With winter right around the corner (December 21), there’s no better time than now to prepare your outdoor furniture for the change of seasons. The sub-freezing temperatures combined with heavy winds and moisture can wreck havoc on furniture, causing them to rust, warp, rot, and experience other forms of damage. Granted, this may happen after a single season, but constantly leaving your outdoor furniture exposed to the winter elements year after year will eventually result in damage.
The easiest type of outdoor furniture to winterize is plastic. Fully synthetic materials such as plastic are resistant to moisture, so you really don’t have to worry too much about them suffering damage. Just wipe them down with a clean towel or washcloth and they are good to go.
Aluminum patio furniture requires a bit more work to winterize due to its susceptibility to rusting. The good news is that most manufacturers treat their aluminum furniture with a special powder coating which creates a barrier of protection between the actual aluminum and the outdoor elements. The bad news is that power coatings tend to wear down over time, leaving the metallic structure underneath exposed to the cold temperatures and moisture. If you own any aluminum outdoor furniture, apply a coat of car wax to the surface. The wax will strengthen its powder coating, protecting the aluminum from damage.
Authentic cedar furniture should be given a little extra TLC to ensure it survives the winter season. Cedar has long been the preferred choice of material for outdoor furniture due to its brilliant appearance and color. But like many natural materials, it’s also susceptible to the elements. You can protect your cedar furniture from the winter weather by applying a protective oil. The two most commonly used oils for this purpose are teak and linseed, both of which can be purchased from most home improvement stores. Using a clean washcloth, apply a light coat of oil over the surface of your cedar furniture. When you are finished, leave it to dry, at which point it should be protected from the harsh winter weather.
So, what’s the best way to winterize outdoor furniture that’s made of fabric? Fabric is difficult to winterize because of its ability to harbor moisture. Moisture will settle down within the fabric, promoting the formation of mold and mildew. Ideally, you should bring your fabric furniture indoors for the winter.