How To Maintain a Picnic Table For Years?

The best way to maintain your picnic table is to clean the surface after use. The rust formed on the metal parts can be easily cleaned by using a wire brush.

Picnic tables are not only great for having or hosting dinner outdoors, but they can also serve as a central point in your backyard for socializing. While many people think that keeping a picnic table clean is easy, it actually requires some regular maintenance to keep it looking new.

Maintaining your picnic table will ensure it stays clean and serves you longer. Some of the ways to maintain it include cleaning, covering in bad weather, painting, and sanding. Another sure way of ensuring your picnic table lasts is to buy a high-quality one.

In reality, if you want your picnic table to last and look good for years to come, it’s important to do some regular upkeep. By following these simple tips, you can keep your picnic table looking great all year long.

Pick a Good Quality Picnic Table

If you want your picnic table to last, it’s important to choose a good quality one. There are a lot of different materials that picnic tables can be made out of, but some are better than others. Wood is always a good choice, although it will require more upkeep than other materials. 

There are several types of wood that are commonly used for picnic tables, including cedar, redwood, mahogany, and teak. Of these, teak is the most durable and weather-resistant, but it is also the most expensive. Cedar and redwood are good choices as well, and they are more affordable than teak. All these types of wood are highly recommended because of their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Old wooden picnic table.
There are a lot of different materials that picnic tables can be made out of, but some are better than others.

Use a Water-Resistant Cover to Protect Your Table

To keep your picnic table in good condition, it is important to protect it from the elements. One way to do this is to use a water-resistant cover. This will help to keep your table dry and free of moisture, which can damage the wood. It is also a good idea to cover your table when it is not in use to keep it clean and free of dirt and debris.

Pooled water can also corrode the finish and cause the wood to buckle or crack over time. Be consistent about using the table. Tie the ends of the cover down or secure them so that they don’t blow away.

Cover with a Tablecloth or Other Piece of Fabric

Another way to protect your picnic table is to cover it with a tablecloth or other piece of fabric when not in use. This will help to keep the table clean and free of dirt and debris. This will also protect the table from spills, rogue knife cuts, and general wear and tear.

Be sure to choose a fabric that is durable and will withstand the elements. You may also want to choose a fabric that is stain resistant so that you can easily clean it if something is spilled on it. 

A group of people having fun.
Another way to protect your picnic table is to cover it with a tablecloth or other piece of fabric when not in use.

If you are using a tablecloth, be sure to secure it so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind. You can do this by tying the corners down or by placing weights on the corners. Also, clean the tablecloth after spills and messes to prevent stains from leaking through the cloth onto the wood.

Move the Picnic Table to a Covered Location on Wet Seasons

When the warm weather season is over, it’s important to move your picnic table to a covered location. This will protect it from the elements and keep it in good condition for next year. If you don’t have a covered location, you can purchase a tarp or cover to put over the table.

Clean the Table Before Storing It

Before you store your picnic table for the winter, be sure to give it a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt, grime, or food that could attract pests. You can clean the table with a mild soap and water solution.

A person cleaning the table.
Before you store your picnic table for the winter, be sure to give it a good cleaning.

Cover Gaps With Wood Fillers or Caulk

Once the table is clean and dry, inspect it for any cracks or gaps. These can be filled with wood fillers or caulk to prevent moisture from getting inside and causing damage. The fillers can help get rid of stains. There are two types of wood fillers, including water-based wood fillers and solvent-based wood fillers.

The water-based wood fillers offer ease of use, but they are not as dependable as solvent-based wood fillers. Solvent-based wood fillers are known for their durability, but they can be quite difficult to work with. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Sand the Picnic Table

Once the wood filler has dried, sand the picnic table with medium-grit sandpaper. This will help to smooth out any rough edges and give the table a nice, even finish. Use a palm sander for best results. Sanding a wood helps to even the surface of the wood, removing bulges, creating a fine finish, and boosting the coating applied on the wood surface.

Use Water Repellant Sealers

Now that the wood is all sanded and smooth, it’s time to protect it from the elements. These repellant sealers include:

  • Applying Linseed Oil

If you want a more natural way to protect your picnic table, consider applying linseed oil. This will help to waterproof the wood and keep it looking great for years to come.

To apply, simply soak a clean cloth in the oil and then rub it into the wood. Be sure to work it in well, especially into any crevices or cracks. Allow the oil to soak in for at least an hour before wiping off any excess.

  • Apply Waterproofing Spray

There are a number of waterproofing sprays available on the market. These can be applied easily and will help to protect your picnic table from the elements.

A group of people having fun.
A table cloth will also protect the table from spills, rogue knife cuts, and general wear and tear.

Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging carefully. In most cases, you will need to apply multiple coats in order to get the best results.

  • Seal with Polyurethane

Applying a layer of polyurethane is another great way to waterproof your picnic table. This will create a durable barrier that will keep water and other liquids from seeping in.

To do this, simply apply a thin layer of polyurethane over the entire surface of the table. Allow it to dry completely before using the table.

Stain Your Table

Apply the stain using a clean rag to avoid streaks. Work in one direction along the wood. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves to avoid getting the stain on your hands. Make sure you cover the tabletop completely and evenly. Allow the stain to dry completely before using the table. Check the table surface to ensure the stain is even before applying the polyurethane.

Paint Your Picnic Table

You can also paint your picnic table instead of staining it. This is a good option if you want to add a pop of color to your backyard décor. Choose a paint that is designed for use on outdoor furniture. All woods are painted using the same steps. Follow the procedure below to paint your table:

  • Deep Clean it First

Start by giving your picnic table a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt, grime, or debris that has built up on the surface. You can use a pressure washer to clean the table if it is particularly dirty. If not, a garden hose and soapy water will suffice.

  • Sand it Down

Once the table is clean, you will need to sand it down. This will help the paint to adhere properly and create a smooth finish. Use medium-grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface of the table. If there are any rough spots, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth them out.

  • Use Your Primer

After sanding, apply a coat of primer to the table. This will help the paint to stick and will also create a more uniform finish. Use a brush or roller to apply the primer evenly across the surface of the table. Let it dry completely before moving on to painting.

  • Choose Your Paint

Now it’s time to choose the paint for your table. You can use any type of paint you like, but it’s important to make sure that it is suitable for use on furniture. Some paints are specifically made for painting furniture, and these will usually give the best results.

  • Apply The Paint

Once you have chosen your paint, you can start painting the table. Apply superior around the table surface with even strokes. Use a smaller brush to paint the legs and sides of the table. Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

  • Let it Dry, and Apply the Final Layer of Paint

Once the first layer of paint is dry, you can apply a second layer if you want. This will help to give the table a more even and consistent finish. Once the second layer of paint is dry, you can add a final layer of varnish or wax to protect the table and give it a shiny finish.

FAQs on How to Maintain a Picnic Table

How long will a picnic table last outside?

A wooden picnic table rarely lasts ten years without needing replacement slats, which might be required yearly to eliminate bleed sap. Plastic picnic tables can last up to 15 years or more with no maintenance except slight cleaning. So, the lifespan of a picnic table depends on the material.

A wooden picnic table.
Usually the lifespan of a picnic table depends on the material.

How can I make my picnic table last longer?

You can maintain your picnic table by regularly cleaning it with soap and water, using a mild bleach solution to disinfect it, and sanding down rough spots. You should also seal or varnish your picnic table to protect it from the elements and extend its lifespan.

Final Thoughts

A picnic table offers an excellent spot for relaxation and spending time with family or friends outdoors. The lifespan of a picnic table depends on the material it’s made of and how well it’s taken care of. Maintaining your picnic table is important as this will prevent it from deteriorating quickly. By following the tips above, you can make your picnic table last for many years to come.

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