8 ways to make outdoor furniture last

July 29, 2015

Ultraviolet radiation (UV), light, moisture, intense heat and cold all conspire to shorten the life of outdoor furniture. But with a little extra care, you'll avoid finding yourself at the nearest home-improvement centre every few years, open wallet in hand. Here are eight tips to prolong the life of your outdoor furniture.

8 ways to make outdoor furniture last

1. Store outdoor pieces in a shed

To keep your outdoor furniture pieces looking great year after year, be sure to store them indoors at season's end.

  • If you don't want to lug them all to the basement and don't have a shed, there are many inexpensive vinyl storage containers available at home centres.
  • Some come in the shape of lockers and can be placed on the deck. Others look like small sheds.

2. Cover chairs and tables

  • In addition to keeping expensive furniture looking good, the covers are worth the effort because they reduce the need to clean pollen, dust and bird droppings off your furniture.
  • For better-quality outdoor furniture items, opt for vinyl patio furniture covers. Made to fit common furniture and grill sizes, these covers are waterproof and treated to protect furniture against UV rays.

3. Add life to canvas

Canvas on canvas-covered furniture, usually made from tightly woven, heavy cotton thread, will last many years if you provide it with minimal care.

  • Avoid leaving it out in the rain. If it does get wet, allow it to dry thoroughly in the sun.
  • Remove mildew by scrubbing with a stiff brush and detergent. Rinse the canvas afterwards and dry thoroughly.
  • For maximum protection, treat both cotton and synthetic canvas with a silicone-based water repellent, which is available from boating supply companies and home improvement centres.

4. Scrub patio umbrellas

Give your patio umbrella a little maintenance when you take it out in the spring. It will reward you by looking great and lasting longer.

  • Wash the cover with mild soap, a soft-bristle brush and cold water.
  • If the frame is metal, spritz the joints with a suitable spray lubricant. If it is wood, renew the shine with paste wax.

5. Use a towel over vinyl

Furniture with vinyl straps is popular for poolside use because the vinyl is waterproof. The problem? Those vinyl straps are porous.

  • If the pores become clogged with body oil or suntan lotion, they become an ideal environment for mildew and fungi. What's more, allow the straps to become stained and they're nearly impossible to clean.

The solution? It's simple.

  • If you are wearing a bathing suit, place a towel on the vinyl before you sit down. You'll prolong the life of the chairs by years.

6. Buy light-coloured furniture

When choosing a colour for vinyl-strap or resin furniture, remember that the darker the colour, the hotter it will get and the sooner the colour will fade.

  • Stick with white and pastel colours, if possible.

7. Paint resin furniture

After a few seasons, plastic resin furniture gets discoloured and dingy, especially if it's a darker colour. The stains can be very difficult to remove.

  • To make discoloured furniture look brand-new, you can apply spray paint designed specifically to bond with plastic resin furniture. Simply follow the manufacturer's directions to prepare the resin surfaces for the paint.

8. Tuck benches under picnic tables

Don't have room to store your picnic table and benches indoors during winter?

  • Just tuck the benches under the table. Put a few wood blocks on top of the table to let the air circulate and cover everything with a tarp or sheet of plastic
  • Be sure you anchor your tarp to keep it from blowing away.

You'll extend the life of furniture by years with just a few minutes' work.

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