How to Seal an Outdoor Wood Table

Do you want to give your outdoor wood table a professional finish? Whether it’s an old family heirloom, an antique market score, or just something you made yourself, the best way to protect and prolong the life of your wooden furniture is with a proper seal.

How to Seal an Outdoor Wood Table

In this blog post, we will teach you all of the tips and tricks you need to know on how to seal an outdoor wood table so that it is durable enough for everyday use. You’ll learn about which products are necessary for sealing projects like this, as well as how to correctly apply them and maintain their effectiveness long-term. Ready? Let’s get started!

Why Seal an Outdoor Wood Table?

Wood is a natural material that is prone to wear and tear, especially when exposed to the elements. Without proper protection, your outdoor wood table can develop discoloration, cracks, and warping due to moisture, sunlight, and temperature changes. A sealant acts as a barrier between the wood and these external factors, preventing damage and increasing the lifespan of your table. It also enhances the natural beauty of the wood, making it look more vibrant and polished.

Supplies You Will Need to Seal an Outdoor Wood Table

1. Sandpaper (150-220 grit)

2. Soft-bristled brush

3. Clean cloth

4. Wood cleaner or mild soap and water

5. Mineral spirits or paint thinner (if needed)

6. Exterior wood sealant/stain (oil-based or water-based)

7. Paint tray and roller/brushes

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Seal an Outdoor Wood Table

Step 1: Prepare the Wood Surface

The first step is to prepare the surface of your outdoor wood table. This includes removing any dirt, dust, or debris using a soft-bristled brush and cleaning it with a mild wood cleaner or soap and water. For tougher stains or discoloration, you can use mineral spirits or paint thinner, but make sure to follow the instructions on the product carefully. Once the surface is clean, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Using a Soft-bristled Brush

Step 2: Sand the Wood

Sanding helps to smooth out any rough spots and opens up the pores of the wood, allowing for better absorption of the sealant. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (150-220 grit) to gently sand the entire surface of the table. Make sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain and wipe away any dust or debris with a clean cloth.

Step 3: Choose the Right Sealant

When it comes to choosing a sealant for your outdoor wood table, there are two main options – oil-based or water-based. Oil-based sealants penetrate deeper into the wood, providing longer-lasting protection and enhancing the natural color of the wood. On the other hand, water-based sealants offer better UV resistance and are easier to clean up with soap and water. Consider your specific needs and preferences before deciding which type of sealant to use.

Step 4: Apply the Sealant

Now it’s time to apply the sealant onto your outdoor wood table. Start by stirring the sealant thoroughly and pouring it into a paint tray. Use a roller or brush to apply an even coat of sealant onto the surface of the table, following the direction of the wood grain. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat for added protection.

Step 5: Let it Dry 

After applying the final coat of sealant, it’s important to let your outdoor wood table dry completely before using it. This can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of sealant used and weather conditions. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product for specific drying times.

Following these simple steps will help you properly seal your outdoor wood table and ensure its longevity. But remember, maintenance is key when it comes to upkeeping a sealed wood surface. Regularly clean and reapply the sealant every few years or as needed to keep your table looking beautiful and protected for years to come. Happy sealing!  

Additional Tips and Tricks to Seal an Outdoor Wood Table

Use Even Strokes in the Same Direction

1. When applying the sealant, make sure to use even strokes in the same direction for a smooth and even finish. This will prevent any streaks or uneven patches.

2. If your wood table has intricate designs or grooves, use a small brush to ensure that the sealant reaches all areas and prevents moisture from seeping in.

3. Before sealing, lightly sand the surface of the wood to remove any rough patches or imperfections. This will also help the sealant adhere better to the surface.

4. If your outdoor wood table has already been previously sealed, it is important to strip off the old sealant before applying a new one. This will ensure that the new sealant can penetrate into the wood and provide proper protection.

5. Consider using a waterproof sealant for extra protection against moisture and rain. This will also prevent the wood from warping or cracking due to changes in weather.

6. Allow the sealant to fully dry before placing any objects on the table. This can take anywhere from 24-48 hours, depending on the type of sealant used and the weather conditions.

7. Regularly clean and maintain your outdoor wood table to prolong its lifespan. This includes wiping down spills immediately, avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals, and reapplying sealant every 1-2 years.

8. Use a protective cover for your outdoor wood table when not in use to protect it from the elements. This will also reduce the amount of maintenance needed.

9. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, such as discoloration or cracks, address them immediately. This will prevent further damage and extend the life of your wood table.

10. Finally, be sure to choose a high-quality sealant that is specifically designed for outdoor use. This will ensure that your wood table is properly protected and can withstand harsh weather conditions. 

Following these tips and tricks will ensure that your outdoor wood table remains beautiful and protected for years to come. Enjoy spending time outdoors with family and friends, without having to worry about the condition of your wood table. Happy sealing! 

Precautions Need to Be Followed for Sealing an Outdoor Wood Table

Wood Surface is Completely Dry

1. First of all, make sure the wood surface is completely dry before sealing. This is because if there’s moisture present, it can get trapped under the sealant causing damage to the wood.

2. It’s essential to thoroughly clean the wood surface before sealing. Use a mild detergent or specially formulated wood cleaner and scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew.

3. Ensure to sand the wood surface before sealing, especially if it’s rough or has any visible imperfections. Sanding will help to smooth out the surface and ensure an even application of sealant.

4. When selecting a sealant, make sure to choose one that is specifically designed for outdoor use. These sealants are typically more durable, water-resistant, and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

5. Before applying the sealant, test it on a small inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t change the color or appearance of the wood. This is especially important if you’re using a tinted sealant.

6. Apply the sealant in thin and even coats using a brush or roller. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying and reapplication times.

7. Allow the sealant to dry completely before using the wood table. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days, depending on the type of sealant used and weather conditions.

8. It’s recommended to apply at least two coats of sealant for maximum protection. However, if you notice any areas that may have been missed or need extra coverage, feel free to apply additional coats.

Enjoy Your Outdoor Wood Table

Following these precautions will help ensure a successful and long-lasting seal for your outdoor wood table. Remember to periodically reapply the sealant as needed to maintain its protection against the elements. With proper sealing, you can enjoy your outdoor wood table for years to come without worrying about damage from moisture or weather.  So go ahead and plan that backyard dinner party – your sealed outdoor wood table has got you covered!  So go ahead and plan that backyard dinner party – your sealed outdoor wood table has got you covered!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Seal My Outdoor Wood Table?

It is recommended to seal your outdoor wood table every 1-3 years, depending on the type of wood and the climate it is exposed to. Harsher climates may require more frequent sealing. It is important to regularly check the condition of your table and reseal it as necessary.

Can I Use Any Type of Sealant?

No, it is important to choose a sealant specifically designed for outdoor use. Look for products that are waterproof and have UV protection. Additionally, consider using a product that also has mold and mildew resistance, especially if you live in a humid climate.

How Do I Prepare My Wood Table for Sealing?

 Cleaning the Table Thoroughly

Start by cleaning the table thoroughly using a mild soap and water. Rinse off any residue and allow the wood to dry completely before proceeding with sealing. If there are any rough or splintered areas, sand them down first. It’s also important to remove any previous sealant that may have worn down.

Can I Seal Over an Existing Sealant?

It is not recommended to seal over an existing sealant. This can lead to a build-up of layers that may crack and peel over time. It’s best to remove the old sealant completely before applying a new one. However, if the previous sealant is still intact and in good condition, you can lightly sand it down and then apply a new coat of sealant.

Can I Apply Sealant with a Brush or Roller?

Yes, both brushes and rollers can be used to apply sealant. A brush may be better for targeting specific areas or intricate designs on the table, while a roller can cover larger surface areas quickly. It’s important to follow the instructions on the sealant product for best application results.


In conclusion, knowing how to seal an outdoor wood table is essential for maintaining its beauty and durability. By following the recommended sealing frequency, choosing the right product, properly preparing the wood, and using the appropriate tools for application, you can ensure that your outdoor wood table will continue to withstand the elements and last for years to come. Don’t neglect this important step in caring for your outdoor furniture!  So remember, regular sealing equals long-lasting protection for your outdoor wood table.  Happy sealing! 

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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