If you think it’s fine to put a tarp over your patio furniture during heavy rain, or that it’s okay to leave everything in direct sunlight, this article is definitely for you. You can use different products to protect your furniture pieces, but the best way to extend the life of your outdoor tables, chairs, and lounges is by knowing if it can actually be left outside.
Let’s bust some common myths about patio furniture:
Myth: Putting a tarp over it will protect it
It’s a common misconception that simply covering or sheltering your patio furniture is enough to keep it safe from the elements. Water can still seep in – especially during a rainstorm – and rust, corrode, or otherwise damage the frame and components. Plus, some frames can contract and expand with changing temperatures and humidity, loosening joints and worse. Covering your furniture can protect it to a point, but it’s not a guaranteed safeguard. Covering wood furniture can actually trap moisture and cause rot.
Myth: If it’s called ‘patio furniture’, it’s fine to leave it outside
Just because you bought it from the ‘outdoor furniture’ section doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave it outside 24/7. Not all materials can handle all of the elements. Certain fabrics fade quickly in direct sunlight (we’re looking at you, cotton lounge covers), and some wood and metal won’t hold up to constant rain or snow. So pay close attention while shopping, and treat your furniture with care: even a scratch in metal coating can attract rust.
How to protect your outdoor furniture
If you’re looking for ‘all-season’ patio furniture, choose something with an aluminum frame and give it a coat of auto wax for extra protection. Keeping it all covered when it’s raining or snowing can help prevent it from oxidizing (ie. developing those unsightly brown spots). Look for covers, lounges, hammocks, and pillows made from synthetic materials like polyester, as they’re more fade-resistant. Don’t forget to bring any fabric items inside during the winter.
If it’s made of natural (rattan) wicker or cheap plastic, bring it inside if it isn’t being used often, and don’t leave it outside all winter. Those classic molded plastic chairs can also fade and warp when left in direct sunlight. Recycled hard plastic and resin are relatively strong, so just tie them down and cover them during the off-season. If it’s made of resin (synthetic) wicker – and you live in a place where it snows all winter – you can leave it out all summer, but you should bring it in during the colder months. If you live in Vancouver, you should be able to leave it outside year-round.
Wrought iron can do well in the winter – just cover it up and apply auto wax to protect it. Stainless steel can rust, but it’s generally pretty hardy and doesn’t require much maintenance. Many wood items shouldn’t be left to the mercy of winter. But teak, with proper treatment, can withstand bad weather and is worth the investment.
No matter what it’s made from, your best bet is to put away your furniture every winter and enjoy it in the summer. Start your process by clicking here. Hopefully, these tips help you extend the life of your patio set so you can barbecue that much longer!