Do you love wrought iron settees and tables? Or maybe you hanker for a metal glider or rocker like you sat in as a kid at your grandparents home. Even concrete statues and planters from days gone by can add a touch of unique style and grace to your outdoor living space. Here's a quick rundown of what to look for when shopping for vintage outdoor pieces, and how to care for them to prolong their life.
Vintage outdoor furniture and planters bring back memories of lazy-hazy days of spring and summer. Whether your fondest outdoor memories are rooted on a front porch or back porch (or somewhere else), the creak of a glider or clamshell-style chair can instantly take you back there.
The best thing about vintage wicker, wrought iron benches, hardwood rockers and porch swings, and even those metal gliders and chairs? Unless they've been completely abused, they are likely to have withstood the test of time and nature, and with a little TLC, they can be restored to their former glory.
Wrought Iron & Metal Furniture might have layers of chipping, peeling paint, or rusted spots. If rust is the problem on wrought iron or steel pieces, you can sand it smooth and repaint. If you're looking at one or more layers of paint before you get to bare metal or wood, we recommend using some common-sense caution: lead-based paints are very common, especially on outdoor surfaces.
Work outdoors, wear a mask, use Krud Kutter spray or other lead paint abatement to knock the particles out of the air as you work. You may want to use a hot air gun, especially on metal surfaces to quickly soften and scrape off old paint .Follow directions to avoid setting anything on fire!
Hardwood rockers and porch swings are also likely to have several layers of old paint. Soy-based stripper can also be a good tool in your arsenal to get your wood piece ready to re-paint. Sand paper (by hand or with a sander) can smooth splinters on bare wood. If you have rotten or soft spots, use a wood hardener on small areas, or replace entire slats or pieces if necessary. You'll find oak at your local lumber store, and it's worth spending a little extra to match the wood of your cherished piece. You'll have less problems with warping and shrinking with kiln-dried oak versus cheaper "green" pine.
Wicker is probably the most fragile material you'll encounter, so gently loosen dirt and loose paint with a soft-to-medium stiffness nylon brush and some warm water with a little Dawn or other degreasing detergent. Rinse with a gentle stream of water - no pressure washing!
Once your piece is ready to paint, you'll need to choose how to refresh it. Wrought iron and other metal pieces can be powder-coated for the longest-lasting finish. Check your local businesses and get quotes. If that's not in your budget, the next-best option is high-quality spray paint. Follow the can' directions and apply thin coats plus sealer.
For wood and wicker pieces, you can use enamel spray paint, or you can use chalk or milk paint. They are also rated for outdoor use, and often have UV-resistant and water-resistant properties. Follow directions for applying, allow them to cure and for extra protection, seal them with a paint-on or sprayed-on sealer.
Then.....enjoy your furniture and make some new memories this summer. Iced tea always tastes sweetest when it's enjoyed on a shady porch with a fragrant vine blooming nearby.
All photos courtesy of Pinterest. This article was originally published in the Busy Bee Trader, a regional directory of antique and vintage stores throughout middle Tennessee and surrounding areas.
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!