How To Store Your Outdoor Furniture During Winter?

Each year many people risk their wooden outdoor furniture being damaged by extreme weather conditions. Especially in the winter months it's important to take proper precautions for your garden, porch or patio set. Here are some tips on how to store your outdoor furniture properly during the winter months - and so you won't have to worry about its condition next spring and summer.

The winter season is fast approaching, and you’ve probably prepared your home and took care of your HVAC system. You’ve bought heavy coats, gloves, hoods, and everything you believe should protect you from the chilly weather. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one that needs cover from the harsh weather. What’s going to happen to the furniture you have on your patio when the snow comes knocking?

While you’ll no longer enjoy the morning or the afternoon sun on your patio, this doesn’t mean you neglect those outdoor seats. The winter weather will not be friendly to the outdoor furniture. If you’re not careful, you might not use them after the snow.

There are many ways to protect your outdoor furniture from the harsh weather, and that depends on their material. Learn how to winterize different types of furniture, including wood, plastic, wicker, metal, aluminum, and upholstery like cushions and umbrellas.

If you’re wondering how to ensure the furniture you have outside is safe, here are essential tips to help you out.

Should You Cover or Store Your Furniture?

This is the dilemma of everyone who has some outdoor furniture during winter. You might be torn between covering and bringing your outdoor furniture indoors. All these are good options, but the one you choose to go with will depend on your type of furniture. Well, if you can store all your furniture indoors until the cold weather passes, then do it. If you don’t have enough space, you should give priority to the most delicate ones.

Where can you store the furniture?

Garage, Shed, or Indoors

A space in the garage or shed can be ideal for storing your furniture to protect them from the harsh weather. While in the shed or garage, you should use a cover to add extra protection in case of leaks or dust. If you have plastic furniture, you should never leave them out in the freezing weather. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can make the plastic brittle. Make sure the indoor space where you choose to store your furniture is dry.

Use extra protection when storing your outdoor furniture in a garage or a shed.

Use Covers, Tarps, and Plastic Wrap

Some furniture is built permanently, and you won’t be able to move them. If this is the case, then you’ll have no other option than to cover. Another reason you might want to leave your precious furniture outdoors is when you don’t have enough space to put the furniture indoors. The good news about this is that there are plenty of fitted furniture covers that you can use. Make sure you find covers that suit the size of your furniture.

You can also use a tarp to protect your furniture if you can’t cover them. Ensure you properly tie the tarp down to avoid instances of it being blown away. Don’t forget to leave space between the tarps for some air circulation.

If you cannot move your outdoor furniture for storage, make sure you properly cover them to prevent any damage.

Also, beware that tarp experiences breathability issues, and any water that gets in won’t evaporate. You must secure the tarp well with ropes or bungee codes. Ensure the tarp is not too large because this can still trap air causing the wind to blow them off easily.

Plastic shrink wrap is another effective cover for your outdoor furniture during the winter months. This type of furniture protection is mostly used in Northeast areas where snow storms are common during winter. One disadvantage of plastic wrap is that it’s not breathable. If water manages to get inside, it won’t escape; hence, inviting mold and mildew.

Be careful when storing furniture with sharp edges. The edges can tear the plastic wrap and allow moisture to get in. Ensure you buy high-quality wraps to avoid this.

How to Winterize Different Types of Furniture

Outdoor furniture comes in different materials with different storage and handling needs. Others can survive just simple covering while others require extra care. Here are different types of outdoor furniture and how you should take care of them for winter.

Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture comes in two types; synthetic and natural rattan. Natural wicker is prone to chipping over time; hence needs extra care. If you have to clean them, make sure you don’t do it too often, so they don’t splinter. Brush the surfaces of the furniture using water and bleach to get rid of mildew. Rinse with a hose or a fine spray and let it dry completely before storing.

While synthetic wicker can withstand various weather conditions, natural wicker furniture requires more care in winter.

Synthetic wicker comes with a coating that protects them from harsh weather and UV; hence, they are more durable and easy to care for. If they’re dirty, all you have to do is spray using a hose and allow it to dry completely in the sun. Leaving any moisture on your wicker furniture can invite mold and mildew, which can cause damage.

Caring for Wood Furniture

Another furniture material to give extra care in winter is wood. Wood is vulnerable to winter moisture, and you might not enjoy their rustic charm anymore if you ignore them. The cold weather causes wood to splinter and crack. When moisture sips inside wood furniture, they settle on the cracks and ridges. As the temperatures drop, the moisture freezes, causing pressure on the wood and then cracking.

Unfortunately, throwing a cover over your wood cover won’t add any protection. They can still absorb moisture from the air and end up with damages that are beyond repair.

There’s a special sealant that makes wood moisture resistant, and this is what you should get in winter. Applying this sealant to your wood furniture is almost the same as painting them. You need a brush to apply a layer of sealant. You don’t need a professional to help you with this as you can do it all by yourself. After applying the sealant, leave your furniture to dry completely before putting it in storage.

Teak Furniture

Teak needs different care from other wood furniture. The beautiful wood furniture is not only suitable for the outdoors due to its aesthetic appeal but also because they’re weather resistant. However, neglecting teak wood in the harsh weather can still allow them to attract mold and mildew.

You need to clean teak wood using vinegar and hot water. If the furniture has accumulated some stubborn stains, you can use bleach, laundry detergent, and warm water to clean. Scrub using a soft brush and rinse. Dry with a towel and leave it to air dry. After drying completely, you can use Tung oil or Linseed for added protection.

Plastic Furniture

Plastic can be considered one of the easiest pieces of furniture to deal with in winter because they don’t have issues with moisture. But that doesn’t mean you neglect them because they also don’t like the cold temperatures.

Extremely cold temperatures cause the plastic to brittle and crack. Repeated temperature changes interfere with the structural integrity of plastic furniture. To prevent this from happening, make sure you bring your plastic furniture indoors before the snow starts knocking.

Consider storing your plastic furniture indoors in winter to avoid any cracks.

Ensure you clean the plastic furniture with dish soap and water and let it dry before taking it indoors for storage. Storing plastic furniture indoors is also easy as you can stack the chairs or the tables on top of each other. Be careful not to damage them while stacking. Don’t forget to cover the pieces with a tarp to reduce dust accumulation.

Metal and Aluminum Furniture

If you love the vibe that metal and aluminum furniture bring to your patio, then you’ll want to have them around after the winter season. That will only happen if you preserve them the way they deserve. Carrying your metal furniture to storage may not be an easy thing because of its bulky and heavy nature. If you must keep them indoors, consider hiring professional movers to transport them to storage.

Since metal furniture pieces are quite bulky, you should cover them in winter instead of carrying them indoors.

However, the best option is to leave them out but well-covered. You also need to preserve the polish and shine of your metal furniture, whether indoors or outdoors. You can wash the surface with water and detergent. Use a scup to brush and rinse using a hose.

Carry out a thorough inspection for rust. If it’s corroded, use a rust neutralizing primer to treat the rust. You can also apply a protective coat of wax on the surface before covering or putting it into storage. Additionally, you can use spray paint to enhance the finish.

Natural Stone Furniture

If you have stone fire pits, tables, and chairs, you’ll go the extra mile to protect them because they’re a real gem. Stone furniture has a wonderful way of making your patio area appear elegant. But while many people think they can withstand the winter weather, they’re porous, which means moisture can easily sip in. When water gets in and freezes, they cause fractures and cracks in the stones.

Like metal, the stone is heavy and bulky, and moving them indoors is the least of your considerations. But you can still protect them from the harsh weather by covering them. Rinse the furniture with water with drops of mild laundry detergent. Use a soft cloth or sponge to remove tough stains.

Allow the stone to dry, and apply a stone sealer to protect it against moisture, stains, and salt. This is very important if you live in the coastal region as salt can get into the air and get ingrained in the ridges to cause cracks in your stone furniture. 

Wrought Iron Furniture

If there’s furniture you should never leave outside during winter is wrought iron. Wrought iron can easily rust when exposed to the winter weather. When it corrodes, the rust will weaken the metal, causing it to break down. While galvanized iron is known to hold better, they still suffer when left in the snow.

The best thing to do with your wrought iron patio furniture is to bring them indoors. You should also ensure you maintain them well if you need them to serve you longer. Keep your eye on this furniture as it can be hard to move around or store because of the weight. Many people only realize they need extra care when it’s too late.

Storing the Outdoor Fabric

If you have outdoor furniture, you must also have some fabrics that you use together with the furniture, such as cushions, pillows, curtains, and umbrellas. Most fabrics meant for the outdoor environment are designed with weather resistance in mind; hence, stronger than those used indoors. However, they might not be strong enough to resist damage from snow, rain, and ice that comes with the winter season.

The good news is that your outdoor fabrics are the easiest to bring indoors and protect from the harsh weather. You need to clean them deep and put them in a storage bag before storing them in the garage, shed, or attic. Understand how to clean the curtains, the cushions, patio umbrellas, and fabrics before storing them. Don’t forget to dry them completely before bringing them indoors.

The Hammock

A hammock is an outdoor bed made of canvas with a long net and cloth. If it snows on your hammock, the weight of the snow and the volume can damage it. So make sure you remove your hammock and tend to it before winter.

Since snow might damage your hammock, you should always store it indoors in winter.

To wash the rope of a cloth hammock, put them in the washing machine and use a laundry detergent. If you don’t have a laundry machine, then you can use water, liquid detergent, and a scrub brush for cleaning. Put in a flat surface and let it dry before bringing it indoors.

Important Tips to Remember

Save Space by Stacking

There’s no doubt most of your outdoor furniture is bulky and likely to occupy too much space. If you have so many things to store and a small space, you need to save as much as possible. One of the ways to save space is to stack your outdoor furniture.

Stacking furniture also reduces the footprint indoors and outdoors. Stacking your furniture while outdoors also gives them more wait to withstand the heavy winter winds.

You should also stack the cushions in a dry area from the floor. If you’re going to store your cushions outdoors, don’t forget to cover them with a tarp. Keep your wicker furniture off the floor.

Beware of the Wind

Sometimes the weather can be so violet on your furniture. If you don’t protect your outdoor furniture from the winter wind, they scatter everywhere. You’ll have to deal with breakages and all kinds of damages. Not to mention the backyard renovations that you’ll have to deal with.

You should protect your furniture from damage by moving them indoors. Find out other ways to prevent your furniture from moving and keep them well protected.

Consider Climate Controlled Storage

Climate-controlled storage units are the best option to store your furniture for winter. If you don’t have space in your garage or shed, you need to find a storage unit for short-term storage. If you get a climate-controlled storage unit, you’ll not have to worry about humidity changes or the freezing temperatures that can be detrimental to your furniture.

Store your outdoor furniture in a climate-controlled storage unit to prevent damage caused by moisture or cold temperature.

Use Protective Coating

If you’re going to leave your furniture outside, you have to go the extra mile to protect them. Besides covering everything properly, you also need to remember to use a protective coating made specifically for each type of furniture. There are different treatments for wood, metal, and plastic.

Before applying any coating, check out for any signs of wear and tear. Always use this preparation technique whenever you leave your furniture outdoors during winter. Failing to offer additional protection will mean that you’ll have to deal with replacements of some pieces once winter is over.

Best Practices to Caring for Your Furniture During Winter

  •  If you’re bringing your furniture indoors, make sure you store them in a dry place. Your storage area should not be susceptible to leaks or floods.
  • Always check your furniture throughout the winter season. Mold, mildew, and humidity can still find their way in inviting rodents. This should not go unnoticed.
  • Disassemble all the removable pieces such as cushions, hammocks, and umbrellas before putting them in storage. This is a perfect way to save on space.
  • Clean to remove dust on all your furniture pieces before storing
  • Put more delicate pieces in temperature-controlled rooms to preserve them

Summary

Proper storage and protection of your furniture during winter is the only surefire of keeping them safe. You don’t want to keep replacing your outdoor furniture or dealing with expensive repairs after every winter season. Buy quality protective covers for all the furniture you’ll be leaving outdoors.

For those you’ll bring indoors, ensure you store them well and cover them to protect against dust. Don’t forget to clean your outdoor furniture before putting them away for the winter season. Finally, make sure you understand the type of furniture you have at home and know how to handle each of them individually.

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