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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The most cost-effective way to improve your surroundings is to clean and repair what you already own.

This is true of the things you find to be necessities as well as the little luxuries that enrich your day-to-day living. 

the umbrella stand spent too many winters outdoors in the elements

I kept that thought in mind while I gave our patio umbrella the once over. We've had this umbrella for 15 years. The canvas covering had become dingy and stained, and the stitching had given way at stress points. The black paint finish on the stand had eroded from winter rainfalls and now revealed the concrete under that paint. The umbrella no longer looked attractive in my eyes.

I could just replace our old and worn patio umbrella. Instead, though, I chose to spend 2 afternoons bringing this one back to life. 

I sponged the cleaner on with a rag then hosed it off after 5 minutes.

Yesterday, I cleaned the canvas, laying it out flat on the brick patio and using an outdoor cleaner that is safe for many types of surfaces (30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner). After rinsing the cleaner from the fabric, I stretched it out to dry overnight.

I used some of the Rust-Oleum spray paint
that I'm also using on the thrift store chairs.

With the canvas clean and dry, I set out to put this umbrella into order. I gave the concrete stand 3 coats of black spray paint. The concrete drank that paint right up.

In between coats of paint, I resewed the torn seams and hems of the canvas then fitted it back onto the umbrella frame.

Under the umbrella are 2 of the 4 free-pile chairs
that we picked up 2 years ago.

Once all coats of paint on the stand were dry, I plugged the umbrella back into its stand, canvas cleaned with seams repaired and the stand repainted.

I spent two partial afternoons cleaning and restoring this umbrella, perhaps about 4 hours total, with a cost of about $2 in supplies. Our umbrella may not be new, but it does have a new lease on life, with hopefully many more years of service for us.


  1. You are right. Many times, just cleaning something renews it nicely - especially things that have been outdoors. I was wondering. Was the umbrella canvas hard to sew? It looks like that could be very awkward.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      For sewing the canvas, the top-stitching along the edges was fairly easy on my machine, even though the fabric is heavy and large. The spots where the top ventilation cap is tacked to the main canvas I hand-sewed/tacked back together. And that wasn't hard to do.

      One of the really beneficial things from repairing this canvas, I found, was that making a new canvas top would be do-able for someone with sewing skills. In theory, I could use the current canvas as a pattern for making a new one, perhaps using a painter's drop cloth (fabric kind), then spraying with water-resistant stuff.

  2. What a nice refresh! I suspect that most of us readers have done similar things. I spray painted my patio chairs a few years ago (they could use it again ...). I'm not sure that I saved money versus buying new, as lots of spray paint was needed and that adds up, but I did have the satisfaction of not adding waste to the environment.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Good job on spray painting your patio chairs. I really do think a lot of folks just buy more new stuff rather than try to make what they have look better. The satisfaction you feel over not adding waste to the environment is value that can't be quantified.

      I thought you might like this -- from The American Heritage Dictionary: "Frugal -- Economical in the use or appropriation of resources; not wasteful or lavish." I think many of us here dislike wastefulness. Well done on refurb-ing your patio chairs instead of adding them to a landfill.

  3. Wow, what an impressive repair and redo! Great jobn

    1. Hi Cat,
      Thank you! It's amazing what some spray paint and a little elbow grease can do.


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