Waterproofing our outdoor table

Some of you will understand my reasoning for this project.   Others will think I’m lazy and took the easy way out.   I’m personally somewhere in between.  But in the spirit of sharing the good, the bad, and the questionably ugly, here I am.   Flashing my goods.  For all to see.

Ya see, last year, we purchased the Applaro outdoor table from Ikea.   And LOVED it.   Here’s how it looked last year when I posted our backyard tour


After we initially purchased the table, I treated it with this…

The man at the home improvement store (I forget which one, now) said that it was highly recommended for UV protection and waterproofing of wood furniture.   After the exceptionally hard winter we had this year (for Texas, anyways), I think our table fared pretty well being that we left it uncovered and exposed to the elements.   There are a few boards that are very slightly warped (but barely), although I think they were already like that when we purchased the table.   Aside from the mild warping, this happened…


The fact that the finish basically flaked off in spots tells me that either the type of wood used to construct the table did not accept the stain well, or Ikea originally treated the table with more of a glaze than a stain.   I did some research to figure it out and discovered that I was right about the glaze part. And that Ikea sells said glaze.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to have time to make the hour trek out to Ikea to pick it up any time soon (sad face).

So, I decided to wing it with what I had on hand.   I first hosed down the table and cleaned it thoroughly with a rag, then let it dry.   Next, I lightly sanded with a fine grit sanding block…

Sanding literally took five minutes.  I only strived to remove any remaining flakes in the finish.

Next, I experimented in some small areas with stain that I had on hand to see if I could camouflage the flaked areas…

But soon realized that the wood was not accepting the stain (like, at all) and the flaked areas still remained very light and noticeable.   At this point, I realized that touching up the finish was a lost cause.   That unless I wanted to completely strip the table top, restain and retreat the top, the uneven finish would remain.   And even then, there was no guarantee that the top would match the base given the wood’s resistance to stain.   I could paint the table, but knew that I wouldn’t have the time to properly do so in the next few weeks.  And the clock is ticking.  Temperatures are steadily rising here in Texas and once it gets above 90 degrees consistently, I’ll lose my window of opportunity for painting, staining, etc.   Believe me… I’ve tried to paint in the hot Texas heat before, only to end up with a gloppy, ugly mess every time.   So, I decided to simply treat the table with Teak oil as is.   Protect the integrity of the wood in an attempt to avoid splitting and further warping, so that when I finally am able to paint the table (or reglaze it with the Ikea stuff), I’ll have a nice surface to work with.   So, that’s what I did.  I mean, some people work hard to achieve a worn, shabby-chic look right?? 😉

To treat the table, I simply followed the instructions on the can.  I wiped on the first coat with a rag…

Waited 5-10 minutes, then wiped it off.   Then, applied a second coat, waited 15-20 minutes, and wiped it off.   Which left this…


It pretty much looks the same.  The tone of the wood is a bit richer and the flaky areas now look more intentional as the color variations all have the same sheen.   Once I style the table, I think it’ll actually look pretty neat.   We plan to get a new umbrella this year and our chairs still look brand spankin’ new, so I think that some pretty flowers in colorful pots, updated accessories like placemats, etc. will be a nice contrast with the worn table.  Like I said, the finish won’t remain like this forever.  I just didn’t want to risk exposing it to further damage within the time it took me to actually get to refinishing it.

So, that’s my story.  I made an ugly finish waterproof.  (Judo-CHOP!)  😉

Have you guys been in this boat before?   Any suggestions or advice??



13 thoughts on “Waterproofing our outdoor table

  1. We just purchased this style of table from IKEA this year, but we have a cover for it. I can’t believe yours worn down so quickly ! We plan on oiling ours at the end if the season. We live in Utah {snow!}

  2. I know it’s a bit late but the Varda Brown woodstain that IKEA sells for the upkeep of the Applaro does work rather well. Will cover all that bare wood, contains a fungicide for a further season’s exposure, and is more compatible with the original finish than the usual solvent based wood oil types. Not much consolation if you live 50 miles from the store, though…..

  3. the stain has an element to it that you have to sand a great deal to get out of the wood. The finish Ikea uses on all their wood furniture is this way. best bet is to do what david said – I would sand it and use the Ikea treatment that is compatible with the finish. If you want more protection, consider a varnish.

  4. The exact same thing happened to us after our 1st winter (PA). We have since bought a cover for it and that has stopped the madness, but we need to refinish. I have the Vardar stain they sell, but it takes to the stained part more, so I think I need to sand it all down. Aiming for next spring. Ugh

  5. I want to paint the storage bench white or stone gray from new, but would I have to sand it first?
    BTW, love your lawn, nice work!

    • Thanks so much! I would lightly sand to rough up the surface and then prime to prevent any of the wood’s oils from tainting your paint color. I’ve found shellac primers great for preventing bleed through. 🙂

  6. We have carried this furniture through three states with various climes. We have had our Ikea table a little over 10 years, and here is what I have learned. #1, the arms which hold up the extensions, also need to be protected, or they will warp. Though they do not warp much, much is not needed before their functions become restricted. #2, I use a marina stain, and it gets me through each season with only one coat. I now live in the Mountains of Pennsylvania.

    • Great tips! I’ve noticed that the extension arms have definitely warped some. Fortunately, we now have the table under a covered patio so it’s slowed, but you’re definitely right.

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