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How to Protect an Outdoor Picnic Table

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Picnic tables are not only great for having or hosting dinner outdoors, they can serve as a central point in a backyard for socializing. Maintaining an outdoor picnic table is important as outdoor furniture is subjected to varying weather conditions that can ultimately cause harm if not handled properly. Making sure your picnic table will last throughout many backyard barbecues takes a little effort, but the payoff of burgers under the stars is well worth it.

Use a water-resistant cover made of heavy, high-quality material to protect the table whenever the table is not in use. Pooled water on a picnic table can eventually cause the finish to erode and can also cause the wood to buckle or crack over time. Be consistent about using the table cover. Tie the ends of the cover down or secure them so that they do not blow away.

Cover the table with a tablecloth or other piece of fabric, material or plastic covering over the top of the table when it is being used. Doing so helps protect the table from spills, rogue knife cuts and general wear and tear. Clean the tablecloth after spills and messes to prevent stains from leaking through the cloth on to the wood.

Move the picnic table to an indoor or covered location after the warm weather season is over. For example, in the Northeast, store your picnic table in a shed or garage starting at the end of October to keep it protected. Store that table until after the winter months are over and snow and frost are gone for the spring.

Seal the picnic table with a fresh coating of paint or sealant at the start of the new picnic table use season. Do this only if the table has begun to show signs of wear and the wood has begun to look dry or small chinks and streaks are noticeable. Apply the sealant to the entire table, top and bottom, along with all benches. Allow to thoroughly dry before using.


Purchase a good quality picnic table in the first place. Make sure that the wood used to make the picnic table is of a good, long-lasting quality. Choose wood grains such as cedar and make sure to use treated lumber that will be able to better withstand outdoor conditions. Faux lumber that is made of pressed plastic is also an option that can tolerate temperature and weather variances well.


Do not pile large quantities of items on your picnic table for storage as too much weight can cause damage to the table.

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