How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture from the Elements
August 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
You purchased a brand new set of patio furniture last year, but it’s already starting to show some fading and mildew. If you don’t do anything, the wood will begin to crack, and the fabric will become permanently stained. Too many patio owners forget about protecting their furniture, or they put it off until next year, and they end up replacing it twice as quickly. Fortunately, protecting your outdoor furniture in MA and RI will only take a few hours, so you can complete it in a single afternoon, and it costs next to nothing.
Basic Dos and Don’ts
If you have a wood deck, you probably power wash it every other year to remove mold and mildew and restore it to its original color. However, you’ll want to wash outdoor furniture by hand. In his Chicago Tribune column, Tim Carter explains that pressure washers “absolutely will damage the wood.” Instead, use a vacuum to remove the worst of the dirt, and follow up with an oxygen bleach or acid to wipe off any remaining grime. Allow the wood to dry, and apply a wood oil or other sealer to give the wood a vibrant color. Oil-based products will attract mold and mildew after a few months, but they shouldn’t pose a significant problem if you clean your furniture twice a year.
Caring for Cushions
If you want to ruin your cushions really fast, leave them out in the rain. You won’t be able to sit down on them for days after a good thunderstorm without soaking your pants, and the rain will gradually destroy the foam padding. A light shower now and then won’t cause any significant damage, but if you know a big storm is coming, take the cushions off and bring them inside.
To help protect against lighter precipitation, use a fabric sealer like Scotchgard fabric protector, which you can find at your local home improvement or furniture store. The sealer will repel water, protecting the foam padding, and the cushion will dry off after an hour or two, so you’ll be able to use and enjoy your furniture the same day if the rain lets up.
Covered and Open Patios
Your furniture is going to last much longer if you own a covered porch or patio. It won’t fade as much from the sun. The wood will still warp and crack over time if you don’t clean and seal it, but you won’t have to do it as often unless you live in a very humid area. If your furniture is sitting out in the sun all day, then you’ll want to maintain it at least twice a year.