Feeling a slight nip in the air? Are you actually having to put on a jacket now when you go outside in the morning?
Brace yourselves, winter is coming…and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The time for outdoor parties is quickly coming to an end and you need to make sure that your outdoor furniture is able to survive until the next party season.
When you see the leaves start to fall and tank tops being replaced with long-sleeved shirts and hoodies, you know it’s time to get ready to store your outdoor furniture for winter. For many unfortunate procrastinators, winter is a death sentence to patio or backdoor furniture.
If you’ve spent the money to make your outdoor relaxation time as comfortable as possible, do yourself a favor and make your investment last by keeping these five tips in mind as you get your outdoor furniture ready for winter.
1. Pay attention to what your furniture is made of!
Is your outdoor furniture metal? If so, what kind of metal is it? Is it the kind of metal that rusts when it gets wet? Is it made of plastic or wood? Are there any glass attachments? Are your cushions made of waterproof acrylic or some other kind of material?
All these questions play a huge factor in how you store your outdoor chairs and tables. A rule that can be universally applied to all types of outdoor furniture is to store it in a clean, dry place. Here’s a small checklist that you can use to make sure your storage area is up to the challenge of winter:
Are there any water leaks?
Are there termites or other bugs?
Does the storage area have any mold already?
Are there flammable hazards?
Will it get so cold that it will cause plastic to crack?
Could anything fall and break glass?
2. “Water Resistant” doesn’t necessarily mean “Waterproof”
Over time, furniture that is designed to be waterproof can lose some of its water repelling qualities. Many types of wood furniture collections are either chemically treated to be water-resistant or have naturally occurring water-resistant properties. However, no matter what kind of wood your outdoor furniture is made of, water always has the potential to be absorbed, causing furniture to crack or erode from the inside.
Before you get ready to store your wood furniture for the winter, make sure you apply a water-repellent finish to it. Most professionals in the woodworking industry recommend a finish that is lacquer based because it adds to the richness of the wood, dries quickly, and is incredibly strong.
3. Ignoring rust spots is a HUGE mistake!
If rust spots are already starting to appear on your furniture, it’s important that you get rid of them before you store the furniture away for the winter. If you don’t, the rust will spread and cause structural damage that will make the furniture unsafe to use. Plus, let’s be honest, it looks terrible!
Grab your drill, make sure that it has a metal bristle brush attachment, and buff out those rust spots before they start to spread. Just before you store your metal furniture, prevent new rust from forming by applying a high-quality paste wax to all areas that could potentially rust. In addition to applying a paste wax, make sure your metal furniture is also covered during storage.
4. Don’t just ignore a crack
Has anyone ever told you to get that small crack in your windshield repaired before winter so that it doesn’t spread?
Apply the same logic to your plastic outdoor furniture. If you don’t take care of any small cracks right away before winter, they will just get larger and larger, eventually leading to the furniture being damaged beyond repair. So, how do you fix cracking in plastic outdoor furniture?
Some larger cracks just aren’t fixable and that’s life. But in the case of small cracking, applying an epoxy resin can work very well. Just spread the resin over the cracked areas, making sure that it is applied smoothly. After the resin is applied and hardens, you can sand it down to get rid of any unseemly bumps.
5. Glass needs extra special attention
Glass table tops can be a whole other beast to store on their own. The obvious reason is because they are more fragile than the rest of your outdoor dining pieces, but the most important thing that you need to remember when you are storing outdoor glass is to keep it covered in a warm place!
If you let glass sit in cold places for an extended period of time, it is much more susceptible to getting weak and shattering when it is finally taken out of storage. Keeping it covered not only keeps the glass from getting nicked and scraped by the everyday happenings of life, but it also gives it a much needed layer of insulation. If you have any extra blankets lying around that aren’t being used, wrap your glass table tops in them and secure them on with rope or bungee cords. Once it’s wrapped, make sure it is stored in an area where things won’t fall on it and there isn’t a threat of it rolling away or falling over.
You have two options when it’s time to store your outdoor furniture for the winter.
You can either let winter be your furniture’s demise and watch your investment go down the drain, or you can take the necessary steps now to make sure that it lasts for years to come. You didn’t invest your money into outdoor furniture to watch it rust, crack, mold, or wither away after using it for one season.
These five tips will help you not only keep your outdoor furniture longer, but enjoy it longer too.