When you enjoy the outdoors, your yard or garden is a summertime living room, kitchen, and meditation space. However, if you experience freezing temperatures, winter winds and snow, your patio furniture can feel the brunt. Even if it is being stored on a porch or gazebo, it pays to keep it covered. To get a better idea of which pieces of outdoor furniture will need some help and the best way to prevent it from getting damaged by freezing temperatures, take a look below at some of our ideas. After reading, you will see there are certain furniture types to target and specific ways to care for each. Besides, we have listed details about winterizing outdoor utility equipment in ways you may not have considered in the past.
Why bother with outdoor furniture covers?
If you notice the damage direct sun exposure can cause your outdoor furniture, imagine that same damage twice over in regards to cold weather exposure. Unfortunately, expansion and contraction from the freezing process can significantly shorten the life of your outdoor furniture. This is especially true if it gets wet. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare furniture to be stored outdoors with fewer long-term consequences.
Avoid cheap tarps and burlap as a final layer.
While the traditional ways to store outdoor furniture for the winter included thick plastic, canvas tarps, and burlap, these methods look terrible. They also may have ropes, cords, zip ties or bungee cords wrapped around them to keep the wraps secure. Despite this, neighbors may complain about the awkward appearance of wrapped furniture, but the solution is easy. For example, traditional black plastic outdoor furniture covers designed for winter tend to be unfashionable, but outdoor fabric can make the most mundane storage look fresh from the curb.
Cleaning seaside salt before covering your outdoor furniture
Too often, homeowners will cover outdoor furniture for the winter, and they forget there are consequences. For instance, if you do not clean away the salt that attaches itself to seaside furniture, it will damage the furniture if it is left in freezing temperatures over winter. In particular, the dried salt water will cause corrosion with metal furniture frames. The best solution before covering these types of furniture is to dry them completely in the sun and remove any salt with a stiff brush before winter.
Preventing mold and mildew freeze damage
Another issue with outdoor furniture storage is mold or mildew after freeze damage has occurred. This common problem is easy to waylay by cleaning the furniture before the spores can find an excellent host. By cleaning the outdoor furniture and keeping it covered over winter, you avoid having the dirty and moist environment mildew, algae or mold need to populate. Any mildew or mold stains that do occur can be removed with an ammonia and water solution.
Making sure wicker furniture survives the winter
When wicker furniture is painted, it also usually has a sealant applied that gives it extra strength. However, it is common for wicker to need extra care when preparing to store over the winter. For instance, mild soap and gentle cleaning protect the sealant. Covering the furniture over winter is ideal, but the feet of the furniture may not endure unless they are adequately protected from collecting moisture.
Special winter handling for outdoor metal furniture
Whether it is wrought iron, cast iron, copper or aluminum, outdoor furniture made from metal can take a beating if it is not moisture-proof treated for the winter. Although many metal outdoor furniture sets are sealed with paints or finishes, preventing rust by re-painting before winter is critical. For aluminum furniture, winterizing can include applying a thin layer of automotive wax before covering.
How to prevent heavy rusting over winter
For heavy-duty metals, painting them with car paint can help them last indefinitely. If rusting does occur despite using plastic and fabric outdoor furniture covers, remove the rust with a wire brush in the springtime, and reapply car paint to stop the decay process. Rusting furniture should never be stored over the winter without adequately addressing the issue since wrapping it in plastic can accelerate the rusting process dramatically.
How outdoor upholstery and umbrella canvas is winter-proofed
Outdoor fabrics are designed to be left outside, but deterring damage can save you hundreds of dollars in replacements. After all, a pillow that has been left in freezing temperatures all winter can explode with mold and mildew in the spring. Worse, the fabric may have a short life expectancy because it becomes dry-rotted from exposure to freezing temperatures. Instead of using heavy chemicals to remove the stains, odors, and growth of microorganisms, store cushions and other types of outdoor fabric canvas indoors.
How to clean upholstery before storing for the winter
To remove tough mildew or mold before storing for the winter, do not use the concentrated detergent that contains color-protecting bleach. Using a mixture of mild soap and water will remove the rust and stains without the harsh chemicals. It is also critical to ensure that each cushion and piece of fabric is thoroughly dried before being stored in a plastic wrap for several months.
Winterizing plastic or synthetic wicker outdoor furniture
In some circumstances, plastic outdoor furniture may not be able to survive harsh winter freezing due to the brittleness of the materials. Alternatively, the plastic used to create synthetic wicker is exceptionally resistant to frost since it is made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Before storing it for the winter, remove the cushions, soap it up and use a garden hose to spray off the dirt. Once the cushions are removed, the outdoor fabric can be used to decorate the HDPE wicker furniture and keep ice from forming. Due to the expansive properties of ice, having wicker of any type exposed during the winter can cause loosening the wicker.
Keeping your outdoor machinery protected
Outside of your home, you may also have an outdoor kitchen that needs winterizing by a professional. This is especially true if you have working plumbing in the outdoor kitchen. Nevertheless, if you use an air conditioner or HVAC unit, there is likely an outside component that independently sits in the yard. To ensure you are not paying outrageous bills for damage to the outdoor HVAC component, get an air conditioner cover specifically designed for that model of HVAC unit. Along these lines, it is also relevant to get an air conditioner cover for other window units you may have if they are not able to be removed from the windows.
Keeping your pipes warm with fashionable outdoor fabrics
Do you have issues with your pipes freezing in the winter because they are exposed above the ground, but are also too far away from your building? One way to keep the pipes from bursting or freezing solid is to keep them covered. While effective insulators are the best way to keep the pipes ice-free, they can be unsightly. One solution is to use the outer, wrapped layers to have fun. After the hard work is over, cover the handy work with outdoor fabric, and remove the insulators in the late spring after the freezes are over.
Keeping snow throwers from burying your outdoor furniture
An issue homeowners can have during the winter is damaging their outdoor furniture due to the force of snow blowers and snow throwers. If you do not have the room to move your outdoor furniture each winter away from the path of your snow blower, consider using a professional-grade snow thrower cover. To gain the most benefits, place the snow thrower cover over the furniture before you start working. When you are finished, you can remove the blanket of snow by removing the cover and pitching the snow in an appropriate location. This also prevents wet snow from permanently staining your painted outdoor furniture.
Other ways to use outdoor fabric to protect your home and health this winter
In the summertime, you may want to have the heat of the day shining through your windows as much as possible. Regardless, in the winter, it may be more important to keep your doorways free of ice and snow. Instead of solely focusing on protecting outdoor furniture, use fabric by attaching it to pergolas or porches. By hanging it as an awning, it works to keep snow or ice from making doorways or sidewalk paths dangerous. Other ways to use these temporary awnings made from outdoor fabric is to help protect built-in benches on porches that get a lot of snow coverage from the sides of the porch.
How to find your outdoor patio furniture this winter before it is snowed-in
One other key reason to cover your outdoor furniture with fabric is to make it identifiable when snow is covering everything. For example, in addition to helping homeowners avoid hitting outdoor furniture with their cars when it is snowy, adding reflective fabric will help snowplow drivers to identify where you have an essential wrought-iron park bench next to the road. This is especially true since snowplow drivers typically work before the sun comes up to make the streets clear for commuters. Snowplow drivers also usually only work when visibility is low since their services are only required when it is snowing heavily. Snowplow drivers will also appreciate outdoor furniture near the road being covered in reflective fabric because this prevents damage to their equipment.