Winter is coming! No, really – it’s not just a line from a television series. As much as we don’t want it, winter is on its way. The first frost was already here to destroy our plants, and nighttime temperatures are occasionally dipping below freezing. Why is this important? Because your patio furniture needs you. While patio furniture is made to be outside by design, you don’t want to leave it outside all winter. Let’s be honest, it’s expensive! And leaving it exposed to the elements is a sure-fire way to make it look old and worn – fast. Wood can expand and crack, plastic becomes brittle, fabrics fade, metal rusts, and wicker snaps and unravels. But all of this could be avoided in a few different ways.
1. MOVE IT INDOORS
The fastest, easiest, and most effective way to keep your patio furniture looking like new is to clean it and put it in a climate controlled storage unit. But really, clean it first. Obviously bugs live outside in the same place your outdoor furniture has lived for the last six months so be thorough so the critters don’t hitchhike their way into what amounts to a luxury condo for them for the winter. When renting your unit, think about how your patio furniture stacks. Always take advantage of vertical space by stacking up instead of only side-by-side. A bonus to using a climate controlled storage unit is the moisture in the wood won’t freeze, which causes it to split. You’ve spend good money on that lovely furniture. You definitely don’t want to replace it already next spring. A bonus to using Sixty5 Self Storage is you can rent month-to-month. Short term rentals are welcome.
2. MOVE IT SEMI-INDOORS
The next best option to climate controlled storage is to move your patio furniture into your garage. Since it is usually attached to your home, it is often less cold than outside. (But that is no guarantee it won’t go below freezing.) If that isn’t an option, or you simply don’t have enough room in your garage, a shed will work. However, the expanding and retracting that happens in the cold with wood makes this less than desirable. Be sure to clean it, oil it, and seal it before you put it away.
3. USE COVERS OR TARPS
You don’t have a shed, the furniture is too large for the garage, or it is too heavy to move? Consider covers or tarps. Well-fitting covers are a better option. Be sure to get covers with a breathable fabric that won’t collect condensation on those occasional freak warm weather days. Again, clean everything, and if at all possible, at least bring in your cushions. It keeps the pests away, and if cleaned and stored properly, keeps mold and mildew from growing. Other options include tarps or plastic wrap. If using tarps, first opt for high quality. Then collect the grommeted edges around the bottom and secure with bungee cords or twine. Leave ventilation at the bottom so condensation will hopefully dry and not cause mold. Check the tarps regularly for leaks and fit. Plastic wrap is another option but less desirable, leaving potential openings for moisture to leak in, but it is still better than leaving your furniture exposed.
While it may seem like a lot of trouble now to clean, remove rust, seal, and paint your outdoor furniture, it is worth it. The last thing you want to do is have your investment go to waste by letting these and other pests and problems wreak havoc all winter long. And we promise, you will not regret it next spring.