restore garden furniture

How to revive rusty garden furniture

Patio season is fast approaching and if your annual shed clear out has revealed some neglected metal garden furniture, good news! With just a day’s work you can rejuvenate even seemingly hopeless cases – and save a fortune over buying new.

Step-by-step refinishing

Metal chairs and tables are a chic addition to an outdoor eating space. However, they are prone to peeling paint and rust if stored in a damp place over the winter months. In order to refinish them so they last for many years to come, you’ll need to remove as much of the rust from the frames as possible.

Normally we prefer hand tools over power tools, as you can often do just as good a job without the energy usage. However in this case don’t mess around with sanding blocks as it’ll take weeks to get down to the metal! Just borrow or hire an electric sander, and buy the corresponding sandpaper packs in 60, 120 and 240 grits.

Starting with the lowest grit (the coarsest sandpaper), scuff off as much of the rust and any previously applied paint as possible. The closest you can get to the original frame, the less likely the rust will reappear and the smoother the final finish will be. Once you’ve been over the frame a couple of times with the 60 grit paper, go again with the 120 grit and then finally with the 240 grit.

Choose a primer and paint specially designed for exterior metal and with rust-fighting ingredients. The types that come in a spray paint cans are easiest to apply. When applying the primer and your chosen paint colour, go for a very light coating when spraying to avoid drips. You may have to apply up to three coats for full coverage – but patience is definitely a virtue here!

If you’re doing this outside and a leaf or other debris gets stuck on your wet surface, don’t worry. Once the coat is dry, simply sand the area back with wet sandpaper then reapply your primer and paint.

Once you’ve finished your painting, let the items cure for a full 24 hours, just to be safe, before putting any hard objects on them – or sitting down! Best leave the furniture underneath a covered surface overnight so nothing can fall on top of it and ruin the paint job.

Choosing your paint colours

Paint colours can make an old garden set into the focal point for a whole new garden look. For example:

  • Whites brings to mind delicate Victorian herb gardens, but can also set off bold colourful flowerbeds
  • Dark greens ‘camouflage’ the garden furniture for a very traditional vibe that goes well with red brick patios, well-kept lawns and neat bedding plants
  •  Beiges and greys match with very contemporary landscaped gardens
  • Electric blues and other neon colours look wonderfully modern against bright tropical greens and white walls
  • Pastel pinks, yellows or blues give the garden a touch of shabby chic. Lovely with climbing roses!

And if all else fails? Well, it’s amazing what a tablecloth can do!

Does your garden furniture need a bit of TLC? How do you plan to update your garden this year? Share your thoughts with us here or on Twitter and Facebook!

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