Garden benches can add charm and character to your outdoor space. This is especially true if you choose a vintage or antique bench. The only downside to placing furniture outdoors is that it can become worn or broken over time. Fortunately, with the right tools and a little bit of effort, most garden benches can be restored to their former glory, even if they have become worn or damaged. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to clean up and restore a garden bench:
Supply List :-
- Tools for scrubbing. Typically, this includes a wire brush, steel wool, and a soft-bristled brush.
- A screwdriver or drill
- Lubricating oil
- Wood finishing products including wood preservative, stain, or oil.
- Outdoor paint that is designed for use on metal
- Thoroughly scrub the bench. The first part of the restoration process involves removing any dirt or algae that has built up on the surface of the bench. Add warm water and a small amount of detergent to a bucket. Use your scrub brushes to scrub away any contaminants on the surface of the bench. Use clean water to rinse the bench periodically. Once the bench is clean, allow it to dry thoroughly. Then, check the slats to see if any of them are rotten or damaged. You can use the tip of your screwdriver to check for signs of softness or decay. Remove any slats that need to be replaced.
- Removed nuts or bolts. Typically, the wooden slats are attached with nuts and bolts. When these types of metal hardware are exposed to the elements, they can rust, getting stuck in place. Spraying them with lubricating oil and leaving them overnight may be enough to loosen them. In some cases, you may also need to tap them with a hammer to loosen the corrosion. If all else fails, you may even need to use a hacksaw to cut through bolts that are severely stuck.
- Cut the replacement slats to size. After removing any slats that show signs of rot, you will need to cut new slats to replace them. The best way to do this is by using reclaimed wood. With a quick trip to a salvage yard, you should be able to find the perfect pieces for your project. Cut them to the right length and use sandpaper to remove any rough edges before installing them.
- Stain the wood to match. The next step is to stain or oil the new slats so that they match the existing slats. You may need to experiment on a scrap of wood until you find the perfect stain color. As you test different stains, allow them to dry thoroughly before comparing them to the original slats. That way, you will be able to get an accurate match.
- Get ready to install the new slats. Position them on the bench where they will be installed. Using a fine-tipped marker, place a dot on the underside of each slat to indicate where the bolts go. Start by drilling a small hole first. This will help avoid problems with splitting the wood. You can then enlarge the hole with a bigger a bit so that the bolt will fit through.
- Attach the slats.Once the holes have been drilled, it is simply a matter of attaching the slats to the bench with the bolts. Make sure that the nuts are thoroughly tightened so that the slats will stay in place. You can help prevent rust by adding a little bit of grease to each of the bolts before installing them.
- Add a protective coating. Seal the wood using a protective coating or Danish oil. This will help prevent decay. If you are using Danish oil, begin by applying a coat of it using a brush. Wipe away any extra oil to prevent problems with stickiness. You may need to apply multiple coats to build up an adequately thick layer of the oil. Just be sure to allow plenty of time between coats for them to thoroughly dry.
- Clean up the metal frame. To restore the cast iron frame, begin by cleaning it with a wire brush (checkout AZ Rust for best wire brushes). This will help get rid of any loose paint or rust that has built upon the surface. Apply a metal primer if necessary. Then, paint the cast iron portion of the bench using a paint that is specifically designed for outdoor use on metal. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best results with your painting project.
If the bench can’t be restored, then a replacement from outdoorartpros.com could be ideal.
Maintaining Outdoor Benches
Once you have finished restoring your bench, it is important to properly maintain it. You should wipe it down with soapy water a couple of times each year. To continue protecting the wood from the weather, you should also apply an a dditional coat of Danish oil. This can keep the wood from cracking and can also help keep moisture-related damage at bay.
If the bench has wooden legs, make sure that they have metal caps on the bottom to protect them from moisture on the ground.
During the winter months, consider storing your bench indoors in a garage or shed. If nothing else, at least cover it with plastic to prevent it from being exposed to the worst of the weather.
Finding The Best Place For Your Bench
When deciding where to place your bench, think about the type of experience you want to have when you are sitting on it. For instance, think about whether you want to be able to sit in the sun or whether you would prefer a shady spot.
Once you find the perfect location, you will need to prepare the ground before placing the bench. Avoid putting the bench directly on the grass. Instead, use pavers to create a dry, level surface for the legs of the bench. Along with protecting the legs of the bench, using pavers also makes mowing around it a lot easier. Just make sure that the pavers are completely level. If they are uneven, it could cause undue strain on the joints of the bench.