Although we’re in the final months of the year and thinking about indoor entertaining and cozy nights in front of the fireplace, it’s actually a good time of the year to talk about outdoor furniture. Specifically, how to choose outdoor furniture that will stand the test of time and weather, and how to properly store and protect it from the elements.
The winter months are ideal for outdoor furniture shopping because you can often find great deals since it’s off-season. And new outdoor furniture can give you something to look forward to come spring when you’re ready to spend time outside on your patio or in your yard.
Before you go outdoor furniture shopping, it’s a good idea to know what to look for when it comes to materials that will hold up year after year, through the hot Cincinnati summers and cold winters. You’ll want to choose furniture that is able to withstand both. Below, we’ve listed the best materials to choose from for outdoor furniture designed last.
Outdoor furniture crafted from wood is an ideal choice, and for good reason. It can elevate any design aesthetic, from contemporary to casual, in a natural and timeless way. When looking for wood outdoor furniture, consider purchasing items made from teak over any other type of wood.
Not only is teak beautiful thanks to its rich color, but it’s also extremely durable and can handle harsh weather well. Teak contains natural resin and a high oil content, so it’s less susceptible to dry rot and insect damage. And while teak furniture can cost a little more, it makes for a great investment, because it will last longer than furniture made from other types of wood.
Aluminum & Steel
If your prefer the look of metal, consider outdoor furniture made from aluminum or steel, two materials that are far more common (and practical) than wrought iron, which is heavy and prone to rust.
One the best things about outdoor furniture made from aluminum is that it’s extremely lightweight, so you can move it easily, and that comes in handy if you have guests often and need to adjust seating to suit the occasion. Aluminum is also very durable and can withstand rain and snow without rusting.
Another great thing about aluminum is that it can be constructed to fit any design, so you can find aluminum outdoor furniture in every style – from contemporary to classic.
Steel outdoor furniture is another great option, but with a caveat. Look for furniture made from stainless or galvanized steel and avoid straight steel, which is often very heavy (and expensive). Galvanized steel, on the other hand, contains zinc, which helps protect it from extreme heat, cold, and water.
Stainless steel contains chromium, and that, in turn, keeps outdoor furniture made from this material from rusting. It’s important to note that both stainless and galvanized steel are susceptible to corrosion if exposed to chlorine. So, if your outdoor furniture is going to be poolside, you’ll want to treat it with a powder finish.
There are a few good reasons to choose outdoor furniture made from synthetic resin. First, it’s very lightweight, and it’s also extremely durable and can stand up to all weather. Synthetic resin is a great choice if you like wicker rattan, but need something that’s long-lasting, because real wicker fades in the sun and over time will fall apart if exposed to hot and cold weather as well as rain and snow.
The best fabrics for outdoor furniture
Choose cushions and pillows that are made with polyurethane foam, which will not retain water. The best fabrics for the covers should be mildew and moisture protective as well as UV protective. Look for cushions made from brands like Sunbrella and Bella-Dura that are made specifically for outdoor use.
Storing your outdoor furniture
While most outdoor furniture can handle the colder Cincinnati winter months without sustaining any damage, we recommend, if possible, storing it someplace dry, like a shed, basement, or space in the garage.
If that’s not an option and you need to keep the furniture outside, first make sure to give it a good cleaning. Dirt and mud can cause mildew, and if you see any areas of your furniture that are rusting, make sure to treat it with a rust-neutralizing primer or silicone sealant.
Next, check with the manufacturer of your outdoor furniture for any storage tips. They may even have special covers available, if they didn’t already come with the furniture when you purchased it.
If needed, you could use a heavy tarp to cover your furniture. When going this route, stack chairs if possible, and make sure to cover the furniture completely and that it’s secure enough to withstand the wind. You can also find cushion storage bags and water resistant furniture covers online.
When you choose outdoor furniture made from quality materials and protect it from the elements, you can enjoy it for years to come.