Renovating Your Old Patio Table Top

Occasionally a patio table top will become so worn that it needs renewing. Renovating a table top can be relatively simple or quite difficult depending on the amount of damage.

Faded or Damaged Paintwork

Faded or damaged paintwork can usually be repaired by cleaning up the old layers and then painting over them. Remove the table top from the base.  Try to remove as much as possible of the old paint with a paint scraper. A commercial paint remover will make this job fairly simple. Use paint remover in a well ventilated area. Clean the top with soapy water, wipe off any excess then let the top dry thoroughly. Once the top is dry apply a sealer. When the sealer is dry apply the new paint. Only apply thin coats so the paint will dry more quickly. Apply at least two coats of paint.


Scratch filler can be used to repair scratches to a table top and can be purchased from hardware and furniture stores. Apply the scratch filler by rubbing it carefully across the full length of the scratches. The product will fill the scratch and when it is dry, can be smoothed with fine glass paper.

Cracks and Splits

Always check that the crack or split has not affected the integrity of the top. Sometimes a split or crack can be repaired by using several sash clamps. Set the table top into two or more sash clamps, using packing to protect the edge of the table top. Insert good quality wood glue along the lengths of the cracks or splits and then tighten the clamps. Any excess glue will be squeezed out and should be cleaned up immediately. Leave the top in the clamps for at least 24hours to ensure the glue dries thoroughly. For extra security you can drive 2 or 3 corrugated staples across the cracks or splits from the underside of the top. When you remove the sash clamps the cracks and splits should stay closed.

Glass Patio Tables

The tops of glass patio tables usually either get broken or scratched. Broken tops simply need to be replaced. Get the right size of safety glass with the edges rounded. Scratched glass tops can be repaired with a fine high grade grinding paste. The paste is used on the glass in a circular motion using a piece of soft leather. This is a very time consuming job and you should judge the cost of your time and effort against the cost of a new piece of glass.

Outdoor tables

Outdoor tables usually suffer from the weather and are simply faded or stained. Using coarse sand paper on a sanding block, skim off the top of the table until you are down to bare wood.  Prepare the new surface with fine glass paper until you have a silky smooth surface. Seal the surface and then apply a new paint or varnish. Always apply sealant, and paint or varnish in thin coats to avoid runs.

A properly repaired and renovated table top should give more years of use.