Restoring garden furniture

Dingy garden furniture looks sad and uninviting. But you can soon knock it back into shape with some easy DIY
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Use exterior gloss paint for a shiny finish
Use exterior gloss paint for a shiny finish, such as International 10-Year Exterior Gloss, £12.99

Paint, stain or restore the original colour of garden furniture by following these easy step-by-step guides.

Add a shiny finish

As always, the secret of a fine finish is in the preparation. Use exterior gloss paint and don't rush; allow plenty of time for drying between each step.

1. Clean all surfaces with warm water (scrub if necessary) and allow to dry thoroughly.

2. Lightly sand down any rough parts, and wipe over with white spirit to remove any dust and grease.

3. If wood is in bad condition, apply a coat of exterior primer, and allow to dry (this takes about eight hours).

4. Stir the can of gloss paint thoroughly. Turn the furniture upside down, and, using a small brush, paint underneath and allow to dry.

5. Turn the right way up, finish off, and allow to dry for at least eight hours. Apply a second coat if necessary.

Suggested products: International 10-Year Exterior Gloss in nine colours (plus brilliant white), £12.99 for 750ml; International High Performance Exterior Primer Undercoat, £11.48 for 750ml;

Use coloured woodstain for a more subtle finish

1. Make sure the wood is clean and dry. Sand back all grey weathered wood to a clean bright surface.

Coloured wood stain gives a subtle finish
Coloured wood stain gives a subtle finish
2. Wipe over with white spirit to remove any dust or grease, and allow to dry.

3. Stir can well - and again as necessary during the job. Brush on evenly along the grain of the wood. This finish should be touch dry within one hour.

4. Wait at least eight hours and apply a second coat. You may need a third coat to get an even colour.

Suggested product: Cuprinol Garden Shades in 21 colours, from cream, sage and sky to cobalt and turquoise; £1.99 for 125ml tester pot; £8.99 for one litre; £16.29 for 2.5 litres; £22.99 for five litres; (online advice service)

Restoring the original colour

The simplest solution is to use a garden furniture restorer. This is a liquid that puts colour and sheen back into weathered wood.

1. Remove excess dirt from old greying wood with a stiff bristle brush. Wash down and allow to dry.

2. Apply garden furniture restorer liberally with a paintbrush.

3. Use a mild abrasive scouring pad to work the restorer into the surface of the wood. Leave for no more than 15 minutes.

4. Wash the restorer off with plenty of clean, warm water, and allow to dry.

5. Sand down to remove any loose fibres, and to bring out the wood's natural sheen.

Suggested product: Cuprinol Garden Furniture Restorer; £10.49 a litre; (online advice service)

Or try "eco-friendly" Ecolibrium Garden Furniture Restorer (from Blackfriar Paints). This is lightly tinted, and made from blends of natural oils and waxes, such as beeswax and linseed; £9.99 for 500ml; £16.99 for one litre; available from garden centres;

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