Can You Leave Your Deck Furniture Out in the Rain?


After purchasing furniture for your outdoor space, especially expensive items, it can be scary to think of leaving them out in the elements. Can you leave outdoor furniture in the rain?

You can leave outdoor furniture in the rain, as long as you adequately protect each piece of furniture according to its type and material.

Even with this information, it can be tough to understand how furniture can be safe outdoors. You may be left with more questions. Therefore, we have divided the issue into three answerable questions to understand better why you can leave outdoor furniture in the rain:

  • How Rain Can Harm Furniture?
  • How to Protect Deck Furniture From the Rain?
  • Which Furniture Material Is Not impacted by Rain?

After studying the effects of a rain storm on the different types of furniture, we are prepared to help you effectively protect your belongings so that you are sure that you can leave outdoor furniture in the rain.

The average rainfall in FloridaOpens in a new tab. is 53.7 inches (1364mm). That’s a lot of rain on your beach deck.

In Calgary, where I build decks it only 17.7 inches (450mm) of preceptiationOpens in a new tab. which includes snow. We do both cold and wet and everything in between.

Over in New Jersey, where Premium OutDoor Living builds decks, they get between 40” and 51” (1016-1295mm) depending on how close to the coast your deck is.

As you see the spread is big of how much rain will fall on your outdoor furniture but where ever you live they will get wet. The one exception may be if you live in Arica, in northern Chile, where their average rainfall is 0.02 inchesOpens in a new tab. (0.5mm). I don’t even know how to measure that on my tape.

But for the rest of us, one thing is for sure: you must plan for the eventuality of rain falling on your outdoor furniture.

How Rain Can Harm Furniture?

In order to be sure that you can leave your outdoor furniture in the rain, it is useful to acknowledge some of the ways rain can harm your furniture. This way, protecting the items in your yard will come more easily to you. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the information surrounding the various types of furniture that the rain can harm without the proper protection.

Rust

Rust is a harmful effect that rain produces mainly in metal. Though wood and plastic are not affected by the rain in terms of rusting, metal is susceptible. 

When it rains, most metals that get wet suffer from the iron particles exposed to oxygen and moisture. The problem is that this causes iron particles to be erased by the water’s acidic electrolytes. The result is what we know as rusting, harmful corrosion of the material. And ugly with the rust stain running down the leg of your favourite chair.

The effects of rust on metal vary depending on the type of metal furniture you have, but it is never good!

Iron furniture, for example, maybe an ideal choice because of its weight. Won’t blow around in the wind and is strong. However, the rust that can eat away at a piece of iron compromises its structural integrity and, let’s face it, looks gross.

If rust gnaws away at a piece of furniture for long enough, it will need to be replaced. This is costly, not to mention annoying. Be sure to consider the risks of purchasing metal furniture if you know that piece will be out in the rain, or invest in proper protection from the elements.

If this has already happened and you now have a rust stain on your once beautiful composite deck. There are some common household products that remove rust stains from composite deckingOpens in a new tab.. Click th e link to learn what.

Mould

Mould is a type of organism that is found growing on outdoor furniture which has been exposed to moisture. If you notice green, brown, yellow, black, gray, or white discoloration on your furniture, assume it is mould. 

Mould is a problem because not only does it look unappealing, but it can actually harm visitors to your outdoor furniture space. Mould has been known to cause breathing issues, allergic reactions, and headaches. Let’s look at the ways mould can affect different furniture. 

Mould can grow into the fibres of most untreated woods, such as teak and white oak. It can also be found on plastic furniture, despite popular belief. It may not break down plastic easily, but it can grow and stay in an area made moist by the rain. 

Cushions of chairs are most susceptible to mould growth. Needing the most protection from rain and care to prevent your cushions from becoming less than ideal on your deck.

If you discovered mould on your outdoor furniture, here are ways to remove itOpens in a new tab..

How to Protect Deck Furniture From the Rain?

Now that you can recognize exactly how the rain can harm your outdoor furniture let’s look at some solutions. It is not a hopeless cause, as there are many ways that outdoor furniture can be protectedOpens in a new tab. from the rain if you understand the best methods.

How to Protect Wood Furniture:

Wood furniture can be protected from mould by mixing one cup of ammonia, half a cup of white vinegar and one-fourth of a cup of baking soda with a gallon of hot water. Then, carefully treat the wood with this. Furniture covers are a great option to be sure that rain cannot harm the wood through a mold.

Wooden furniture can also be saved from fading by either drying the furniture quickly after it rains, or, in the case of lost causes, simply painting the furniture. 

Like your decking, a quality stain and sealer will repel the water from the wood. Preventing the wood from absorbing the water and being damaged.

How to Protect Metal Furniture:

Metal furniture is most susceptible to rain because of the opportunity that moisture gives to rust. However, this doesn’t mean it is immune to mould growth.

Metal furniture can be protected most simply by covering it with furniture coverings. However, there are protective coatings that can be placed on iron furniture to keep rust away. Like Rust-Oleum 224284 Stops Rust InhibitorOpens in a new tab., which protects against rust on metal patio furniture. Click the link to check out the price on Amazon.

How to Protect Plastic Furniture

As is the case with wooden and metal furniture, the best way to protect plastic pieces from rainy weather is by utilizing a cover or awning so that they don’t get rained on in the first place.

However, if this is not possible, protecting plastic furniture is still an option. You can purchase a water-repellant spray (Star brite 59032 Outdoor Furniture Protectant SprayOpens in a new tab.) and use an ordinary garden hose to hose down your plastic furniture. It may seem counter-productive, but it will actually protect your furniture in the long run!

Though covers are the most useful way to protect furnitureOpens in a new tab. from the rain, they are not the only solution. The main rule when it comes to protecting outdoor furniture from rain is to prevent the items from getting wet and staying wet!

Which Furniture Material Is Not impacted by Rain?

Another way to prevent your deck furniture from being damaged by rain is buy furniture made from material that will not be damaged by rain and moisture.

Here are just a few furniture materials that will not be damaged by rain.

Aluminum doesn’t rust,Opens in a new tab. which is a good option to enjoy the look of metal without the risk of rust destroying it.  

Aluminum can corriod from moisture so care still needs to be taken to limit the amount of water on your furniture. Make sure they can dry out soon after the rain. Not rain, but salt water is nasty for aluminum. If near the ocean, clean off the slat regularly.  

Polywood or Composite deck furniture is resistant to rust and water. So by having composite furniture, you get to enjoy the look of “wood” furniture without requiring the same level of protection. You can leave it out in the rain just like your deck and it would be damaged.

The fabric on your deck furniture chose cushions made with SunbrellaOpens in a new tab. is similar material which is mould resistant. A little word of caution with fabric on your deck. Often its not the actual material that the mould grows on but the dirt on the cushions. Regular cleaning will prevent mould growth.

Summary

Outdoor furniture is an investment; more often than not, it is no cheap investment. The worst outcome of preparing an outdoor living space would be seeing it spoiled or otherwise ruined by like rain. 

Luckily, with the proper care and understanding of your outdoor furniture, you can be prepared. Once furniture is protected in a way that is beneficial to the type of material it is made of, you can be sure that you can leave outdoor furniture in the rain.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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