While the summer sun may burn brightly in places, it won’t last forever. Soon will come the time to make preparations for the changing seasons, leaving many homeowners with an important dilemma: What type of patio furniture can be left outside in the winter?
Technically, you can leave any patio furniture outside during winter with the proper coverings. Nonetheless, certain types of wood and aluminum will fare much better than others. You can leave some types of steel and wicker furniture outside in winter, but the cold and wet may cause some damage.
Fortunately, we’ve done our part to delve deeper into the specifics so that you won’t have to!
Below you’ll find an in-depth discussion on:
- How to effectively weatherproof your patio furniture.
- Which types of metal do best outside in winter.
- The most weather-resistant wicker furniture.
- Which wooden furniture is most winter-proof.
How to Weatherproof Your Patio Furniture
Not all outdoor furniture is ready to be left outside in winter. This can make spring really disappointing when you go out on your deck to enjoy the sun and realize all your furniture has deteriorated over the winter months.
The following steps will aid you in winterizing your furniture, regardless of the furniture’s materials.
- Store all cushions indoors, leaving only the frames outside.
- Wash all removable cushion covers before storing them in your garage or storage unit.
- Thoroughly clean anything left outside before covering it for the season.
- Cover with appropriately sized furniture covers.
- Use heavy-duty tarps for anything too bulky or oddly shaped for your covers.
There remains one downside. Even after taking the above precautions, you may still find yourself removing rust and repainting damaged furniture following a particularly nasty winter. If able, you’ll want to reduce this risk by ensuring any furniture frames left outside can withstand the weather as well as possible. This means paying attention to materials.
Leaving Metal Outside in the Winter
Patio furniture made of steel or aluminum passes the durability test in most regards. In the winter, however, increased moisture levels may lead to rust and degradation. Fortunately, the right metal selections can offset these risks.
For best results, you’ll want to try aluminum. While it may seem generally weaker than steel, aluminum becomes the far better choice in cold, wet weather because the metal doesn’t rust. When exposed to potentially harmful water molecules, aluminum actually reacts on an atomic level to resist corrosion.
Steel may pose more significant problems. The metal contains iron, well-known to be so reactive to temperature changes that the Eiffel Tower changes size throughout the year.
Naturally, most manufacturers take this into account. You can still minimize weather-related damages by purchasing galvanized, stainless, or powder-coated steel furniture.
It would still be wise to cover your frames before the cold fronts hit, but at least these options will limit the amount of rust removal required once winter subsides.
Can Wicker Be Left Outside in Winter?
I used to think that wicker was the type of material used for patio furniture. But nope, was I wrong.
Rather, wicker furniture comprises any furniture made with a particular weaving style.
Think style, not material.
This means you cannot assess your wicker’s weather resistance without finding out what the wicker made off.
Wicker patio furniture made of natural materials such as bamboo may mould as moisture levels rise. Overall natural wicker is not as durable as synthetic wicker.
But even among synthetic wicker materials, there are different levels of durability.
Types of Resin (Synthetic) Wicker
- PVC Wicker
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker
The most durable of these is HDPE wicker. It is more durable on your deck both in the winter and summer when you get to enjoy it.
To learn more about the types of resin wicker and durability. Click the link to Patio Production’s complete article.
All of these materials share a common concern its lightweight construction. Wicker can easily blow away or get knocked over during heavy winds. To effectively leave it outside, you’ll need to weigh it down in addition to covering it properly. To protect its resin finish, you must polish it before covering it.
Note that some wicker patio furniture contains an iron frame. This will save you the trouble of weighing it down but may expose your furniture to rust and weakening. Increasing the importance of proper covering to prevent damage of the iron in winter.
Prevention is key as cleaning rust off later can be difficult with the wicker surrounding the frame.
Winter-Resistant Wooden Furniture
Manufacturers will treat most wooden furniture for weather resistance. However, if truly concerned with what type of patio furniture can be left outside in the winter, you should still consider the various pros and cons of different wood types.
Teak patio furniture will lighten your pocketbook, but in return, you’ll take home some of the most durable furniture available. Given its use in boat manufacturing, it is no surprise that teak withstands both wet and cold weather with minimal problems.
Similarly, cedar, redwood, and white oak also are durable in winter.
On the other hand, Mahogany proves far less durable when exposed to inclement weather or extreme temperatures.
In the end, however, no wood will survive multiple winters if not properly maintained. Do your part to maintain the wood’s finish, or even the most durable wooden patio furniture will eventually succumb to the snowy seasons.
If you want to do less work to winterize your patio furniture, try opting for aluminum, polyethylene, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), teak or other weather-resistant wood types.
Treated steel is also a viable choice with just a bit more maintenance.
Meanwhile, mahogany and PVC rank among the worst options for winter-resistant patio furniture.
Remember, however, that any patio furniture can technically survive the winter if you do your part to uphold its maintenance. Covering being the most important part of winter care.
Stay frosty, and you’ll have no problem making it through the wintry season with your patio fully intact.