6 ways to care for 4 kinds of patio furniture

June 30, 2015

Having beautiful and durable patio furniture means not only buying the right set for your needs, but also maintaining it.

6 ways to care for 4 kinds of patio furniture

What to consider when buying patio furniture

Garden furniture is made from a variety of materials, from bent twigs to wrought iron. Consider the pros and cons of each before making a selection.

1. Wicker and rattan furniture

Wicker and rattan furniture has a traditional look and modest cost, but it's susceptible to mildew and requires protection from weather and indoor storage in the winter.

2. Metal

Metal is durable but cold to the touch and usually needs cushions. Steel and iron are expensive and can rust; aluminum is rust-free and cheaper.

3. Resin

Resin is used for inexpensive, lightweight, often stackable furniture. It's casual, available in many colours and easily cleaned with soap and water.

4. Wood furniture

Wood furniture comes in numerous styles.

  • Weather-resistant hardwood can be left untreated; it's low maintenance and durable but costly.
  • Regular and pressure-treated wood are inexpensive but need regular painting or staining.
  • Tropical hardwoods are another option, if you can be sure the wood is plantation grown and not cut from old-growth forests.
  • Let rot-resistant hardwoods weather to a silvery grey or apply oil or stain annually to maintain their original appearance.

Caring for your patio furniture

Nothing beats relaxing on the patio or under a shady tree in a comfortable chair, but your favourite furniture won't be attractive for long if you don't take care of it.

Follow these six tips for years of service from your outdoor furniture.

1. Spruce it up

Spruce up metal chairs and tables by scraping off rust or chipped paint with sandpaper or a wire brush and smooth the metal with steel wool.

  • Rinse well and let dry before painting.
  • To save time, choose a metal paint that doesn't require a primer.

2. Sponge, don't brush

Painting an intricate metal design can take hours.

  • Speed the process by dabbing on paint with a clean kitchen sponge instead of painting with a brush.

3. Make a perfect match

  • For a perfect match, paint wood furniture with leftover paint from your house.

This way, even a ragtag assortment of Muskoka chairs will look like a matched set.

4. Choose the right fabric for cushions

The best fabric for cushions is vinyl-coated polyester, which resists stains, dries quickly and is easy to clean with soap and water.

Treat mildew with a solution of 250 millilitres (one cup) each of laundry detergent and bleach mixed with 11 litres (three gallons) of water. Rinse well and let the cushions dry in the sun.

5. Don't lose the lustre

  • Maintain the lustre of aluminum furniture by applying a coat of liquid wax at the beginning of the season.
  • Wipe it down with soapy water occasionally and remove any stains with a light liquid abrasive.

6. Revive wicker

If your wicker furniture begins to dry out, refresh it with water. Spray it with a garden hose or moisten towels with warm water, wring them out and lay them over the pieces for an hour or so.

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