The answer depends on the type of material your patio furniture is made of. Some materials, such as teak wood, aluminum, and synthetic rattan, can withstand winter weather and can be left outside year-round with proper care. However, natural rattan and wicker furniture should be covered or stored to prevent damage during freezing temperatures and snowfall.
If you enjoy spending time outdoors on your patio, you may be wondering how to protect your furniture from the harsh winter conditions. Leaving your patio furniture outside in the winter can cause it to deteriorate, fade, crack, or rust over time. However, not all patio furniture is equally vulnerable to the elements. Some types of furniture are more durable and resistant than others and can be left outside with minimal maintenance.
In this article, we will discuss the different types of patio furniture materials and their suitability for winter climates. We will also provide some tips and tricks on how to care for your patio furniture during the winter months, so you can enjoy it for many years to come.
Wood furniture is a popular choice for patio furniture because of its natural beauty and warmth. However, not all wood furniture is created equal. The type of wood determines its resistance to harsh winter weather.
Hardwoods such as teak and eucalyptus are more durable and can withstand cold temperatures, but require regular maintenance, such as sealing or oiling. These woods have a high oil content that makes them resistant to moisture, insects, and rot. They also have a natural silver-gray patina that develops over time and protects them from UV rays. However, if you prefer the original color of the wood, you will need to apply a teak oil or sealer every year to preserve it.
Softwoods like pine and cedar are less resistant to the elements and should be stored indoors during the winter to prevent warping, cracking, and decay. These woods are more porous and absorb more moisture, which can cause them to expand and contract with temperature changes. They also have a lower oil content and are more prone to insect damage and fungal growth. If you choose to leave them outside, you will need to apply a water-repellent finish or paint every year to protect them.
Wicker furniture is another attractive option for patio furniture because of its lightweight and airy design. However, wicker furniture can be made from natural materials like bamboo, rattan, and willow or synthetic materials like resin wicker. The type of material affects its durability and resistance to winter weather.
Natural wicker is susceptible to moisture and temperature changes and should be stored indoors during winter months. Exposure to snow, ice, and rain can cause natural wicker to swell, shrink, crack, or unravel. It can also fade and become brittle under UV rays. If you want to extend the life of your natural wicker furniture, you should cover it with a waterproof cover or store it in a dry and ventilated place.
Synthetic wicker, on the other hand, is more resistant to the elements and can be left outside if properly protected with waterproof covers. Synthetic wicker is made from plastic or resin fibers that are woven around a metal or aluminum frame. It is designed to mimic the look and feel of natural wicker, but with more durability and strength. It can withstand moisture, temperature fluctuations, and UV rays without fading, cracking, or rotting. However, it can still accumulate dirt and dust, so you should clean it regularly with mild soap and water.
Aluminum furniture is one of the best choices for patio furniture that can be left outside in the winter. Aluminum is a lightweight, rust-resistant, and highly durable metal that can endure any weather condition. It is also easy to clean and maintain, as it does not require any painting or sealing.
However, not all aluminum furniture is of the same quality. You should look for aluminum furniture that has a powder-coated finish, which adds an extra layer of protection and color to the metal. Powder coating is a process that involves spraying a dry powder onto the metal and then baking it in an oven to create a smooth and hard surface. This makes the aluminum furniture more resistant to scratches, chips, and corrosion.
You should also check for any welds or joints, as these can become susceptible to corrosion. To prevent this, you should apply a thin layer of car wax or silicone spray to the welds or joints every year. This will create a barrier against moisture and salt.
Plastic furniture is another option for patio furniture that can be left outside in the winter. Plastic furniture offers the advantage of being lightweight, budget-friendly, and weather-resistant. It can also come in a variety of colors and styles to suit your preference.
However, not all plastic furniture is of the same quality. High-quality plastic furniture is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is a durable and recyclable material that can withstand moisture, temperature changes, and UV rays. HDPE furniture is also easy to clean and does not require any painting or staining.
Low-quality plastic furniture, on the other hand, is made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is a cheaper and weaker material that can become brittle and crack in colder temperatures. LDPE furniture can also fade and warp under UV rays and can be difficult to clean. If you choose to leave LDPE furniture outside, you should cover it with a tarp or store it in a shed or garage.
Another thing to consider is that plastic furniture can be easily blown away by strong winds, so you should secure it with weights or tie it down to prevent it from flying away.
Wrought Iron Furniture
Wrought iron furniture is a classic and elegant choice for patio furniture that can add a touch of sophistication to your outdoor space. Wrought iron furniture is robust and durable, capable of withstanding winter conditions. It is also heavy and stable, so it won’t be easily knocked over by winds or animals.
However, wrought iron furniture is not immune to rust, which can damage its appearance and structure. Rust is caused by the reaction of iron with oxygen and water, which can occur when the furniture is exposed to rain, snow, or humidity. To prevent rust, you should apply a coat of rust-resistant paint or primer every year to seal the metal and protect it from moisture. You should also clean the furniture regularly with a mild soap and water to remove any dirt or dust that can trap moisture.
Another drawback of wrought iron furniture is that it can be uncomfortable to sit on, especially in cold weather. To make it more comfortable and cozy, you should add cushions or pillows that can also add some color and style to your patio. However, you should remember to bring the cushions or pillows inside during the winter, as they can become damp and promote mold and mildew growth.
As you can see, there is no definitive answer to the question of what patio furniture can be left outside in the winter. The answer depends on the type of material your patio furniture is made of and the specific winter conditions in your area. Some materials, such as teak wood, aluminum, and synthetic rattan, can withstand winter weather and can be left outside year-round with proper care. However, natural rattan and wicker furniture should be covered or stored to prevent damage during freezing temperatures and snowfall.
No matter what type of patio furniture you have, you should always take precautions to protect it from the elements, such as using furniture covers, sealing the surfaces, cleaning the furniture, and securing it from winds. By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your patio furniture stays in great condition, ready for use when the warmer months return.