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How to Refinish Porch Swings

Freshen the look of your porch swing by refinishing it with wood stain. Although porch swings are often sheltered from rain, they are still exposed to condensation and humidity. After you apply the stain, finish the swing with a wood sealer to prolong its life. Since the wood on porch swings is subject to frequent contact and relatively high levels of duress, an ordinary wood sealer may not provide adequate durability. Choose a thick, glossy exterior varnish for best results.

Things You'll Need:

  • Canvas Drop Cloths
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Shop Rags
  • 180-Grit Sandpaper
  • Power Sander
  • 3-Inch China Paintbrush
  • Tack Cloths
  • Exterior Varnish
  • Ratchet
  • Hammer
  • Gel Stain
  • Screwdriver


Detach the porch swing with a screwdriver, hammer or ratchet. Place the swing on a canvas drop cloth.

Sand the porch swing with a power sander and 180-grit sandpaper until the wood appears dull. Existing wood sealer will prevent stain absorption. Skipping this step may contribute to an uneven finish.

Wipe the swing with tack cloths to remove sawdust created during the sanding process.


Apply gel stain to the porch swing with a three-inch China brush. Wipe gel stain from the swing with shop rags. Let the swing dry for three hours.

Wash gel stain from the china brush's bristles with mineral spirits. Water will ruin this particular type of paintbrush.

Apply varnish to the porch swing with the clean China brush. Brush along with the swing's wood grain when possible. Study the swing to look for sagging. Use the brush to smooth these spots if necessary. Let the swing dry for three hours.


  • Sand along with the porch swing's wood grain, or serious damage may occur. Oil-based stain and varnish will ruin synthetic brushes. China brushes have natural bristles that allow them to work well with stain. Don't select a brush with polyester or nylon bristles, as these are only intended for water-based finishes.
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