For those of us located in the northern regions, old man winter is on his way whether we’d like to admit it or not. So what do you do to protect your outdoor furniture all winter long? We have the insider information on the best way to winterize your furniture.
First the furniture should be cleaned and completely dried before it is stored away. Be sure to take time to do any repairs or touch ups, which will save you time getting your patio ready for this coming spring. Maintenance should include tightening bolts and screws, paint touchups and possible staining.
Aluminum, resin, synthetic wicker, and poly lumber, all popular outdoor furniture frames, are safe to keep outside all winter long but should be kept dry and covered if possible. If you cover the furniture be sure to tie the tarp to the legs to keep the covering in place.
With some items there is no getting around it, they must be brought inside. With plastic furniture it is a possibility for the furniture to get so cold that I becomes brittle and breaks. Real rattan and synthetic wicker, can crack or splinter in the changing cold temperatures. So it is recommended to find a place inside for those items. If you do store them indoors make sure to store them with the frames right side up. This allows any moisture to escape and prevents the water from freezing and expanding causing the furniture to break.
Teak is the most durable of the woods used to make patio furniture. Exposure to the elements can still cause it to turn a silver color over time. If you want the teak to maintain its original color, apply specialty oil at least once a year. Teak oil can be found in your local hardware store or on amazon.
For several types of metal furniture you have to be aware of the possibility of rust. Steel furniture is particularly susceptible to rust. In order to give the furniture a longer life, bring it inside if possible or cover with a good quality tarp.
Wrought iron furniture is very sturdy but is still vulnerable to rust. Remove any rust that might have accumulated with a wire brush. Once the rust is removed coat the furniture with an exterior spray paint designed for wrought iron. Finally cover it with a quality tarp until spring returns.
A popular outdoor furniture option is aluminum because of its lightweight yet durable characteristics. If you would like to add some extra protection to your aluminum furniture, wash the furniture and then apply a coat of automotive wax. Touch up any scratches with car paint in the appropriate color.
Tables with tiles, like a stone or mosaic top, should be brought inside before winter hits because a deep freeze could dislodge the tiles and ruin the mosaic design.
Cushions can add some color and comfort to an outdoor area but during bad weather all cushions should be brought inside. If your cushions are dirty, wipe them with soapy warm water and a sponge. Once they are dry, wrap them in a sheet or garbage bag for storage. Anything containing foam needs to be in a dry space for winter to prevent molding. Acrylic fabrics can still harbor mold if the fabric remains dirty.
Umbrellas used to cover patio tables need to be completely dry and fastened, covered, and stored, if they need cleaning some dish washer soap should do the trick.
Both cushions and umbrellas are able to be vacuumed before storage as well.
Finally, if your furniture has reached the end of its life cycle consider recycling it. Many options are available depending on the condition of your furniture and what you are comfortable with. Freecycling is an option. Freecycling is a website where you can post items you wish to get rid of for free. You can search your zip code and post to only local listings. Another option is to donate your furniture to a local thrift store. Be sure to get a receipt, you can claim it on your taxes at the end of the year. Before taking it to the thrift store check with your friends first. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What you see as old could be made new to them. Depending on the materials, the furniture can also be recycled at your local recycling center. Check with your local city council and they may be able to inform you of a collection service in your area.
By following a few guidelines now, you can make your spring cleaning list that much shorter. Winter is on its way but with the proper care your outdoor furniture can be waiting for you, good as new, when spring returns.