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Protecting Solid Wood Restaurant Table Tops for Outside Use

Wooden tables are perfect for al-fresco dining as the temperatures start to climb through spring and into summer; however, due to the unpredictable nature of the British climate, it’s not ideal to leave wooden furniture outdoors without appropriate protection.

If you are thinking of fitting your café or bar with new wooden table tops for an outside seating area, or would like a new table top for dining in your garden this summer, our variety of replacement wood worktops are ideal, as long as they receive adequate weather-proof treatment.

Protecting a wood tabletop

Paint

A very strong protection against the elements is provided by a wear-resistant outdoor furniture paint. Paint will protect wooden table tops by reflecting UV radiation and resisting moisture that would lead to rot. A latex paint is recommended because it will last longer and is easier to apply.

The downside of paint is that it covers up the beautiful look of the natural wood, and does require maintenance when you notice fading, chipping or peeling.

Water Sealers

If you want to fully protect the wood from the outdoor elements without covering up the wood’s natural aesthetic, a lacquer-based water sealant will provide all the protection your wooden table top needs. As well as protecting the timber from external liquid, it also allows moisture within the wood to evaporate, which avoids splitting, rotting and warping.

Wooden outdoor table

Varnish

A widely used protection for wooden furniture is varnish. A variety of varnishes exist, so do ensure that the one you choose is fully waterproof, and won’t drastically adjust the look of the timber; ‘marine’ varnishes usually provide the best weatherproofing.

Like paint, maintenance is required every few years to maintain the strength of the protective layer and to re-finish any areas where the varnish layer has cracked or degraded.

Oil

Whilst oil can be used for outdoor use, the type of oil we sell for hardwood worktops is not suitable. Rustins do sell alternative oils that suit wooden furniture, but they will need to be re-applied at regular intervals to provide the best coverage.

Oil gives a low-lustre finish that least adjusts the appearance of the natural timber, and is also created from natural plant oils and other ingredients that are better for the environment than lacquers and varnishes.

We hope that this guide has answered any questions that you might have about protecting wooden furniture in anticipation of outside use, but should you have any further queries, do not hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to help.