Protecting Your Patio Furniture From The Sun, Rain, And Other Elements

Kenneth Wilson

Some people love the idea of outdoor furniture; it’s durable and a great way to spruce up the yard. But even if these are designed for outdoors, it’s not everlasting. Both good and bad weather - a sunny day, a little rain shower, some wind, and more - can still wear them down over time. There are also other elements such as UV rays and temperature changes that can worsen the damage to your patio furniture. 

Even if you have high-quality furniture, it will still not be indestructible. That’s why whether you have the most expensive or budget-friendly ones, you have to protect them to make sure that they will last long. If you don’t, then you’d eventually find them looking as if they’ve been in your yard for years, even if you just bought them months ago.

Replacing your patio furniture when they look faded or have become damaged won’t really solve the issue. The same thing will happen unless you learn how to properly protect them. We already know that they may last longer than other types of furniture, but with proper maintenance and protection, we can even prolong their lifespan.

Here’s how you can protect your patio furniture to make them last for a long time.

How to Protect From…

There are many outdoor elements that can wear down your patio furniture such as sun exposure, water, mold, and rust.

Sun Damage

Most people are wary of how water, dirt, and stains can ruin our patio furniture, but not everyone knows that there is a more regular threat that looms over our yard: sun damage. Similar to how the sun and UV rays are harmful to our skin, it also applies to our furniture. That’s why we also need to be cautious of sun exposure. Here’s what you can do to lessen the damage from the sun:

Bring it indoors

The most common solution to protecting your furniture from sun damage is taking it inside. This doesn’t mean you have to do this every day that you won’t be using them. You should only store it when you won’t be using it for a long time. This will help prolong the lifespan of your furniture as it will also be less exposed to the harmful UV rays. Before you store it, make sure that it is clean and covered with a cloth.

Set up patio umbrellas

If you don’t want to store your patio furniture, you can also protect them from the sun by setting up patio umbrellas. Aside from keeping the sun off you and your guests, you can also use these to protect your outdoor furniture.

This is perfect for those who have a few-piece furniture set such as a table with a couple of chairs. If you have more pieces, then you have to get larger and a few more umbrellas to protect everything.

It seems like the perfect solution, but for those who live in a windy area, check on your yard every now and then. You might be surprised to find your umbrellas being blown away. Check the weather and then take it down if it’s going to be a windy day.

Use a shade sail or patio cover 

Not everyone wants to have several umbrellas in their outdoor area, so if you have a large patio, an umbrella isn’t going to cut it for you. In this case, you may want to try using shade sails or patio covers.

If you are on a budget or have limited space, you can use a shade sail to protect your outdoor area. Sometimes referred to as canopy, it is a fabric that can effectively block the sun’s rays and harmful UV rays.

On the other hand, you can also use a patio cover. This is a temporary awning that is also somewhat similar to carport covers. If you set up one, make sure to get the opaque ones. These can block UV rays, unlike glass patio covers. 

UV protection sprays 

For those who don’t have a place to hang shade sails or build patio covers, you can protect your patio furniture from sun exposure with UV protection sprays. This spray is similar to sunscreen, but instead of our skin, we use it on the furniture. Before buying UV protection sprays, check your furniture manufacturer if they have recommended ones for your furniture.

Get UV-resistant fabrics 

All fabrics break down if exposed to the sun for too long. You have two ways to protect them: use UV protection spray or get special ones. There are now UV-resistant fabrics that are designed to withstand sun damage and harmful UV rays. With these, it’s one less type of material you need to spray or worry about.

Inspect furniture made out of other materials

You also need to check your wooden, wicker, and resin (plastic) furniture. Aside from becoming faded, these materials can also weaken from sun exposure. You should inspect them for signs of damage or weakness twice a year or more. It’s not just about the aesthetics since someone may get injured from using unmaintained furniture.

Note: For wooden furniture, you can check for sun damage by splashing it with water. The water should bead for around 15 minutes or more. If it immediately soaks it in, then it’s time to add more stain protection.

Rain or Water

Another element that can ruin out outdoor furniture is rain. Similar to sun exposure, we can’t prevent our furniture from getting wet. Find out how to lessen the damage caused by water with these tips below:

Set up patio umbrellas, shade sails, or patio covers

We can use this to protect our furniture from the sun, we can also use it to protect them from the rain. Patio umbrellas are pretty simple as you can treat them as regular umbrellas, but fo the other two, they will only be effective against water if you know what you’re looking for.

Most shade sails are not waterproof since the water may pool in the middle. If this happens, the shade sail will slack or even break. So if you will use the shade sail to protect your furniture from the rain, you need to look for water-resistant shade sails. It will be made out of HDPE mesh fabric, and the water won’t pool since it will run off the material. You will still need to set the right slope to prevent pooling.

If you will use patio covers, the best material to prevent water damage is glass. Unfortunately, this material will allow UV rays to pass, which will bring us back to the problem of sun damage. I suggest you choose which one you will need more and then use the other solutions for the other. So if you choose a glass patio cover, make use of UV-resistant fabrics or protection sprays for your furniture to prevent sun damage.

Use water-repellent sprays

For those who prefer to keep their yard patio cover-, umbrella-, or canopy-free, you can apply water-repellent spray on your furniture. Not only will it prevent water from damaging the material, but it can also reduce moisture buildup.

Water sealant for wooden furniture

If you have wooden furniture, you will need more than just water-resistant spray. To provide full protection, you should also apply a water sealant. It’s designed to protect the exterior surface of your wooden furniture. This will prevent water damage and make it peel- and blister-resistant. Aside from protecting the material, it will also maintain the furniture's appearance.

Mold

If outdoor furniture is exposed to high amounts of moisture in a warm environment, there’s a high chance for mold to grow on them. To check if there is mold growing, look for green, black, or white spots, especially in wooden furniture.

There are many ways to treat mold, but it’s always better to prevent them from growing than getting rid of it. To protect your furniture from mold, you can either use chemicals or natural methods:

Chemicals

Before buying a more expensive product to help prevent mold, you can first try mixing a cup of Borax and a gallon of water. It’s cheaper and usually works; just transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and then apply it on the surface. You can also use a sponge to spread the mixture. After, let it dry and avoid rinsing it. Even if it’s not as potent as commercially-sold mold prevention products, it can still be harmful to humans and pets.

Some people use bleach, but it’s more suitable for removing mold. This is because it does not stay or dry on the surface, which is important to prevent mold from returning. You can also use commercially-sold products, which can be applied to different types of surfaces such as wood and drywall. Most of the time, these products are capable of preventing and eliminating mold. 

Natural Methods

The most natural way to prevent mold is to get rid of the moisture. To do this, keep the surface dry so that the mold won’t form.

If you can’t always keep it dry, there is another natural remedy you can try: white vinegar. Pour undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to your furniture. Note that not all mold species are affected by white vinegar. If you have those species, another product you can try is tea tree oil. Mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil in a bottle filled with water, and then apply it on the furniture. Since it’s oil-based, this mixture tends to stay on the surface longer.

Rust

Metal is an excellent material to be used on patio furniture. It’s durable and can withstand different harsh outdoor elements. Some people also find it an aesthetically-pleasing elegant addition to most yards.

It requires minimal maintenance, however, you have to be wary of rusting. It is one of the biggest, or sometimes the only, problem with metal furniture. They can easily rust, especially in a damp and warm environment. Don’t worry, there are different ways you can prevent rust.

Keep the furniture dry

Similar to preventing mold, a natural way to prevent rust is by keeping your outdoor furniture dry. Don’t let the water stay on your furniture for too long - wipe it dry with a soft and absorbent rag as soon as possible.

Get some cushions, arm covers, and chair backs

Not only will cushions, arm covers, and chair backs provide comfort, but they can also prevent rusting. It decorates and protects metal patio chairs from harsh elements that can facilitate rusting. If there’s less exposure to heat and moisture, then there are lower chances of rust forming.

Use paste wax

With paste wax, you can protect your furniture from both rust and water damage. Not only does it prevent damage and rust, but it also maintains the appearance of metal furniture. Before you apply paste wax, make sure to clean your metal furniture and that it is dry. Get a wide paintbrush to make it easier to apply paste wax on the entire surface. For cracks and crevices, use a smaller brush or just apply more to these areas. After applying, let the paste wax dry before allowing it to get wet or placing cushions and other items.

Greasing goes a long way

Another way to prevent rust from forming on your metal furniture is by applying grease on them. Using grease or oil is one of the steps needed to maintain metal furniture and extend its lifespan. There is a lesser chance of rust developing if the metal surface is greased.

Proper storage

Even if metal furniture is considered one of the most durable materials, it still needs to be stored when it won’t be used for a long time. They can be left outdoors for long periods, but it’s best to store it, or actually, any other furniture you have when not in use. Place it in a closed or covered area to prevent it from wearing down from harsh elements as well as from growing mold or rust. If you can’t move it around, get an outdoor waterproof furniture cover. It won’t be as effective as storing it, but at least there’s some form of protection.

Kenneth Wilson
March 2, 2020
Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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