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Refurbishing my Outdoor Table

Updated: Feb 11, 2019

I'll walk you through the products and steps I used to get rid of water stains on my outdoor dining table. If I can do it, you can too!


I LOVE the way our pergola protects us from the San Diego sun, but we recently discovered that with the temps dropping at night now that fall is rolling in, it was dripping condensation onto the table every night. Enter water stains.

Since we are able to spend most of the year outside here, I wanted to make sure that I was able to keep our outdoor space protected and able to be easily maintained to last through the cooler months too. Not to mention this table is only a few months old! It was a total steal from IKEA (pretty much my favorite place ever) but just because it was inexpensive doesn't mean it isn't worth spending time to make sure it lasts.

So sandpaper in hand, I went to work!


Actually, truth be told, I haven't done a whole lot of wood refinishing. I've done my fair share of painting wood, but that's a whole different (read: harder to screw up) ballgame. I wasn't even sure what products I actually needed when I headed off to the hardware store this morning. I ended up snagging both a wood finish and a waterproof spray coat and was super glad, since I ended up using both!



The first step was to sand down the top

to remove the water stains. They were a little deeper than I realized, so once I had sanded down as much as I was comfortable, I was glad I had picked up the stain. I could have left the top a bit lighter for a cool look but I decided that a layer of stain would help cover up any remaining water marks better too.


TIP! wipe down the dust from sanding with a dry cloth instead of washing it off! The surface should be dry for 24 hrs before applying the stain so you don't want to have to wait to get started!


The stain I picked was a natural, translucent finish (which ended up matching the existing stain really well!) It's water based, so easier clean up too! A dark gray or black stain would probably have looked really cool as well but it would have meant a lot more work redoing the whole table.... and ain't no one got time for that! Not to mention we live close to a rock quarry and a huge nature preserve, so there's almost always a layer of dust covering our outdoor furniture. The darker the stain, the more that would show.


Halfway there! The right side has stain, the left doesn't.

You can see what a difference the stain makes in the picture above. It blended some of the imperfections back in, and just warmed the color back up a little bit. This particular stain was super easy to work with as well. It wasn't streaky or splotchy at all. I'll link the brush if I can find it too. The 1 1/2" brush worked perfectly on the slats, and was meant for water based stains so it washed up really easily as well.


The dry time for this particular stain was 1-3 hrs (oil based would take longer!) I probably should have waited a full day before applying the waterproof finishing spray.... but... I'm a wee bit impatient. Following the directions on the spray, I gave the top and cross bars a quick coat of the waterproof finish. Fingers crossed that this keeps the newly refinished top looking fresher for longer this time around, since the drips are inevitable.

The waterproof finish takes much longer to dry but this was what it looked like after it was applied and I was pretty pleased with the overall results! Here's to many more dinners and drinks on this patio for the rest of the year!




Products used (or similar) -This is a similar, well performing water based stain- General Finish Water Based Wood Stain

-Thompson WaterSeal Waterproof wood protector aerosol

-1.5" Water-based trim brush






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