Winter Storage Tips to Preserve Your Outdoor Patio Furniture

Chair Care Blog

Temperatures are dropping and chances are, most New Englanders are not planning on spending much more time relaxing outdoors in their patio furniture. This means one of two things: it’s either time to move your furniture into storage, or it’s time to cover up your furniture with a tarp for protection from the harsh winter elements.

If you plan to take these measures to protect and preserve the life of your outdoor furniture, it’s a good idea to take the extra step to clean and repair your furniture first before packing it away.  Michael Chotiner explains the best way to go about winter storage preparation for cushions, fabrics, and metal furniture in his blog sparefoot.com below: 

Cushions and other fabrics:

  • If the cushions have removable covers, take them off and launder them, with a little bleach if the label allows, to kill mildew.
  • Restore the dry covers to the cushions and stack loosely in a clean, dry space off the floor. If storing in an outdoor shed, you might want to cover the stack with a cloth tarp, not a plastic one.
  • Wash umbrella fabric with brush and mild detergent. Let dry in open position, and lubricate switches, locks and pivots. Store in closed position.

Metal Furniture:

  • Wash all surfaces with water and detergent; scrub with a brush and rinse with a hose.
  • Inspect all surfaces for rust or other oxidation. If you find any, treat the area with a rust-neutralizing primer. Smooth the treated area if necessary with steel wool, then apply spray paint of a color that closely matches the original finish.
  • Apply a thin protective coat of car wax to all surfaces and buff.”

If you have any questions about cleaning, have cushions or fabrics in need of repair, or metal furniture that needs professional sandblasting and powder coating, consult Chair Care for a free estimate at chaircareinfo@aol.com or click here.

Basic Care and Maintenance for Your Outdoor Patio Furniture

The plastic components of outdoor furniture — vinyl straps, plastic pegs, and mesh slings —will typically last about 10 years. In the meantime, the easiest way to keep outdoor furniture looking good is to give it a quick scrubdown with mild dish soap, followed by a water rinse. In addition, each material has its own particular needs.

Straps and Slings
Both are made of vinyl, which suntan oil stains, sunlight fades, 

Casual Clean Outdoor Furniture Cleaner

and dirt and mildew stick to like magnets. A spritz with a multipurpose outdoor furniture cleaner such as Casual Clean®, which can be purchased directly from Chair Care, or a mild all- purpose cleaner like Fantastik or Formula 409 and a swipe with a cloth is the best way to remove grime. Never use abrasives, bleach, or ammonia, all of which strip vinyl of its UV protection. Exposure to pesticides and fertilizers does the same thing. Encourage sunbathers to cover chairs with a towel.

Storage
The best place for furniture in the winter is a dry spot indoors. If it must remain outdoors, wrap each piece in a breathable vinyl cover (available at outdoor-furniture distributors) that doesn't touch the ground. That way, moisture can escape, preventing mildew and rust.

4 Reasons to Powder Coat Your Metal Patio Furniture

Powder Coating is the process of applying paint as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a “skin”, resulting in a uniform, durable, aesthetically pleasing finish. Powder Coating is mainly used for coating of metals across a variety of applications including outdoor patio furniture, ornamental iron railings, industrial equipment, medical equipment, automotive and motorcycle, marine equipment and more.  

Powder Coat Truck Bumper - Chair Care
Powder Coating a truck bumper at Chair Care Company in New Haven, CT.

Benefits of Powder Coating

Aesthics: Powder coating finishes are available in many colors and textures that are perfect for outdoor patio furniture. Color selection is virtually unlimited with flat, satin, gloss, high gloss, metallic, clear, and many other finishes available. Texture selections range from smooth surfaces to wrinkled or matte finishes, and rough textures. The wide selection of Powder Coat finishes allows for easy coordination with hundreds of sling fabric, strapping, and outdoor cushions.

Durability: Powder coated finishes are typically more durable than liquid paint application and are highly resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing. Powder coated finish colors stay bright and vibrant longer compared to other finishing methods.

Environmentally Friendly: Powder Coating is highly protective of our environment. Liquid finishes contain solvents which have pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and powder coating contains no solvents and release negligible amounts, if any.

Cost-Effective: Metal frame refinishing allows you to completely update your high end patio furniture for a fraction of the cost. There are also no disposal or replacement costs of your old furniture.

If you’re interested in powder coating your outdoor furniture, get in touch with the furniture restoration experts at the Chair Care Company at 203-469-1777 or REQUEST A FREE QUOTE.  

You can also browse through a sample selection of our powder coat finish colors and textures on our website.

More Than Meets the Eye – Choosing the Right Outdoor Patio Furniture to Fit Your Lifestyle

Understand the pros and cons of each material and how they relate to important lifestyle factors.

When it comes to picking out your outdoor patio furniture, it’s important not to place all your emphasis on aesthetics. There are a variety of patio furniture materials out there each with it’s pros and cons. Make sure to do your homework ahead of time and make a purchase that best suits your lifestyle and needs to get the most value out of your investment. 

Comfort, weather conditions, storage, durability/upkeep, and cost are all important factors to consider when selecting your outdoor patio furniture. Most outdoor patio furniture is made from metal, wood, plastic, synthetic resin, and natural wicker.

METAL PATIO FURNITURE 

Chair Care Metal Frame Refinishing

Metal patio furniture typically consists of wrought iron, aluminum, and steel. The cost of each metal type can vary significantly.  Metal patio furniture is extremely durable and most are easy to clean and maintain. Wrought iron patio furniture is heavy and more susceptible to rust so it does requires the most maintenance of the three common metals, making aluminum and steel more popular choices.  Aluminum is lightweight and durable, and less prone to rust. Steel is the strongest material of the three, but is also the heaviest and most expensive. Galvanized or stainless steel are the best options for outdoor furniture, as regular steel rusts and corrodes very easily when exposed to outside elements.

Lifestyle Factors

Weather: Steel or wrought iron are ideal for windy conditions due to their heavy weight. Aluminum is ideal for rainy conditions since it does not rust like wrought iron or steel. If you live somewhere hot and sunny, metal patio furniture in general can also get very hot in the sun so it’s recommended that you purchase cushions for your metal chairs if you anticipate frequent use.

Comfort:  Metal patio furniture is not as comfortable as some of the more ‘flexible’ materials but a simple remedy to that is to purchase a nice set of cushions to line your chairs and benches.

Storage:  Due to the high durability, metal patio furniture can be left out year round. Metal patio furniture is not a good option for stacking furniture to save space when not in use.

Durability/Upkeep: Metal patio furniture can last for a long time and require little upkeep. Metal patio furniture should be coated with a protective powder coat finish. If rust should occur, metal patio furniture can be sandblasted and repainted to look like new.

Cost: Expensive.

WOOD PATIO FURNITURE 

Teak Patio Set

Common wood patio furniture is typically made of teak, pine or cedar. Wood patio furniture doesn’t absorb heat and is very durable. Teak is the most common choice for wood patio furniture due to its ability to withstand harsh environments. The oil in Teak make it more resistant to insects and prevent the wood from dry rot compared to pine or cedar. Cedar and pine are light-color softwoods that age to silvery gray unless you paint or seal them. Both cedar and pressure-treated pine last for years outdoors. Cedar is typically more expensive than pressure-treated lumber.

Lifestyle Factors

Weather: Wood patio furniture is an excellent option for windy locations due to it’s weight, however it is a difficult option in humid and wet environments since it is vulnerable to mold, mildew and rot. If you live somewhere with lots of sunshine, wood might not be the best choice since it has a tendency to fade.

Comfort: Wood patio furniture is fairly comfortable with or without cushions

Storage: Cedar and pressure treated pine need to be stored indoors during the winter in order to withstand harsh conditions.

Durability/Upkeep: Teak can last for up to 50 years, but it does require some intensive upkeep. Cedar and pressure treated pine are also durable, but they need to be treated, painted, or sealed.

Cost: Expensive.

PLASTIC PATIO FURNITURE

Plastic Patio Furniture

Molded plastic is smooth and offers a variety of shape and color options and is very light weight. Plastic furniture has a reputation for being flimsy, but new technology uses high-density polyethylene making the plastic furniture much more durable. 

Lifestyle Factors

Weather: Plastic patio furniture is not ideal for windy conditions due to the light weight.  Plastic patio furniture is an excellent option for rainy conditions and can get get hot in direct sun.

Comfort: Plastic patio furniture is a great option when comfort is a deciding factor.

Storage: Typically a better choice since plastic chairs are lightweight, easy to move, and often stackable.

Durability/Upkeep: Plastic chairs tend to crack, fade, and weaken in spots quickly.

Cost: Inexpensive, however typically don’t last as long which should be taken into consideration.

SYNTHETIC RESIN PATIO FURNITURE

Synthetic Resin Wicker

 Synthetic resin is a great outdoor material due to its light weight, low maintenance, and durability. Traditional synthetic resin outdoor furniture is typically woven in a wicker style for the classic outdoor look. The synthetic materials most commonly used to make synthetic resin wicker are nylon, polyethylene, HDPE, (high density polyethylene) wicker, and PVC wicker. Most synthetic resin furniture is constructed on an aluminum frame.

Lifestyle Factors

Weather: Synthetic resin patio furniture can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Comfort: Synthetic resin patio furniture is a great option when comfort is a deciding factor.

Storage: Synthetic resin patio furniture is easily stored since it is lightweight and easy to move.

Durability/Upkeep: Plastic resin requires little to no upkeep and it durable against harsh weather conditions.

Cost: Expensive (slightly less expensive than natural wicker)

WICKER PATIO FURNITURE 

traditional-wicker

Natural Wicker patio furniture is comfortable and lightweight, however does fade easily and isn’t as durable as other materials. Wicker is not an actual material but is a style of weaving, dating back thousands of years. Natural wicker furniture can be comprised of a few different types of natural fibers, including bamboo, cane, straw, reeds and branches, and grasses. These materials are woven together in the wicker pattern. Most wicker patio furniture is made of resin wicker, which is a long lasting synthetic material very similar to plastic. 

Lifestyle Factors

Weather: Natural Wicker patio furniture is not a great option for high wind conditions, rain, or any other harsh weather.

Comfort: Natural wicker rates high on the comfort scale, with or without cushions.

Storage: It’s best to use and keep natural wicker items indoors or use a protective cover during inclement weather.

Durability/Upkeep: Wicker becomes dry and brittle over time, which can cause cracking and unraveling of the woven product. It is also susceptible to fading and cannot handle harsh weather or bug infestation.

Cost: Expensive

NOW SIT BACK, RELAX AND ENJOY!

No outdoor patio furniture material is ‘better’ than another, but surely one is better suited for you and your lifestyle. Purchasing patio furniture should be looked at as an investment and you ultimately want to make sure you are getting the most value for your dollar. If you live in a small condo with lack of storage and an uncovered deck, you most likely want to stay away from materials that need to be stored during the winter months.  If you are looking for a set it and forget patio set, you will most likely want to stay away from something that requires cleaning and maintenance. If you live in an area with high winds, you will want to keep your furniture grounded and opt for the heavier materials.  Do your research so that you can make an informed decision that is not basely solely on aesthetics and then sit back, relax and enjoy!

DIY: How to Replace Vinyl Straps on Your Patio Chairs

1.  Order New Straps

Step One: Order New Straps for Vinyl Replacement

Measure the frame: For a single-wrap strap (one with exposed plastic pegs or metal clips), measure across the frame from hole to hole with a cloth tape measure wrapping around the outside of the frame. A double-wrap strap (shown below) covers the fasteners. Start at one hole, loop the tape measures fully around the frame, then pull to the opposite hole and repeat.

Order parts: Buy enough straps and pegs to redo the entire piece. (Metal clips can be reused.) The supplier will cut each strap to length and punch a hole for pegs or attach edge clips on both ends.

Slice through all the old straps with a utility knife and pop the pegs or clips out of the frame with a screwdriver. This is the best time to retouch or repaint your frame. Go to Frame Touch-Up Techniques for how-to and tips.

2.  Attach the Strap

Step Two: Attach the Strap

Make the straps flexible by soaking them in hot (not boiling) water; never use a hair dryer or heat gun. Attach the strap end by pushing a peg through its hole and into the hole on the back of the frame.

3. Wrap the Strap Around the Frame

Step Three: Wrap the Strap Around the Frame

With the peg seated firmly, wrap the strap all the way around the frame, covering the peg. (For a single wrap, simply go halfway around the frame and pull to the opposite side.)

4. Stretch the Strap to the Other Side

Step Four: Stretch the strap to the other side

Grab the strap near its middle and stretch it to the opposite side of the frame. Hold it tight against this side with one hand; use the other to loosely wrap the strap's free end around the frame 1½ times.

5. Secure the Strap

Step Five: Secure the Strap

Keep tension on the strap as you push a peg through the free end and into its hole. Slide the loop up over the peg with your thumb, then let go of the strap. It will tighten as it cools. Repeat this process for all straps.

Chair Care - Restored Vinyl & Fabric Chairs

DIY: How to Replace the Mesh Slings on Your Patio Chairs

1.  Order a New Sling

Before you get started, you have to measure your chairs and order replacement sling. To find width, measure from the center of one rail to the center of the opposite rail at the bolt locations typically found at the top and bottom of the sling. To find length, lay a cloth tape measure along the top face of one rail so it follows the rail's curvature.

2.  Cut the Old Sling

Step Two: Cut the Old Sling

Slash the old sling down the middle with a utility knife. (A damaged sling cannot be saved.) Remove the end cap on each side rail.

3. Remove the Old Sling

Step Three: Remove Old Slings

Slide the two halves of the sling out of their tracks in the chair's rails. Loosen but don't remove the bolts that attach the rails to the chair frame, then pop out the spreader bar. This is the best time to retouch or repaint your frame. Go to Frame Touch-Up Techniques for how-to and tips.

4. Slide the New Sling On

Step Four: Slide on the New Sling

Remove one rail entirely. Hold the sling with its hem side to the back and slide its nylon rod into the track of the rail that's still attached to the chair frame.

5. Secure the New Sling

Step Five: Secure the New Sling

Slide the detached rail over the sling's other nylon rod. Bolt this rail back on the frame. Tighten the loose bolts on the opposite rail to make the sling taut.

6. Reattach the Spreader Bar

Step Six: Reattach the Spreader Bar

Reinsert the spreader bar. Use a pipe clamp to spread the rails slightly; if need be, bend the bar a bit to make it fit, then hit it with a rubber mallet to restore its shape.

7. Trim the Rods

Step Seven: Trim the Rods

With a wire cutter, trim each rod flush with the end of the rail. Push the end caps back on the rails.

Chair Care LLC makes custom sling replacements for your patio chairs. We will guide you through taking the proper measurements of your patio chairs and then create new slings in one or more of our 200 fabrics & colors to match your patio decor.  If you think the job is too big to install at home, Chair Care will pick up your chairs, install onsite at our shop, and deliver right back to you looking brand new.  Custom slings made and installed at Chair Care's location are guaranteed to fit perfectly. We also install factory direct slings.  CLICK HERE to contact us today for a free quote! 

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