By Zoe Eisenberg
Love that new teak bench you bought for your backyard, or that natural wood patio table and matching chairs? While wood furniture is gorgeous outside, you'll need to protect it to lengthen its lifespan, or you could face rot and unsightly discoloration in no time.
Below are several tips to help your wood weather.
Paint. A coat of paint is the top way to protect your outdoor wood, and although you will lose that natural look, it may be worth it considering how much longer that wood will last. Go for a latex paint over an oil-based paint, as latex will last longer so you won't need to touch up as frequently.
Seal. Don't want to mess with your wood look? Consider a water sealant instead, especially if your area gets rain. Water sealers work in two ways: they protect your furniture from moisture outside, but also allow damp wood within the sealant to dry faster, so it won't rot, split or warp.
Varnish. If you don't want to paint or seal, consider a varnish, which will hold your furniture's true natural look while still offering some protection from the exterior.
Manage exposure. Consider moving your wood furniture in the garage during the winter to keep it safe from harsh seasons where it won't be used, anyway. Or, consider a fitted cover to protect it from the weather when not in use.
Location, location, location. Your local weather will instruct you how to care for your furniture. If you live in a rainy area, a water sealant will be necessary. Live in the desert? Paint your wood for sun protection. The same goes for the area you place your furniture in. Is it tucked under an eave and lightly protected, or sitting out in the middle of the elements? Act accordingly.