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How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

In the fair weathered months, an extravagant outdoor getaway is an enviable asset to have. While shopping for the necessities to build the perfect outdoor oasis can be easy and fun, knowing the right way to care for your new outdoor set can be a little more challenging. Protecting your stylish new investment from water damage, elevated temperatures, and the scorching summer sun is easier than you think!

While most outdoor furniture features all weather materials like rust-free powder coated aluminum, UV-rated fabric and foam, and naturally rot-resistant wood, a little care and maintenance can really go a long way. Follow these helpful tips and tricks to keep your outdoor furniture looking fresh for several summers to come!

Use Outdoor Furniture Covers

First and foremost, opt for outdoor furniture coverings.

To ensure you're getting full coverage and protection against weather, look for ones made of highly durable materials; heavy-duty fabrics like Oxford polyester – a game-changer in our book – make it easy to keep your outdoor pieces looking like new for years to come (no matter the harsh weather or elements that come your way)!

Prepare For Fun in the Sun

Place a durable, fade-resistant outdoor rug underneath any furniture pieces. Using a natural, woven rug is sure to complete the look of any outdoor seating area while keeping the floor (and your furniture) cool, clean, and dry.

On hot days, keep friends – and furniture – cool by placing pieces in shady, covered spaces. Skip the sunburn and beat the heat by adding a lightweight, UV-rated umbrella.

When enjoying a meal al fresco, protect wood, metal, and glass tabletops by using eye-catching, printed placemats and tablecloths. Use cute coasters and trays to protect cocktail tables and bars from condensation on icy drinks and pitchers.

When It's Time to Head Inside

After you’ve enjoyed a sunny afternoon outdoors, take a few minutes to clean up and put pieces away. Next time setting up for a day of play outdoors will be a breeze and your future self will thank you!

Give lounge chairs and daybeds a good rinse with a garden hose to remove any sweat or sunscreen after use. Wipe down chairs and table tops with a clean soft cloth dampened with soapy water. Gently brush away any spills or stains with a little water and a soft brush. Remove any padding or cushions and set pieces out to dry.

Once the furniture has completely dried, top each piece with its corresponding waterproof cover and store in a cool, dry place.

Choosing the Best Material for Your Outdoor Furniture

Choosing the right material for your outdoor furniture can mean the difference between deterioration and durability. Here, we’ve laid out the most common material types found in outdoor furniture – and the benefits of each.

Outdoor Teak Furniture. Because of its high durability, teak is one of the most popular wood types for outdoor furniture. Compared to other woods, teak is distinctive because it produces its own natural oils, making it resistant to mold, mildew and overall deterioration. Similar varieties of hardwood include acacia and oak.

Outdoor Resin Wicker Furniture. Similar in appearance to rattan, resin wicker is a synthetic fiber designed specifically for use in the outdoors. Offering a natural look and feel – and little need for maintenance – resin wicker furniture is the perfect choice for creating a breezy patio or backyard ambience.

Outdoor Plastic Furniture. The sleek texture of plastic is highly sought-after for its incredible stain-, fade- and mildew-resistant properties. Plus, because it is easy to produce, plastic – along with eco-friendly recycled plastic – is also one of the most affordable options for outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Iron Furniture. Heavy, long-lasting and vintage-chic, iron furniture offers a versatile, classic elegance that goes with every style. Perhaps its only downside is its susceptibility to rust – but even that can be prevented with protective coatings and routine furniture maintenance.

Outdoor Aluminum Furniture. Aluminum offers the same durability, longevity and vintage-inspired aesthetic as iron, but for a fraction of the price. Because it is so light, though, aluminum furniture is often recommended in areas with little to no winds – especially if the piece is made entirely from 100% aluminum.

Best Material for Fighting Mildew

Many woods and fabrics are porous, meaning that once moisture is absorbed into them, it’s hard to get out. When left outdoors for a while, these wood types become susceptible to mildew and mold. Instead of taking a risk, worrying whether or not your outdoor furniture will harbor moisture and become a factory for mildew, opt for coated metal designs – which are not porous in the least, and from which water will literally bounce off. If you have your heart set on wood, though, go for teak, acacia and pine, which, as mentioned above, are more mildew-resistant thanks to their natural oil-production and low porosity.

In terms of fabric, most upholstery designed for the outdoors will feature woven polyester coated with PVC. This is also known as textilene fabric, and is water-resistant by design. Other types that stand well to moisture include cotton canvas, olefin and vinyl.

Choose one of these fabric options, and you’re good-to-go when it comes to mildew-resistance. But remember: many designs within the outdoor furniture industry are only -resistantand not -proof. To up your insurance, keep patio furniture covers on hand, and whip them out when the weather starts to humidify – or rain is on the way.

How to Keep Outdoor Furniture Clean

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this applies to outdoor furniture sets! The best way to keep a set clean is with furniture covers. As mentioned above, you can try polyester covers, but there are also types made of canvas and vinyl, both of which provide resistance to the elements. If you're worried about dust, sap, mud or even bird poop, use covers as a barrier for your furniture surfaces.

How to Protect Outdoor Cushions

For smaller pieces like cushions and throw pillows, protection comes from storage. When you're done using your outdoor space, be sure to move any smaller accessories into a contained bin, especially if the pieces are not weatherproof. Find outdoor furniture sets with built-in storage, like lift-top coffee tables, for a stylish way to protect your accessories. 

How to Secure Patio Furniture

One of the drawbacks of a front patio setup is that furniture and other expensive items are susceptible to theft. Ideally, you would place any new furniture in the backyard, but if you have your heart set on a welcoming porch leading to your front door, take extra steps to ensure it will be there tomorrow! For one, try a steel cable lock at night or when not in use. Another smart tactic is the security camera above the front door, which will catch any wrongful intentions in the act and, more importantly, serve as a "warning" and ward off any thieves from the start!

How to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture

If you've bought an outdoor furniture piece made of wood, you don't have to worry about protection as much, since anything "outdoor"-labelled is designed to resist elements. However, it's still important to cover wood when not in use. Covering outdoor wood furniture from direct sunlight and rain when not in use is a vital step in protecting outdoor furniture, as wood is still a porous material that expands and contracts in moisture and temperature changes.

If you're wondering about placing a wood piece not made for outdoors in a backyard or patio, make sure to keep it under an eave or extended roof. Consider taking any pieces not made for outdoors back inside during colder months, and always use a form of protection, whether a sealant directly on the wood or a canvas covering.

How to Protect Wicker Furniture

To protect resin wicker furniture, keep it covered from extreme heat and sunlight.

Whether placing wicker furniture indoors or outdoors, pay attention to nearby windows. Energy efficient windows can cause a glare that can sometimes become hot enough to melt resin wicker or burn fabric. Following these guidelines is especially critical for rattan and wicker, which is more delicate than wood and metal, but generally, if it's made for outdoors, it's already been treated for weather-resistance.

How to Protect Outdoor Furniture in Winter

During the colder months, when wind, rain and snow are making a mess of your backyard, it's more important than ever to take care of your outdoor furniture. The best thing you can do is remove any cushions and store them in an enclosed shed, garage or attic. This will help keep them safe from the harsh winter elements and ensure many years of use. As far as frames go, you'll want to use heavy-duty outdoor furniture covers. This will also address how to protect outdoor wood furniture from sun damage. By covering your outdoor furniture, you are blocking these pieces from potentially harmful conditions.

Best Weather-Resistant Patio Furniture + the Most Durable Outdoor Furniture Pieces

The best weather-resistant and most durable outdoor furniture pieces are outlined below. Click on any of the links to browse the customer reviews and product details, and you'll see exactly why we chose them for this list!

Most Durable Outdoor Furniture

Best Features: Rust-resistant - Powder-coated metal base
34"W x 34"D x 28"H
Why It's Durable: A combination of glass and concrete means this product will last for years . . and years . . . and years. Its large size and heavy-duty weight makes it durable and practical for daily use.
Best Features: Concrete - Heavy
17.72"W x 17.72"D x 19.63"H
Why It's Durable: All-concrete material means that this is one accent table that's not going to fly away with the wind. Bonus points go toward its simple color and smooth surface, which hides dirt well and makes it easy to clean, respectively.

Best Weather-Resistant Patio Furniture

Best Features: Rust-resistant - Powder-coated metal base
31"W x 31"D x 18"H
Why It's Durable: Oftentimes, wicker furniture is susceptible to trapping moisture in between its material layers (wicker is naturally full of tiny holes due to the weaving pattern). Not so with the Koro. Designed specifically for outdoors, it's material is treated for weather-resistance and, most importantly, mildew-resistance.
Best Features: Rust-resistant - Mildew-resistant
29.92"W x 25"D x 34.25"H
Why It's Durable: The Malaga's tropical hardwood naturally repels water, moisture and bugs. Whether in a humid climate or dry climate, this is one seat that will always be welcoming!

Best Outdoor Furniture for Rain

Best Features: Rust-resistant - Powder-coated metal base
31"W x 31"D x 18"H
Why It's Durable: Aside from the fact that it's made out of the most durable material, like, ever, the Concrete Round Accent Table is also a simple shape, making it easy to store or move out of the way of daily use (should you want or need to). Such portability helps all the more to contribute to a longer lifespan.
Best Features: Rust-resistant - Stackable
31.5"W x 31.5"D x 39.25"H
Why It's Durable: Let the rain fall as it may; the Caspian won't budge! Featuring rust-resistant, fade-resistant and easy-to-clean material base, the Caspian's design is the best kind of insurance policy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.