An outside table that has not been finished is vulnerable to damage from the elements. The wood will fade from the sun and will absorb moisture from rain, dew and humidity. Moisture will rot the wood. If your outside table is not finished, it will not last. Follow these steps to finish your outside table before it becomes damaged.
Step 1: Use an electric handheld sander and rough grit sand paper to remove an 1/8 inch of wood. You will notice how bright the sanded areas are. Sand the entire table, including the legs and bench if your table has one.
Switch to fine grit sand paper and sand all surfaces again. Fine grit sand paper removes nicks, dents, scratches, etc. from the wood. Using fine grit sand paper will also prepare the wood for it’s new finish.
Use a dry cloth to wipe your outside table down well. It’s important to remove all of the dust that was created from sanding. If the dust is not removed it could become trapped under your new finish and will result in bumps and unsightly blemishes.
Choose a color of stain that matches or compliments your other outside furniture. Use a dry cloth to apply the stain. Pour some stain onto the cloth and then rub the cloth on the wood in a circular motion. Do not pour the stain directly onto the wood as doing so will result in dark spots. Wipe excess stain off of the wood using a clean dry cloth. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from discoloration from the stain.
Once the first application of stain has been applied take a good look at the table and bench. If you are satisfied with the richness of the stain color move on to the next step. If not, apply another coat of stain.
Use a water sealer meant for decks, porches, and outside wood furniture to weather proof your outside table. Apply the sealer using a large paint brush. Allow the first coat of sealer to dry for half an hour then apply a second. The sealer will protect your outside table and bench. It will make it moisture resistant. The color of your stain will also be protected from the sun and it will not fade.
Allow the second coat of sealer to dry for 24 hours before using your outside table and bench. After the 24 hours is up it is usable. The new finish will last for years!