How To Prepare Garden Furniture For Painting And Decorating

The most important part when painting and decorating your garden furniture (e.g., sheds, fences, decking, summerhouse, etc.) is the preparation. To achieve the outstanding finish that is desired the planning and preparation need to be carried out correctly. Indeed, professional painters and decorators estimate that 70% of the completed finish is based on the preparation. By preparing a wooden surface correctly before painting, you are likely to save yourself future time, money, and effort.

Before commencing any painting, ensure your work area is clear. This will stop paint from splattering on any other furniture and patio areas. It also gives you more freedom to move around and space to place tools, materials, and equipment. Place dust sheets around your work area to catch paint spillages.

Preparing the Wood

To prepare the wood for the new coat of paint, first, clean the surface. For old wooden surfaces, a trisodium phosphate (TSP) and bleach solution are ideal. The solution will clean and remove the previous gloss paint coats allowing for a good surface adhesion when the new paint is applied. For new wooden surfaces wipe down with soapy water and a sponge until the work area is free from dirt and grime. Failure to remove dirt marks will result in stains showing through the final finish.

Touch Ups

The next step is to fill any holes or cracks in the wood with wood filler. There are several wood fillers on the market. Make sure you choose a compound that is suitable for exterior woodwork. Clear any flaky bits of wood or debris from any dents and lightly dampen. The importance of this step should not be underestimated as it allows a firm bond to form and stops the filler from drying out too quickly. Be sure to check for any signs of dry or wet rot. Spread the compound with a knife or scraper, make sure the filler is pressed securely into any holes, dents, and cracks. Allow the filler to dry and set.

Before painting the wooden surface, sand all areas and edges to a smooth finish. The act of sanding allows the wood grain to “open “giving an improved bond between the paint and wood. After sanding, any dust should be cleaned up and the wood lightly cleaned with a damp cloth.  This will prevent any debris from ruining the bond and final finish.


Priming the wood before applying the top coat of paint is an essential step. Particularly if the wood is new and bare. Priming helps to create a uniform and smooth final finish to the topcoat. By priming the workspace, you can prevent any imperfections or stains from showing in the finish. It also gives the final coat of paint improved adhesive qualities by ensuring it is not directly absorbed into the wooden structure. For outdoor wood, a latex-based primer is highly recommended. Once you have completed the stages outlined above, you should be ready to apply the final coat of paint. 

To achieve a first-class finish, we always recommend calling in expert painters and decorators as this can you save you a lot of time, effort, and guesswork. In the long term, it may also help to save money for maintaining or replacing your garden furniture. 

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