Our patio furniture, not so much. I'm sorry to report that the set we bought from Improvements last fall is looking rough a mere 8 months later. You get what you pay for?
In any case, at least it's solid wood, so it can be refinished without too much trouble.
I'd never refinished anything with stain before, so I started at Sherwin Williams - with my footstool in hand (yes, I'm sure they talk about me after I leave). As always, their employees were excellent, and they set me up with everything I needed! Did you know there are special brushes that carry and transfer stain better than the usual kind?
I decided to use an opaque stain. I could get the dark color I wanted, and it would provide the best protection. I got the darkest color available, called shagbark (weird name).
I started by sanding everything down so it was nice and smooth - this would allow the stain to adhere better, plus get all the surface junk off. I've had my palm sander for so long that I don't even remember why I first bought it, but it was a lifesaver for this project. Even with power tools, the sanding took about two hours.
I got a little silly, and used the leaf blower to get all the dust off after I was done sanding. So now in addition to the guys at Sherwin Williams, my neighbors also think I'm crazy! But hey, it worked!
I applied one thick coat of stain to all the surfaces of the furniture. It went on really easily with my fancy new stain brush. Apparently it went onto more than just the furniture, because when Tommy got home he didn't want a hug from me. With my hair full of sawdust and my face and clothes covered in stain, I don't see why not!
I managed to get the last bit stained just as the sun set. I let everything dry for the next day and a half.
It all looked so much better! I pulled the cushions out of the basement, and we were ready for spring! I rewarded myself by reading DIY magazine with Lucky dog for the rest of the afternoon.
It took about five hours and $20, but the furniture looks great, and will have a much longer (and prettier) life. Sure beats buying new stuff again.