[Updated for 2018]
Outdoor furniture has one persistent, ever-present antagonist: the weather. While your microfiber sofa and heirloom-quality dining table are safe and snug inside, your patio furniture must be able to stand up to rain, sunshine, wind and more.
The life of outdoor furniture depends upon the quality with which it’s built, the materials that are used and the care and maintenance you provide for it. Whether you’re shopping for new patio furniture or are looking for tips to maintain furniture you already own, read on to learn how to maximize your investment. We’ve highlighted some of the most popular patio furniture materials and how to take care of them to ensure years of outdoor enjoyment.
As a general rule for any outdoor furniture material, you can’t go wrong with a mixture of warm water and mild soap for as-needed cleaning. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap and dry completely. Choose a warm, bright summer day and get an assist from the sun to encourage fast drying.
Outdoor furniture covers are also a worthy investment. Our protective covers from Treasure Garden are made from exclusive Rhinoweave material, which is durable, water-resistant and breathable, and won’t crack or peel. An easy-to-operate spring cinch lock, which is standard on all but the umbrella covers, secures the cover in place.
Homemakers offers versatile furniture made of synthetic wicker, sometimes called all-weather wicker, which is woven over a metal frame for added strength and stability. It looks great and handles whatever weather comes its way.
Aluminum is strong, stylish and naturally rust-resistant, making it a popular choice for outdoor furniture. Steel also is strong, and typically less expensive than aluminum, but it can rust if the finish is damaged. If steel is scratched and the bare metal exposed, treat immediately with extra-fine sandpaper, rust inhibitor and touch-up paint.
A powder-coated finish — in which dry powder is electrostatically applied, then cured at a high temperature — is preferable for metal furniture. It will form a thicker, more protective finish that will last longer than normal paint.
This maintenance-free material, sometimes called polyethylene or HDPE, is recovered from milk jugs and detergent bottles, making it as environmentally-friendly as it is durable. It won’t fade, warp or rot. Because it’s treated with UV color protection and the color penetrates throughout each piece of poly lumber, it requires no staining, sealing, sanding or painting. It can tolerate a bleach cleaning solution if needed. Use a soft bristle brush to dislodge dirt, and periodically tighten fasteners if necessary.
Iron outdoor furniture is prized for its classic style, upscale appearance and superior strength. It’s solid and very heavy, so it won’t budge in the face of a blustery wind. Iron is more expensive than other outdoor furniture options, and it’s especially susceptible to rust, so scratches and chips should be treated right away.
The gold standard for outdoor fabric is 100% solution-dyed acrylic — look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura. ‘Solution-dyed’ means the dye is added to the solution before the fiber is spun. Because of this, the color penetrates throughout the fiber, instead of only receiving a thin coat on the outside like lesser fabrics. Think of this as a carrot (color throughout) vs. a radish (color only on the outside edge).
Solution-dyed acrylic is more expensive than other outdoor fabrics, but also more durable. It’s water-repellant, stain- and fade-resistant and easier to clean. It can even tolerate bleach cleaning solutions.
Head to Homemakers for more patio furniture!
Properly maintaining your outdoor furniture is the best way to ensure it lasts. If you’re in the market for new patio furniture, stop in to speak with a specialist and receive expert, one-on-one advice and assistance.
Check out our Outdoor Living section for more on stylish patio furniture and outdoor entertainment!
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