How to Protect Outdoor Bar Stools

What You'll Need
enamel paint
paint thinner

Outdoor bar stools can be an excellent part of a plan to get extra use out of an outdoor patio area. Used properly, they can make an otherwise bland and empty area into a great place for socializing. However, there is more to using outdoor bar stools than simply installing them.

Though outdoor bar stools will remain functional for some time without being maintained properly, they will lose their attractive appearance and eventually take enough damage in the long term to be impossible to repair. Rather than having unattractive outdoor bar stools in the short term, and having to replace them in the long  term, it is better to take proper preventative steps to ensure that your outdoor bar stools stay as good as new. What follows should help you protect your outdoor bar stools.

Step 1 - Planning

Bar stools will vary based on the type of wood used in their construction. If you are planning to install outdoor bar stools in the future, selecting the right materials can save you a lot of trouble in the long term. Many types of furniture designed for outdoor use are made using chemically treated wood. Chemically treated wood is resistant to moisture and rot in particular. However, it still requires protection from the sun's light. Wood treated in this way may also be vulnerable to other problems under certain conditions, such as warping. Additionally, some types of wood are naturally resistant to moisture and rot.

If you have already purchased, built, or installed your outdoor bar stools, figure out if they are resistant to moisture.

Step 2 - Painting

Sealing your outdoor bar stools off and protecting them from the sun is an important step. However, it will vary depending on what condition they are in. No matter what your bar stools look like, however, enamel paint is the best type of paint to use to protect any outdoor wooden furniture from the sun.

If you have not yet assembled your outdoor bar stools, you should paint the individual parts separately before assembling them for more complete protection. If your outdoor bar stools are already assembled or installed, painting them in this state is acceptable. However, it is preferable to paint wooden furniture before assembling it, so you should plan to do this if it is possible.

If possible, go over your bar stools lightly with sandpaper before painting—this will increase the degree to which the paint is absorbed into the wood. Use multiple coats when painting wooden bar stools, and thin the first coat as this also causes the paint to work its way into the wood.

Step 3 - Maintaining

While painting your outdoor bar stools is a great way to protect them from the sunlight, it is a waste of effort if it is not followed by proper maintenance. Paint will resist damage from the sun, but it is still vulnerable to normal physical damage, such as scratching or chipping. Each scratch or chip will uncover a section of unprotected wood, defeating the purpose of the paint in the first place. Because of this, touching up damage to the paint regularly is very important.