When you notice the leaves start to change color, it’s time you start preparing your outdoor furniture for winter. Freezing rains, cold weather, and snow affect patio furniture adversely, and preparing them for storage ensures they serve you better in summer.
Here’s a quick guide on how to store patio furniture for winter.
Can I leave my patio furniture outside during winter?
Yes. Patio furniture is made for the outdoors. However, fall and winter weather can damage your furniture if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Make sure to thoroughly clean, dry completely and apply quality protective sealants before putting on a furniture cover or in a storage unit for winter. Granted, it’s a lengthy and somewhat tiring process, but you’ll thank yourself for your effort come spring.
Moreover, protecting your patio furniture during the cold season saves you money. Patio furniture is expensive, and leaving them unprotected for a single snowstorm can result in irreversible damage.
What is the best way to store outdoor furniture?
The best storage approach is to store everything in a shed, garage, storage unit or under a heavy-duty tarp. However, if you use a tarp, ensure it’s tied down securely and leave a gap below for ample circulation. That said, how you prepare, care for, and store patio furniture depends on the material it is constructed from.
Apply protective sealant to wooden patio furniture to protect it from moisture. During the cold season, moisture can freeze within the wood, causing it to crack. Covering wooden furniture won’t work since wood absorbs moisture from the air. You’ll see the best results when you seal and cover the furniture.
Unlike wooden furniture, plastic furniture doesn’t absorb moisture. However, cold winter temperatures make the plastic brittle and susceptible to cracking. It’s best to store plastic patio furniture where temperatures don’t drop below freezing. Before storing it, wash it with a detergent solution and rinse well.
Metal furniture tends to rust in freezing rain and snow. The rust weakens the metal causing it to break down. Before you store metal furniture, inspect for rust and treat those spots with rust-neutralizing primer. Smoothen the area and apply spray paint matching the original paint or surface. For added protection, you can coat it with automotive wax. Store metal furniture during winter and also when it rains.
The furniture comes with many nooks and crannies. Applying a bleach and water solution to the surface is crucial to get rid of the mildew. Then rinse it off with fine hose spray and allow it to dry completely. Freshen the surface with spray paint and coat the legs and feet with a moisture repellent. Find a dry place in your garage to store wicker furniture and place it on top of blocks, so the feet don’t touch the floor.
Fabrics and cushions
Cushion fabrics are damaged by freezing and thawing that happens in winter. Your first step should be vacuuming the cushions and umbrella and washing them with bleach detergent mix. For cotton fabric, soap and water are sufficient.
It’s advisable to store your cushions in a storage deck box and keep them indoors when it’s raining. If you keep them in a storage space with a high potential for rodents, consider wrapping the cushions for added protection and setting traps. To prevent dust from accumulating, set a tarp over them.
Fire Pits and Grills
Since most grills and fire pits are made from metal, these should be treated similarly to metal furniture since they’re susceptible to rust. Make sure to use fitted covers for added protection, and if you don’t plan to use a grill during the winter it’s best to store them in a garage or storage unit. Just be sure to shut off and detach any gas tanks.
While preparing your patio furniture for winter may take a while, it’s worth your time and money. Keep everything clean and protected with sealant and/or durable covers.