How to Weatherproof a Picnic Table (3 Easy Methods)

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In times of harsh weather conditions, waterproofing your picnic table is an ideal step to take.

It protects your table from all forms of natural attacks and boosts its lifespan.

Waterproofing a picnic table is quite simple so you don’t even need to hire a professional for this.

Many wood makers view polyurethane as one of the best finishes for any picnic table because it offers greater protection to the wood and does not emit harmful vapors.

Nevertheless, to provide you with more insight on the techniques for weatherproofing a picnic table, we have done our research and help you with:

  • steps for waterproofing a wooden picnic table
  • the best sealant for a picnic table
  • the best way to color a picnic table
  • how to use polyurethane technique on a picnic table
  • the best finish for a picnic table

Read on and enjoy!

How Do You Waterproof a Wooden Picnic Table?

Waterproofing a table is an effective way to protect a table. It is not difficult and requires little technique and skill.

Thus, you can successfully waterproof your picnic by taking the following steps:

1. Pick the correct wood

There are several kinds of wood and just a few of them would work perfectly for picnics:

  • Cedar
  • White oak
  • Redwood
  • Mahogany

These are common types of wood that are highly recommended for picnics due to their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

2. Cover gaps with wood fillers

Wood fillers are great materials for refurbishing the appearance of slightly damaged wood.

Any stain noticed on the wood can be removed through filling and there are two types of wood fillers; water-based wood fillers and solvent-based wood fillers.

The water-based fillers offer ease of use but are not as dependable as solvent-based wood fillers.

On the other hand, solvent-based wood fillers are known for their dependability but are not easy to use.

Nevertheless, solvent-based wood fillers are the best sealant for any picnic table.

3. Sand the picnic table

After using a wood filler to cover the holes on a picnic table, sand the picnic table with quality sandpaper.

Sanding a wood helps to even the surface of the wood by removing bulges, creating a fine finish, and boosting the coating applied on the wood surface.

4. Use water-repellant sealers

Method 1: Apply linseed oil

Apply linseed oil onto the wood and let it soak overnight and let it dry. Sand it again and reapply at least two times.

Method 2: Apply waterproofing spray

Applying a waterproofing spray after sanding the table makes the wood exquisite. 

Thus, after purchasing the spray from a reliable store like Amazon, spray it all over the picnic table and leave it out to dry before using it.

Our favorite waterproofing spray: Gorilla Waterproof Spray 

Method 3: Apply polyurethane (recommended)

Can You Use Polyurethane on a Picnic Table?

You can use polyurethane on a picnic table also after painting or staining it. Polyurethane is a polymer that is highly recommended for woods that are used for outdoor purposes like the picnic table.

Polyurethane offers a great level of protection to woods, is highly versatile and safe, and enhances the beauty of the picnic table.

How many coats of polyurethane do you need on a picnic table?

At least 3 coasts are recommended for finishing a wooden picnic table with polyurethane.

It also offers a great level of resilience and serves energy.

You can apply it in the following simple steps below:

  1. Sand the surface of the picnic table accurately and remove all dust.
  2. Mix the contents of the polyurethane container carefully by stirring continuously.
  3. Apply the first layer of polyurethane on the picnic table in a uniform manner using a bristle brush.
  4. Dry out the table and gently sand the surface to level uneven surfaces.
  5. Apply the polyurethane paint again and sand the surface again to remove uneven surfaces.
  6. Apply the final coat of polyurethane to achieve the best outcome and leave it out to dry.

What is the Best Sealant for a Picnic Table?

The best sealent for a picnic is definitely the Thompson’s WaterSeal Natural Wood Protector (See on Amazon). A great sealant perfectly provides a layer of safety that safeguards the wood from termites or excess sunlight.

Sealants are applied after the picnic table has been carefully washed and dried.

Moreover, most wood makers view water-based sealant as the ideal sealant for any picnic table.

To make a picnic table that will last for a very long time, we recommend the following:

Is it Better to Paint or Stain a Picnic Table?

Painting and staining are great ways to change the look of a picnic table.

Also, they are both ways to enhance the beauty of a table by adding color to it. The two processes have their pros and cons but before picking one over the other, let’s consider how to paint and how to stain a picnic table.

Our favorite wood paint: Country Chic Chalk Style Paint (link to Amazon)

How to paint a picnic table

All woods are painted using the same steps.

However, any novice can paint a picnic table excellently by following the steps below:

1. Deep clean it

Clean the picnic table to remove dirt and dregs that will hinder the paint from sticking to the surface.

2. Sand it

Use a sander to gently create a surface that your paint can adhere to.

3. Use a primer

Use a roller or paintbrush to smear the picnic table with primer and leave it out to dry. This toughens the surface of the wood.

4. Sand it again

Use quality sandpaper to smoothen the surface of the wood by removing lumps on the surface.

5. Apply one layer of paint

Apply superior paint around the body of the picnic table in a uniform manner.

6. Let it dry, sand again, and apply the final layer of paint

Sand the picnic table again after the first layer of paint has dried up and applied another layer of paint till it achieves even coverage.

How to stain a picnic table

Staining a picnic table is another great way to enhance the beauty of a picnic table and safeguard it from damages.

Oil-based, water-based, and gel stains are the kinds of stains we have and only one of them can be applied during the finishing process. 

You can stain a table in the following steps:

1. Gather the tools and materials needed for staining

Some of the common tools for staining include:

  • oscillatory sander
  • shop vacuum
  • tack cloth
  • foam sanding brushes
  • gloves
  • eye and breathing protection.
  • sandpaper
  • staiin
  • clear coating

2. Pick a well ventilated work area

Organize a great space that is well-ventilated to complete the staining job. The wind is your enemy as it can bring dust and debris on your work.

Place some clear plastic sheets underneath the table before beginning the staining process.

3. Remove any decorative bits

Take out every part of the picnic table like the handles, knobs, and ornamental bits that do not require sanding.

4. Sand the wooden picnic table

Use quality sandpaper or foam sanding sponges to sand down the picnic table. You can also use a power sander for flat surfaces.

5. Remove dust and clean it well

Vacuum the dust with a shop vacuum brush attachment. Clean the table with a cloth to eradicate filth and dirt.

6. Elevate the piece for better access

Place the table on a stand or on scrap pieces to easily gain access to areas you want to stain.

7. Mix stain and start staining

 Immerse a section of the staining brush or pad in the bucket and smear the stain across the table.

8. Wipe Excess Stain

Rub the excess stain off the surface of the table using your hands wrapped in latex gloves to deliver the finest outcome.

9. Let Stain Dry

 Leave out the picnic table to dry in a warm place.

10. Apply at least one protective coating (waterproof)

Apply a protective coating after drying out the picnic table to safeguard the table and enhance its beauty.

Our favorite wood stain: Ready Seal Stain (See on Amazon)

Painting or staining a picnic table are two common ways to color or beautify a picnic table.

Nevertheless, it is better to stain a picnic table because wood engrossed stains more than paints allowing the surface to glitter for a long while.

Also, stains blend well with all types of wood and can withstand harsh living conditions better than paints. Moreover, stains are cheaper than paints.

Best Finish for Picnic Tables

Finishing a picnic table properly makes it more appealing and enhances its durability. In the past, people could only finish a table by using a water-based or oil-based finish.

Presently, several wood finishes have been developed that suit any wood. To finish a picnic table perfectly, you may want to use this WOCA Denmark diamond oil active wood finish as it is our best overall product for finishing a picnic table.

Final Thoughts

Weatherproofing a picnic table is a great way to safeguard the table from damages and increase its lifespan. It is simple, cheap, and does not require any professional expertise.

Moreover, taking the right waterproofing steps is key to achieving an excellent weatherproofing plan for a picnic table and we have shown you several tips to help you achieve this.


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