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October 21, 2020 7 min read

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Winter is coming, and famous quotes aside, the weather is getting colder, and your outdoor furniture might not be the first thing on your mind as you begin the winterization process for your living space.

However, your patio dining set needs attention during the winter just as much as your car does. Failure to adequately protect your furniture from the elements will result in shorter-lasting outdoor furniture. But how does one prepare their outdoor furniture for the winter?

Do you buy your deck chairs a warm winter parka and a pair of fuzzy boots? Are your patio dining sets partial to hot cocoa and a lovely quilt from grandma? Perhaps your chilly fire pit can snuggle up next to a warm fireplace for the night?

While those ideas have merit, they aren't the best options for winterizing your outdoor furniture. Thankfully, this article will help you prepare your outdoor furniture for those frigid temperatures and snowy nights this winter.

At Furniture Fair, we've been selling outdoor furniture since 1963, and we've learned a thing or two about how to care for outdoor furniture. Read on to learn the best methods for making your back porch furniture last as long as possible.

Remember that your furniture may need different cleaning methods, and always check with your brand manufacturer for the recommended winterizing methods.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Why Protect Outdoor Furniture?

Why should you protect your outdoor furniture in winter? After all, isn't the point of outdoor furniture that it can withstand the elements? The short answer is yes, for about two or three years; however, if you want your furniture to last longer, you should protect your furniture during the harsh winter months.

If you live near colder areas, you probably won't want to sit on your outdoor furniture while covered in snow and ice. If you do, then hey, we aren't judging, live your best life. But if you aren't interested in method-acting as a snowman, then your outdoor furniture probably won't get any use during the winter months.

Protecting your furniture during the winter months will add years of use and require replacements a lot less. Your outdoor furniture will last three times longer if you protect it during the winter months.

Your best option for keeping outdoor furniture looking the best for longer is to protect it during the rainy, snowy, frigid winter months. Here's what you should know about some types of outdoor furniture and how to prevent damage from the snow and ice.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Types Of Outdoor Furniture

To figure out the best way to protect your outdoor table, chairs, or firepit, you first need to determine the material used to make your outdoor furniture. Here are the most common outdoor furniture materials and how winter elements can compromise them.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Wood

Outdoor furniture made from wood often gets treated to keep moisture out as well as possible. Moisture exposure can lead to wood rot in your outdoor chairs or table, which will result in structural failure if left unresolved.

Even treated wood is susceptible to moisture damage if left in frigid, icy temperatures that can peel away protective coatings leaving the bare wood exposed. Your furniture lifespan will drastically shorten if you do not take steps to keep wood free of moisture.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Teak

While also a wood type, teak wood is much more resilient and reliable than other wood types and works well as an outdoor furniture wood. Teak wood contains more natural oils than other woods and is more susceptible to mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew will lead to smelly, damp furniture that nobody will want to sit in, and if not correctly cared for and cleaned, it will eventually become unusable. The best defense, in this case, is to proactively prevent mold and mildew buildup.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Wicker

Wicker furniture is another type of wood-based outdoor furniture that is prone to damage from winter elements. Wicker furniture comes in two materials, natural rattan, and synthetic rattan. Natural rattan is wood-based, while synthetic rattan looks like natural rattan.

Wicker is a thin material and can be easily damaged if left in the frigid weather of wintertime. Moisture can cause wood rot, and mold can build up in the small spaces between the woven rattan patterns. Your best option is to keep freezing water away from wicker materials.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

PVC Composite

Many outdoor furniture types are made with PVC composites since PVC isn't susceptible to rot like wooden furniture. PVC furniture may have advantages in that aspect, but like all outdoor furniture, winter can take a toll on plastic furniture.

In particular, freezing temperatures can make plastic composites brittle, faded and extremely easy to break. Prolonged exposure to the brutal cold of winter storms can permanently weaken your outdoor PVC furniture and ruin the beautiful color.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Aluminum

The most significant advantage of having aluminum patio furniture is that aluminum is almost entirely rustproof. However, that doesn't mean you can leave your lawn chairs out for Old Man Winter to lounge around on like the deadbeat he is.

The moisture from winter storms expands and contracts when freezing and thawing. Rapid expansion and contraction from winter wetness can end up weakening your furniture frame integrity and leave you with a wobbly, unstable lawn chair or table.

In addition to weakening frames, water can also damage non aluminum parts on the chair such as the nuts and bolts that aren't aluminum.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is, shockingly, made from iron and will rust if left to the elements. Most iron outdoor patio furniture will have protective coatings to help keep rust at bay, but even the best layers can be compromised if left to winter freezing temperatures.

While a rusted old outdoor patio chair may look like a tremendous nostalgic shot for a budding art school photographer, rusty furniture offers little comfort to someone who wants to relax outdoors. If you have wrought iron furniture, keeping your pieces rust-free should be a priority.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Natural Stone

Nothing hearkens back to our ancestor's roots like a good stone fire pit. That primal combination of fire and rough-hewn stone brings us closer to nature while giving us that same campfire feeling of warmth and closeness to friends and family.

Natural stone furniture is an excellent option for outdoor furniture, but you should prevent winter damage. Stone is porous and will retain moisture; therefore, freezing and thawing can cause cracks and ruin your furniture's look.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)

Outdoor Fabrics

Nothing feels nicer after a long week than spending the weekend on the back patio lounging on a soft fabric lounge chair while waiting for that delicious burger to finish grilling. Soft but durable outdoor fabric is perfect for relaxing while also not quickly falling prey to crazy weather.

Outdoor fabrics resist moisture and outdoor elements like rain and even the occasional beverage stain. However, as resilient as the fabric may be, three inches of snow will be harsh on any material, and you shouldn't let your poor cushions go through the trauma.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Furniture During The Winter (Best Methods & Practices for 2020)
How-To-Protect-Your-Outdoor-Furniture-During-The-Winter-(Best-Methods-&-Practices-for-2020)

How To Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

Now that you know the dangers of leaving furniture out in the cold during the harsh winter months, let's prepare your outdoor furniture for winter.

Clean Using a Mild Dish Soap

Your furniture will have the dirt, grime, and potential stains from daily use and weather, so you will need to clean your furniture before you do anything else.

Mix a small amount of a mild dish detergent in with a bucket of warm water and scrub down your furniture using a brush or a sponge. A brush would be best to use on stubborn dirt and stains. Scrub any stubborn stains thoroughly and then rinse with regular water.

Resin wicker has a textured surface, so it's essential to get in between the weaves with a soft-bristled cleaning brush. Wrought Iron can rust if left in water for too long so be sure to dry any iron furniture as quickly as possible.

If you are concerned about furniture warranties or cleaning methods for your specific outdoor furniture brand, contact your brand manufacturer and ask about their recommended methods for safely cleaning your outdoor furniture.

Allow The Cleaned Furniture To Dry Completely

Once your furniture has been cleaned and rinsed, the next step is to allow the pieces to dry. Use a clean, dry, towel to remove any moisture and then allow to air dry. Once you have allowed your furniture to dry you are ready to store it for the winter.

How-To-Protect-Your-Outdoor-Furniture-During-The-Winter-(Best-Methods-&-Practices-for-2020)

How To Store Your Outdoor Furniture

Now that you know what methods you can use to prepare your furniture for winter, here are the best methods to keep the elements away from your deck chairs and fire pits.

Figure out which options are best for your furniture, and you will add years of life to your outdoor living space.

Store Outdoor Cushions Indoors When Not In Use

Storing cushions indoors is more of general good practice than a task that pertains explicitly to winter preparation, but it is nevertheless a great idea for winter. 

Keep those outdoor pillows away from snow and ice, by storing them inside or in a storage bin, and you will enjoy them for much longer in the warmer seasons.

How-To-Protect-Your-Outdoor-Furniture-During-The-Winter-(Best-Methods-&-Practices-for-2020)

Use Furniture Covers or Tarps

If your furniture stays outdoors during the winter, consider buying furniture covers to help keep access to moisture away from your patio chairs and tables.

Covers will pay for themselves by extending the life of your deck furniture and are even useful in warmer months for keeping the rain away.

If you want a cheaper option, waterproof tarps are also an excellent way to keep that dreaded H2O away from your furniture.

Wrap and secure your tarps carefully around your various outdoor furnishings, ensuring that they have as little exposure to the elements as possible.

Store Outdoor Furniture Inside During The Winter

Putting outdoor furniture indoors may seem a tad bit counterintuitive to the purpose of outdoor furniture. However, storing your furniture during winter months will add years of life and keep it looking newer for longer.

If you have the storage space, consider letting your deck chairs hibernate for the winter.If your furniture is light enough to move safely, bring it indoors to a garage, shed, or warehouse space that is out of the elements.

Moving furniture indoors will save you from worrying about potential moisture damage and the mildew buildup that winter can bring.

How-To-Protect-Your-Outdoor-Furniture-During-The-Winter-(Best-Methods-&-Practices-for-2020)

Ready To Winterize Your Outdoor Furniture?

No matter what type of furniture you have on your deck or patio, using this article, you will be able to properly clean and prepare your furniture for the harshest winter months.

Don't forget to cover or store your furniture to get the maximum lifespan possible and keep outdoor cushions stored away inside during the winter.

If you are looking for more methods to protect your outdoor furniture, check out our article on five easy protective tips for your outdoor furniture. If you are looking for new outdoor furniture, consider Furniture Fair.

We have many options for outdoor furniture, including Ashley Furniture. Drop by and find the perfect outdoor collection for your home. Visit one of our 11 locations or check us out online.

How-To-Protect-Your-Outdoor-Furniture-During-The-Winter-(Best-Methods-&-Practices-for-2020)


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