Friends with all this rain Texas has been having lately- we thought we would post a little guide as a reminder on how to properly care for your outdoor furniture in weather extremes. We’ve not had a break in the rain- so some of your wood may be soaked- it would be good to let it dry out if possible before using the recommended water proof cover. (tarps that drain away from table work great too) Below is our compiled CARE AND MAINTENANCE GUIDE we generally send out after you purchase your table. (Hope this proves helpful to some who may not have received this timely information)
Care and Maintenance on your JTT Table
TOP THREE ISSUES with Weathering:
Sap drawn out from the SUN.
Surface Mold from Tree DEBRIS.
Water Damage from Extended Periods of RAIN.
Sap is a pesky, but all too common issue if your table is exposed in the hot Summer sun. Rest assured- it will eventually stop coming out over time (there is only so much left in the wood after its been cut and kiln dried) Depending on where you are seeing it- and how old it is- here is a few lines of attack: We usually tell everyone who has a table out in the open to watch for sap and if you catch it before it has time to crystallize- mineral spirits, denatured alcohol and even nail polish remover will take it off quite easily without interfering with stain or finish. If you are seeing a whitish line of it- that means it has hardened and begun to crystallize. You can still attempt to remove it with the above mentioned ingredients- but it may be that you have to use a little sand paper to rub it out and just re-stain/seal that small area.
Below are some good photo examples of the kind of sap issues you may see on your table if its in the direct sun. This is easy to remedy with mineral spirits and a very light sanding on the crystallized areas. In a situation like the one pictured below no re-sealing would be needed since just a dab of stain can be put back in and problem solved. Overhead trees and other debris that lands on the table top can also cause stickiness and lead to molding that looks like black dots or larger spots.
That brings us to the second issue of surface molding. Depending on where you have your table located, you may be seeing a bit of surface mold (can appear spotty or in lines, ranging from a black to dark green color) Much of this is settlement from surrounding trees, pollen and other little particles/pollutants that land on your outdoor furniture. Once these settle in- molding can occur- so it’s important to stay on top of keeping your table clean. (see article below)
A simple cleaning with oxyclean and light scrub brush can get all of it off if its not too aged on table. Keeping a tarp like cover on the table when not in use prevents further issues. Depending on how severe your molding may be- you may have to use an outdoor bleach made specifically for mold. If you see mold on other furniture nearby or on ground, home or deck- be sure to treat all the areas since the spores spread. Covering your table is one of the most effective methods we can recommend.
(Images below show some of the above mentioned problems)
Notice the sap traveled down the table and exited on side (this is typical since the varnish usually keeps most of it sealed inside, but like water- it finds a way to get through. If you catch it early- its relatively easy to get rid of it. Always good to have a small can of your stain color handy for little touch ups if needed.
More Great Tips on Maintenance for Outdoor Tables:
Picnic tables provide durable outdoor seating for small to large gatherings and can last for years when properly cared for. While typically built and treated to withstand the elements, the sealants used to protect the wood on picnic tables breaks down over time. For wood picnic tables, sealing once a year can make the table last indefinitely, and any type of table, whether plastic, metal or wood, can benefit from being covered between uses.
Yearly Sealing for Wood Picnic Tables
Move the picnic table to a covered area where you have access to a hose. A carport, garage or workshop is ideal. If this type of space is not available to you, plan to seal your table when the weather report is calling for little to no chance of rain for at least three days.
Mix oxygen bleach with water according to manufacturer’s directions. Wearing gloves, clean the entire surface of the table with the oxygen bleach using a scrub brush. This will kill any mildew growing on the table, as well as cleanse it of dirt so that the sealant can fully penetrate. Rinse the table thoroughly with water and allow it to dry overnight.
Apply an even coat of water-based wood sealant to the entire table with a paintbrush. A water-repellent wood preservative is typically best, as it can protect against sun damage, mildew and termites, depending on the brand you purchase. In most cases, it is best to avoid oil-based sealants, as they can trap moisture in the wood, which will eventually cause the table to rot.
Let the sealant dry according to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Repeat this process annually to keepyour table clean, protected and beautiful year-round.
Caring for Wood, Plastic and Metal Picnic Tables
Cover your table with a heavy-duty, tight-fitting table cover when not in use. With wood tables, this will help to prevent the sealant from breaking down prematurely due to inclement weather or sun exposure. It will also help to keep plastic and metal tables clean and their finishes chip-free.
Use a tablecloth on your picnic table. This will help prevent scratches, dents or dings caused by tableware, utensils or normal wear-and-tear.
Wash the table with a hose every few weeks. Allowing dirt to accumulate on your picnic table increases the chances that it will stain. Keeping it clean, especially during the spring and fall when pollen, falling leaves and branches can accumulate, will keep your table in tiptop shape. Keeping your table covered when NOT in use will protect it from water damage from RAIN!
Things You Will Need
- Oxygen bleach
- Scrub brush
- Water-based wood sealant
- Tarp or table cover