Best Finish for Outdoor Wood Furniture [Reddit Choices]

When selecting outdoor wood furniture, you need to select durable and good-looking furniture. In addition, unlike indoor furniture, outdoor furniture requires proper protection. Therefore, there are certain aspects that you should consider.

Outdoor furniture is prone to various outdoor conditions, extreme cold and hot, rainwater, fading, termites, UV rays, and much more. However, you can solve many of these problems if you have the best finish for outdoor wood. There are different wood finishes, including epoxy sealer, oil, stains, and paint.

This article brings you some of the most recommended finishes for outdoor wood you should consider. Selecting any of these finishes makes your outdoor furniture durable and attractive. You will also find some essential things to remember when buying finish for outdoor wood. 

Top 5 Best Finish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

1. Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood

Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood

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The linseed oil is a good quality furniture finish recommended for use on all types of wood except the Exterior oak. Interesting enough because this is the best or the most highly recommended type of wood for especially outdoor as well as indoor furniture.

Boiled linseed oil is manufactured using hot air, enabling it to dry very fast and shorten work time. And as it dries, it forms a tough and durable finish that protects furniture from harmful daily use. In addition, it has properties that allow it to penetrate and seal the wood surface or even cracks.


  • It dries very quickly and gives a natural lustre look.
  • It forms a tough and hard-wearing seal that protects wood from cracks. 
  • The final look is slightly glossy and attractive. 
  • It can be used for both interior and exterior use.
  • Safe to use on household surfaces and kitchen utensils.


  • Linseed oil is easily flammable and can be the source of that flame
  • It cannot be used on exterior or outdoor furniture, yet it’s an outdoor finish.
  • It can be harmful if it comes in contact with skin considering it can only be applied using rags.

2. TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish

TotalBoat Lust Marine Varnish

The TotalBoat varnish is a high-quality wood finish. Very popular with boat users mainly for its waterproof quality and bright or attractive finish. It is also ideal for interior and exterior furniture.

This varnish has fast-drying properties, which allow for rapid coating, unlike for other varnishes. Where coating and recoating are done when dry, with its fast and smooth drying, no sanding is needed between the coating.

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  • The lust Marine varnish dries very fast, allowing for rapid recoating. 
  • It has a smooth finish and does not need sanding between coatings. 
  • It is available in Lust Gloss or the Lust matte, which gives a more subtle finish
  • Marine varnish can be thinned for more coverage with the same effect.
  • Ideal for both interior, exterior, and has a waterproof finish 


  • The fast-drying effect does not allow for the rectification of mistakes.
  • It cannot be used on painted surfaces effectively 
  • The Lust Marine varnish fades in the sun over a while, especially for boats and outdoor furniture.

3. Guardsman 461900 Weather Defense Outdoor Wood Furniture Protector

Guardsman 461900 Weather Defense Outdoor Wood Furniture Protector

The Guardsman weather defense protector comes from a range of guardsman wood care products with years of expertise. They are mainly used to protect furniture from mother nature, which is the worst cause of damage to furniture.

This outdoor furniture protector is a very popular brand used for protection, touch-ups, repair, and care of wood, fabric, and leather. It is recommended for both interior furniture but mostly exterior furniture because of its protective features. For example, it protects outdoor furniture from common stains, molds, moisture, fungi, or mildew.


  • Good for both furniture and fabric hence give overall protection to the furniture.
  • It works well with all types of furniture wood. 
  • Protects outdoor furniture from moisture and common stains.
  • Once it dries, it forms a thin film that prevents molds, mildew, and fungi 
  • It enhances the wood’s natural beauty and keeps the furniture looking good.


  • Maybe damaging when used on some fabrics. 
  • Because of the need for regular touch-ups, inconsistency may leave the furniture susceptible to mother nature attacks.
  • If sprayed after a long time, moisture will be locked in and eventually damage the furniture.

4. Howard swax16 sun shield outdoor furniture wax with UV protection

Howard SWAX16 SunShield Outdoor Furniture Wax

The Howard sun shield is a popular product used to condition and protect wood furniture from structural degradation and oxidizing. Wood exposed to the sun and moisture over a long period dry up, splinter, crack or oxidize.

It’s A combination of wood protectors such as beeswax, UV inhibitors, carnanbus wax, and orange oil. These are especially good for either freshly made furniture or finished furniture. The products’ penetrative oils soak, penetrate and replenish the dry wood surface to a fresh and attractive finish.


  • Prevents wood furniture from drying and fading due to moisture and sun exposure
  • It can be used to revamp old, dry, and worn-out wood furniture to a fresh and new appearance.
  • It is ideal for both indoors and outdoors furniture.
  • Conditions and protects wood from structural degradation and oxidizing.
  • The Howard protector has penetrating oils that soak deep into the wood and repel UV sun rays.


  • The Howard protector mainly concentrates on protection from UV rays and no other damaging environmental factors.
  • Works well with teak wood and other tropical wood but not all types of wood.
  • It cannot be used on painted furniture.

5. Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer

Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish for use Outdoors

Mod Podge is a water-based glue, sealer, and finish for all artwork. It can be used for indoor and outdoor household crafts as well. Though with minimal exposure to the elements: sun, moisture, varying temperatures, or rain.

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This water-based sealer can be used on all surfaces: wood paper, canvas, tin terracotta, and glass. It is used mostly as an adhesive rather than a wood finisher because of its adhesive properties. Mostly DIY art and craft works


  • The Mod Podge sealer dries quickly on multiple surfaces and has multipurpose uses.
  • Once the glue is dry, it gives a clear glossy finish to preserve the beauty of the craft and artwork.
  • In case of any spillage and excess use, it is easy to clean with soap and water while the glue is still wet.
  • Protects crafts that may be exposed to the elements
  • This product is non-toxic and is safe for everyday art use.


  • Due to its water-base property, it cannot work as an all-purpose sealer 
  • It works best for decorative use on glass that is stored away from the sun.
  • Does not give a high gloss finish on all surfaces alike, especially outdoor furniture.

How To Choose the Best Finish for Outdoor Wood Furniture

For your furniture to serve you for a long time, they need to be taken well care of. This will be achieved by applying finishes by painting or staining them. Painting, however, changes the natural appearance of the wood furniture as the paints are available in different colours. 

Latex paints are the best for use in this case as compared to oil-based paints. Latex paints can withstand the fading that the ultra-violet rays may cause. Staining offers a natural look to the wood furniture as it is transparent. The stain fills the pores of the wood, making the grain pattern look more real.

Put the following in mind when choosing the best finishes for your furniture,

  • Get a proper wood species. These species should withstand rot and damage by insects.
  • Apply oxalic acid after cleaning the furniture if you have not applied any finish to preserve its appearance.
  • Use rust-resistant fasteners on the wood. This will prevent the wood from spoiling.
  • The use of oil finishes is highly recommended as it is easy and fast to apply. They also give an attractive look.
  • Ensure you thoroughly clean the wood with clean water and soap. This makes it easy for application of the finishes, and it does not interfere with the appearance. Apply the finish on a dry surface.

Buying Guide

Environmental factor

This includes the wood’s exposure to sunlight and humidity. Look for the finish that is resistant to bad weather. The finishes should offer wood protection against harmful ultra-violet rays, heat, and rain. This improves the life of the furniture.

Skill level

The way the finishes are applied should be looked into with much care as it will determine the furniture’s lifespan. Use a brush, a piece of cloth, or a spray bottle to apply and ensure that all parts are covered and evenly applied. Apply more than one layer to give a better look.

Type of wood

Get the right furniture for the right wood. This will help you greatly in maintaining the intended look of your furniture. It will also blend so well and appear more natural.

Ease of use

Using a protective coating that is easy to apply saves you time and energy as well. 


Select the type of finish you need to suit your desired colour effect. Water-based wood polishes maintain the natural look for the wood.

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The wood finish you purchase should be long-lasting. It should withstand different weather changes and offer protection against physical damage.


Ensure the final appearance produced by the wood finish is natural and appealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you protect wooden furniture outside?

Wooden furniture can be protected from harsh weather conditions by applying varnish as a finish. Varnishes offer protection to the wood against ultra-violet rays from the sun. In addition, their non-resistance to water makes them work best for furniture used outdoors as it is prone to rains and water.
Sealing your furniture also protects it from rotting brought about by stains and moisture. It also prevents discoloration and swelling of the wood.
Painting protects your wooden from early damage, and it provides better protection. In addition, your painted furniture will last long despite the change in appearance.
Get the right location to place your wooden furniture to suit all weather conditions.

Can you put polyurethane on outdoor furniture?

Some polyurethanes are designed for indoor use and outdoor use, respectively. Those designed for indoor use should strictly not be used outdoors, while those designed for outdoor furniture can be used indoors and outdoors. 
Its waterproof ability makes the wood resistant to damage and thus serves for long. Polyurethane can either be sprayed or brushed onto the wooden surface. It lasts for a range of 10-20 years. Polyurethane is also recommended for outdoor use as it is less toxic and easy to work with. During application, let it be either three or four layers for a better finish.

What outdoor furniture lasts the longest?

Metal is the most durable outdoor furniture as compared to wooden furniture and plastic furniture. In this case, wrought iron is most known for its durability and the ability to withstand different temperatures. However, for this case, proper care and maintenance must be taken to make it last longer.

How many coats of vanish do I need for outdoor wood?

Wooden furniture should have at most three coats of varnish. The innermost coat should be thin to allow penetration and sanding of the other topcoats. This also allows easy drying of the varnish on the wood.

What is the best waterproofing for wood?

There are three ways to make wood waterproof, namely;
(a)Sealing. This is done by coating the wood with polyurethane varnish.
(b) The use of Tung oil to produce a smooth finish.
(c)The use of a stain sealant on your wood.

Final Thought

In conclusion, note that all the above products may be ranked differently based on the different individual preferences, the final finish requirement, and specific needs at a given time. However, considering the reasons for using the finishes, the protection of the outdoor furniture and an attractive finish.

In this regard, I recommend the Guardsman 461900 Weather Defense Outdoor Wood Furniture Protector as the best finish for outdoor wood furniture. This is because it acts as all-around protection from all-weather elements and gives a presentable, natural, and attractive finish to outdoor furniture and interior wood furniture.

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