How to Protect Garden Furniture Over Winter
As the nights get darker and the weather gets colder and rainier, you might want to start thinking about putting your summer garden furniture away for storage if you’re not going to use it. Garden furniture is an investment, it usually costs a lot of money, and you probably intend to use it for years to come. To make it last as long as possible, you’ll need to protect it from the elements in the winter season by either storing it or covering it. Find out how to protect your garden furniture over winter, depending on what type of furniture you have.
Table of contents
- Can you leave garden furniture outside?
- How to cover garden furniture for the winter
- How to store garden furniture in winter: by material
Can you leave garden furniture outside?
All garden furniture left outside long enough will start to look shabby and decompose. Moisture can rot wooden garden furniture, and it can cause metal furniture to rust. So, it is imperative that if you want your garden furniture to last summer after summer, you either cover it or store it inside or in your garage or shed.
How to cover garden furniture for the winter
If you don’t have anywhere to store your garden furniture, the next best thing is to purchase covers. Covers are available for individual chairs and tables, or you can get one that covers the entire set. However, ensure the furniture cover is the right size to prevent it from getting damaged in bad weather.
Garden furniture covers are breathable, but ensure your furniture is completely clean and dry before you cover it to avoid mould.
How to store garden furniture in winter: by material
Wooden garden furniture
The level of winter care you need to give to wooden garden furniture depends on the type of wood. Hardwood, like oak or teak, can stay outside in winter and gracefully age. If you don’t mind the weathered look and want to leave your hardwood furniture outside, make sure to tip access water off the garden furniture from time to time and don’t let the legs stand in water puddles because this can cause rot.
However, if you prefer your wooden garden furniture to look new and fresh, we recommend storing it in a garage. Or, if your wooden furniture can fold up, an outside storage box is an excellent solution.
You can also make your hardwood furniture more weather-resistant by oiling it every 2-3 years with exterior furniture oil.
If you have softwood furniture, like pine, you will need to store this furniture over the winter months as it is prone to staining and rotting.
Natural rattan and wicker garden furniture
Real wicker furniture might be stylish and attractive, but it is not weatherproof. Always take it inside when you’re not using it. However, you can use linseed oil to treat worn rattan, which can act as a water-resistant barrier when absorbed.
Artificial rattan garden furniture
Artificial rattan is the most weather-resistant garden furniture, but it can be bulky. So, if you don’t have space to store it over winter, we recommend investing in a cover, and it can happily remain outside during the winter. To avoid mildew, clean once a year with a soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaner or water and white vinegar. Never use a pressure washer on your artificial rattan furniture, as it forces dirt into the weaves.
Cast iron garden furniture
Cast iron garden furniture can live outside all year round. However, it is susceptible to rust. If you notice rust forming, act as soon as possible. You can use wire wool or sandpaper to scrub the rust off, and then you need to re-paint it with special metal paint.
Plastic-coated metal garden furniture
Unfortunately, if you have plastic-coated metal garden furniture, water can get into the joints and cause rust, so make sure you store this type of furniture during winter.
Aluminium garden furniture
Aluminium garden furniture can also be left out all year round, but eventually, it does oxidise. So make sure you clean it once a year with a non-abrasive cleaner, like water and vinegar.
Plastic garden furniture
Plastic garden furniture is a low-maintenance option. However, it does become discoloured and brittle in extreme weather. So, storing it is better if you’re not using it over the winter months.
Outdoor cushions and soft furnishings
If your garden furniture has cushions or a parasol, don’t leave them out over winter. Although some may be all-season cushions, these can still get damp and take 24-48 hours to dry. Before you store them, ensure they are 100% dry to avoid mould growth over winter.
How to protect your outdoor furniture with Build & Plumb
If you’re low on storage space, we have an extensive range of tools to help protect your garden furniture, including our selection of Garden Chests and Storage Units to store your fold-away garden furniture. We also supply Wood Treatment and Wood Protectors to protect your wooden garden furniture from harsh weather all year round.