What Paint or Finish Do I use on an Outdoor Wooden Garden Bench?

Protecting and Preserving Your Outdoor Wood Garden Bench: A Guide to Painting and Refinishing


Imagine having a gorgeous outdoor wood garden bench that not only provides a comfortable seating area but also enhances the beauty of your outdoor space. To ensure its longevity and maintain its aesthetic appeal, it's essential to protect and preserve the bench with suitable finishes and stains. In this article, we'll answer common questions about painting, refinishing, sealing, and staining outdoor benches, guiding you through the process step by step.

Having painted, stained and refinished benches over the years, I've found that

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Outdoor Wood Garden Bench

When it comes to painting an outdoor wood garden bench, selecting the appropriate paint is crucial. Look for exterior-grade paint specifically designed for outdoor use. Acrylic or latex-based paints are popular choices as they provide good adhesion, flexibility, and weather resistance. Opt for paint with UV protection to prevent fading and discoloration over time.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Your Outdoor Bench

  1. Prepare the Surface: Start by cleaning the bench thoroughly to remove dirt, dust, and any existing finish. Sand the wood to create a smooth surface for better paint adhesion.
  2. Apply a Primer: Applying a primer is recommended, especially if your bench has never been painted before. The primer creates a solid foundation for the paint to adhere to and helps improve the overall durability of the finish.
  3. Paint Application: Use a high-quality paintbrush or roller to apply the paint evenly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding drying time between coats. Apply multiple thin coats rather than a thick one to achieve a smooth and long-lasting finish.  Same goes for spray painting.  Thin coats are better than one thick coat.

Refinishing, Sealing, and Staining Your Outdoor Bench


Over time, the wood on your outdoor bench may show signs of wear, such as weathering or fading. Refinishing involves stripping off the old finish and applying a new one. Use a paint stripper or sandpaper to remove the existing finish, and then follow the steps mentioned above for painting.


Sealing your outdoor bench helps protect it from moisture, UV rays, and other elements that can cause damage. Look for a clear, outdoor wood sealant or varnish that provides water resistance and UV protection. Apply the sealant following the manufacturer's instructions, and ensure all surfaces are thoroughly coated.


Staining is an excellent option if you want to enhance the natural beauty of the wood while providing protection. Choose an exterior-grade wood stain that offers UV resistance and is suitable for outdoor use. Apply the stain with a brush or rag, following the wood grain for an even finish. Consider applying multiple coats for a deeper and richer color.

Additional Tips for Protecting Your Wood Bench Outdoors

Regular Cleaning

Keep your outdoor bench clean by regularly removing debris and dirt. Use a mild detergent and water solution, along with a soft brush, to gently scrub the surface. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry before applying any finishes.

Cover or Store

If possible, protect your bench from harsh weather conditions by covering it with a waterproof cover or storing it indoors during the off-season. This helps prevent excessive exposure to rain, snow, and UV rays, prolonging its life.

Periodic Maintenance

Check your bench periodically for signs of wear or damage. Touch up any peeling paint, reapply sealant or stain as needed, and address any loose or damaged parts promptly to prevent further deterioration.


Taking care of your outdoor wood garden bench is essential to ensure its longevity and preserve its beauty. Whether you choose to paint, refinish, seal, or stain your bench, follow the steps outlined in this guide to achieve the best results. Remember to use high-quality products designed for outdoor use, clean the bench regularly,