Wood outdoor furniture is subject to a lot of abuse from the elements. Sun, rain and snow can quickly damage wood, causing it to crack and splinter. Having the proper finish on your outdoor furniture is crucial for keeping it in good condition. The type of finish depends on the type of wood and your style preference. Wood furniture can be oiled to keep its natural beauty or stained to add deeper color and bring out the grain.
Move the furniture into the middle of the lawn or driveway. Set the garden hose nozzle on the highest pressure setting, and hose all dirt and debris from the furniture. Allow the furniture to dry completely.
Sand the flat runs of the furniture using a palm sander. You can choose to sand the furniture by hand, but if you have a lot of pieces, it will be much easier to use a palm sander. Electric hand sanders are available at most home improvement stores. Sand the furniture until all the original finish has been removed and you are left with bare wood.
Use loose pieces of sandpaper to sand the corners and other areas the palm sander couldn't reach.
Hose the furniture again to remove any sanding dust. Allow the furniture to dry completely. Place the furniture on a drop cloth.
Apply stain or oil to the furniture with a rag, and wipe away any excess with a clean, dry rag. Apply multiple coats of oil or stain. Choose an oil-based stain for outdoor furniture. An oil-based stain will protect the finish of the wood while adding color to the furniture. Choose oil if you like the original finish of the wood and simply wish to protect it from the elements. A stain creates a deeper finish or can even be used to add a wash of color.