Covered Outdoor Furniture
How to Winterize Outdoor Furniture
Made to endure outdoor conditions during all four seasons, most weather-proof patio furniture can spend a winter outside and still clean up well. Over the long term, though, it’s a good idea to provide more protection for your investment.
Preparing for Fall or Winter on the Patio
Just like you might check the furnace, trim a garden, or unpack some sweaters to get ready for cold weather, preparation for winter on the patio is key. Before the first frost of the year, following a few steps to guard 3-season patio furniture is an easy way to avoid damage over time.
Some types of furniture have specific needs, but these broad rules are a great start for any outdoor furnishings.
Step 1: Clean
Regularly cleaning all-weather patio furniture keeps everything in prime condition. This step is especially important if you plan to store items for the winter. Dirt or moisture that sits on furniture for several months may eat away at finishes or begin the process of rust and mildew.
Cleaning may be as simple as washing furniture off with a hose or could require a gentler approach. Follow manufacturer directions for all furniture maintenance.
Step 2: Care
Next, give each piece a winter coat of protectant. A wide range of wax and oil products can seal out dampness and keep any material looking brand new. Again, reading instructions is key to make sure winterizing patio furniture is successful.
Step 3: Cover
Whether you want to store furniture in the garage or leave it out on the patio, shielding winter furniture from the worst of the elements can significantly extend the life of your favorite items.
Patio winter covers for furniture are the smart choice. A trash bag or tarp will do in a pinch, but furniture covers for storage or outdoor use offer benefits like UV protection, mildew-resistant material, customized shape, and heavy-duty ties.
Maintenance Tips for Common Outdoor Materials
Beyond the general care advice, there are several steps you can take depending on the material of your furniture. All-season patio furniture is primarily metal, wood, wicker, plastic, or fabric. Read these pointers to preserve your outdoor decor.
Most aluminum all-season outdoor furniture has a durable powder-coated finish to prevent rust. A simple wash with water and mild soap may do the trick. You can also seal aluminum with a special wax.
Winterizing wrought iron patio furniture takes a little extra work. While sturdy and unlikely to blow away during storms, wrought iron is prone to rust. To get these pieces ready for cold weather, use a wire brush to remove any existing rust. Then, spray each item with outdoor paint made for wrought iron and fit it with a quality patio furniture cover.
Teak is one of the most durable wood varieties for spring, summer, fall, and winter furniture. This material can stay on the porch throughout the year, turning an attractive, silvery color with exposure to the elements. If you prefer teak’s original golden hue, specialty oil applied once a year can preserve this look. Other woods may require further treatment and covering.
Wicker can have a wide variety of responses to weather in the winter. Furniture crafted from synthetic wicker or resin is fine outdoors in any conditions, requiring little care besides occasional cleaning.
On the other hand, natural rattan and wicker are more delicate. Use only gentle soaps and be sure to dry furniture before putting it away. Wicker furniture covers will help to keep these pieces safe during storage.
Plastic is an easy material to maintain. All you need to make this all-season patio furniture squeaky clean is a hose and a towel. However, plastic requires greater care in the winter, as it can turn brittle in freezing temperatures. Store pieces in a shed or garage during colder months.
Durable outdoor furniture often includes removable or built-in fabric cushions to make hanging out outside as cozy as relaxing in your living room. Designed to deter mildew, all-weather fabrics can still stain unless homeowners clean them regularly. Sunbrella and many similar materials are machine washable.
In general, fabric items that are easy to remove, like outdoor pillows, rugs, or chair cushions, should probably go inside during the winter. Anything with foam padding, such as an upholstered couch, will also hold up best in a dry space. For any item that needs to stay where it is, invest in a good patio winter cover.