Making Outdoor Tables Survive

The season for hours spent in the outdoors is fast approaching. Because of this, we thought we would broach the topic of outdoor tables and furniture. Like indoor furniture, there are a few key factors to assuring a longer life for outdoor items. Keep reading for some insight on what wood species, finish, and build process is best to fight the elements.Outdoor table with metal base

Outdoor Tables: The Finish

It’s no surprise that outdoor furniture lives in much harsher conditions. Depending on geographic location, consider the rain, sun, snow, hail, UV rays, etc. and the natural wear and tear those bring. Your outdoor furniture is like any other item that lives outdoors. If your car’s paint is chipped or scratched, that creates a weak spot where water can seep in, creating rust. For wood furniture, this would be equivalent to rot.Outdoor table with our Franklin pedestal To combat aging, there are outdoor finishes that are UV resistant, allowing a few extra years before a touch up or refinish is needed. Another way which requires yearly upkeep, but no major sanding, is a sealer or stain. In this case, think of your table as the same as a deck or fence. Every year or so they are re-stained, but without the heavy sanding process. Applying a “top coat” lasts longer and offers better protection, but does require more work when the table needs to be sanded and refinished.

Outdoor Tables: The Wood

There are wood species and ways to cut wood that impact its outdoor durability. The best cut for outdoor use is quarter sawn. This cut minimizes the warping, twisting, expanding, and contracting. When wood is plain sawn, (literally sliced vertically down) changes in humidity make the warping and twisting run horizontally, meaning the width of the table shifts. With quarter sawn cuts, fluctuations in humidity simply increase or decrease the thickness of the table top. This lessens the likelihood of the table top cracking. The best wood species that naturally resist rot are: white oak, some mahogany, cedar, ipe, and teak.Examples of plain, quarter, and rift sawn cuts for outdoor tables.

Outdoor Tables: The Build

The build process tops off an outdoor table’s durability. Using stainless steel or treated fasteners and outdoor glue contribute to the lifespan. A method we like to use for our outdoor tables is adding grooves to the table tops that go all the way through. This allows water to drip through instead of sitting on the table top. To extend the overall life of your outdoor furniture, cover or put it away during the winter months or when it’s not in use. If an outdoor table is on your radar to purchase in the next few months, we hope you keep these few things in mind when making your selection!

Feel free to contact us with any questions!

More From Our Blog