When the weather turns, it is crucial to think about what you are going to do with your garden furniture. If you just leave it to the elements, then it might be useless when summer rolls around again. For protecting your furniture during the winter months, you have two main options. You either put the furniture into storage or you cover it so that it can stay outside.
Whichever route you pick there are some general steps you should take that will help to ensure the long life of your furniture.
The first thing you should do is clean off your furniture. You might think that since you’re not going to be using it, it doesn’t matter if it’s dirty. However, leaving it dirty over the winter can lead to damage to the structure of the furniture. It also means you have to start the summer with a big clean, rather than a little wipe down!
If you have cushions, they will need to come off and be stored indoors. It’s a good chance to give them a proper wash as well. If you can, give them a run through the washing machine. If you have a parasol wipe it down with a sponge. Once it has air dried then you can bring it in.
There are no life hacks about storing furniture indoors. You will either have space or you won’t. It is the best option to protect your furniture, especially if you have custom made garden furniture. The next time you have a clear out in your garage or outbuildings you might want to do so with a view to making a designated storage space for your garden furniture.
Just remember to stack your furniture so that there is some airflow as this will prevent the growth of mould. Also, make sure your furniture is fully dry before you stack it away.
If you are storing your furniture outside, then you should invest in some furniture covers. Waterproof ones will be most effective. If you can get hold of individual covers for each piece this will help as well. A single cover for your whole set will work, but you will need to take more care to ensure it is fitted properly and secured in place.
The wind can blow your covers off so make sure that they are well tied on. To help with this you should find a sheltered place to store your furniture. Shelter from the rain would be ideal, but out of the wind would really help you. It would be best if you also tried to find an area that has a solid surface to rest the furniture on. It is wise to avoid leaving furniture on grass.
Different materials will need some special care steps.
Timber – You can buy specific wood cleaners or just give it a wipe down with soapy water. Once the wood has dried consider applying a coat of stain. Staining the wood at this time of year gives it the best chance to soak in and provide protection. You can stop at this point if you want your furniture to get a little weathered. Otherwise, apply a coat of sealer.
Iron/Steel – You really should try to keep furniture made of these materials indoors. They easily succumb to rust and corrosion. You can clean these pieces with soapy water and a stiff brush. Just make sure they are fully dry before you store them for the winter. While you are cleaning up, keep an eye out for any signs of rust. This is your chance to act on it before it becomes too bad.
Aluminium – This is pretty durable stuff. You don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion too much. To wash, you can spray with the garden hose. Soapy water is probably all you need for any stubborn spots. If you want to be sure that your furniture will be looking its best you can use a thin layer of turtle wax to really keep any unwanted moisture out.
If your furniture is staying outside during the winter, it is worth checking it over every now and then. If there are any periods of heavy snow or rain you may need to check that your covers are still in place. You might need to remove any snow or water that is laying on top, if it begins to accumulate. If it’s a windy winter remember to check if dirt or leaves are building up underneath the furniture. Pile of leaves and dirt can let moisture into your furniture which can lead to damage.