Today I’m sharing a quick summer project I recently completed. We have had this poor neglected bench for far too long left in its terribly sad state. I am going to show you how to restore an old iron bench into a beautiful garden bench! This DIY tutorial is easy to do and will give your old bench new life and many more years of use.
As you can see this bench was never maintained over the years and sat out in the sun rain and snow year-round. The wood had taken on a dark grey hue lacking all of its original beauty. However, the wood is still in immaculate condition.
The cast iron was beginning to rust in a few places from all the moisture over the years but we will fix that right up!
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Pressure wash the old iron bench
Before doing anything else I took the pressure washer and gave it a good spray down. A lot of the dirt in the wood came off and all the nasty spider webs. Just the washing alone revealed some of the woods natural beauty again.
A good home pressure washer can help bring new life to lots of things!
While pressure washing, be careful with how high of pressure you use on old wood as it can tear and splinter quite easy. Mine does not have an adjustment so I sprayed from afar so that I did not damage the wood.
Disassemble your old iron bench
Before we can go any further, it is imperative to take the bench apart. Learning how to restore an old iron bench means learning how to take it apart so you can rebuild it later.
Grab a bowl to hold all of the washers nuts and bolts and whatever hardware you may need to remove.
Most came apart rather quickly. A few of the bolts had rusted and consequently, they were difficult to remove. However, holding the nut with a wrench while unscrewing made short work of that.
Wire brush the cast iron
I took an automotive wire brush and cleaned up the legs a bit focusing on the rust areas. The old cast iron was still in pretty good shape.
For the first time, I realized that the insert on the backrest of the bench was, in fact, plastic and not cast iron as the legs and handrail sides are.
Sand the wood pieces
Using a palm sander I gave the wood a good sanding. The color changed quite a bit during this part of the restoration process.
I contemplated staining it in my mind but decided to go the route I already had planned. I can always change it up next time this old iron bench needs a restore!
How to restore an old iron bench with spray paint
Now it is time to give that old bench some fresh paint – or stain if you prefer!
My favorite method for painting is to use spray paint. I was very nervous to try it a few years ago and now it is my go-to. I absolutely love to use Rustoleum painters touch (<< click the link to find it on Amazon). It is a paint and primer all in one and the coverage is absolutely phenomenal. There are many color choices available too!
There is no doubt that I absolutely love all teals and turquoise in case you have not noticed haha. I chose Satin Blossom White for the iron leg-armrests and Satin Lagoon for the wood slats.
Next, I started with a few light coats on each. Light coats prevent running and are essential for a perfect finish.
The wood soaked up the paint like a thirsty wanderer lost in the desert! It took almost an entire can on these few wood slats to my surprise.
Also, I spray painted all the screws, bolts and other hardware flat white. I wanted them to pop against the dark teal.
Let everything dry completely before moving on.
Finishing up the restoration of the old iron bench
Once everything is dry, it’s time to reassemble the old iron bench that is now beginning to look like a new garden beauty! Simply work in reverse from how you disassembled in the first place.
Once it is complete, enjoy your beautiful garden bench!
I hope you loved this quick and easy DIY tutorial to restore an old iron bench and that it inspires you to do one too! Giving old projects a new life is a great way to add to your decor and save something that has potential. The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!
If you love this quick and easy bench restore you are sure to love our DIY Farmhouse Backyard Bench! Check out how you can make your very own with a few pieces of Barnwood and 20 minutes of your time!
Another great backyard tutorial is our Raised Garden Bed made from pallets! This is a frugal way to make gardening easier and keep the pests out of our fruits and veggies!
For more backyard inspiration check out these beautiful landscaping ideas and get the most out of your home!
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.