If you come across a glass patio table that has been dumped, you might find that it can be salvaged. If the top and frame seem to be in good condition, take the table home and see what you can do with it.
Check the Glass First
When glass tables are discarded, the problem is usually with the glass. The glass should be tempered. Look for a small identifying mark etched into one of the corner edges.
Check the glass for any cracks, scratches or chips. Scratches and chips can sometimes be repaired by a resin activated by ultraviolet light, as used for car windshields. Alternatively, visit a local motor spares shop or outlet to buy a windscreen repair kit. You can repair cracks yourself, but it may not be cost-effective.
Clean the Glass
Place the glass on a smooth flat surface with an old blanket underneath for padding. Clean the glass thoroughly to make sure there is no other damage. Take great care to only use cleaning materials designed for use on tempered glass. Do not use a scraper or any abrasive substance. Tempered glass is easier to scratch than ordinary glass.
Check the Frame
Inspect the table frame very carefully. If it is made of metal, look for cracks and oxidization. If made of wood look for cracks, splits, signs of water penetration and rot. If the frame is sound and attractive buying a new glass top might be worth while. Whether metal or wood, small defects in the frame can be repaired. In wooden frames the affected part can be replaced. In metal frames parts can be braised or welded together and replacement parts fabricated.
Prepare the Frame for Re-painting
Working in small sections, apply paint or varnish remover with a cloth or small paint brush. After twenty minutes, use a paint scraper to scrape the paint or varnish off. When all the paint or varnish is removed, wash the frame down with a cloth and a detergent and water mixture. Dry with a soft cloth and then allow to dry overnight.
Re-seal the Frame
Finish off cleaning the frame using fine sandpaper or emery cloth to clear final spots. Apply a sealant. One coat of sealant may be sufficient on a metal frame. Use at least two thin coats on a wooden frame. Pay particular attention to the vulnerable ends of wooden parts. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.
Apply New Paint or Varnish.
Rub down the wooden frame with a very fine glass paper. The new paint or varnish should be applied thinly to prevent runs and create a nice even finish. Apply at least two coats of paint or varnish allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
Once the frame is dry you will be able to position it and replace the top. Do not try to move the table while the glass is in place. This can strain and even twist the frame. Folding patio tables and outdoor tables can be salvaged in the same way.