas, dining sets, and more to suit any backyard.