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Expert Advice: To Cover Or Not To Cover Patio Furniture?

A patio is one of the most practical home improvement features you can add to your home. No matter the season, there are a lot of activities that can take place in a well-furnished patio including BBQs, relaxing afternoons with family among others. One of the key ways that you can ensure that your patio remains visually alluring and functional is to ensure that the furniture in the space are properly maintained. The best way to do this? Cover your patio furniture.

Top Reasons to Cover Your Patio Furniture

In a nutshell, some of the main reasons why you should cover your patio furniture include:

• To enhance the longevity of your furniture

If your patio is constructed with an open design, your furniture will be constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions including rain, snow, and, direct exposure to the sun. Extreme weather conditions or prolonged exposure will take a toll on your furniture and make them seem worn and old even when they are fairly new.

Covering your furniture will not only help them retain their sheen but it will also increase their lifespan.

• To protect your furniture from exposure to UV lights

Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can take a tool on the structural integrity of your furniture especially if you live in an area that is dry. Covering your patio furniture will protect the integrity of the materials used in making the furniture such as natural wickers.

• To protect against rust

If your patio furniture is made of metal material such as wrought iron, covering the furniture will help prevent moisture from reaching the metal material hence preventing the formation of rust.

• To protect from moisture

Prolonged exposure of most of the materials used in making furniture to moisture will have detrimental effects on the furniture. For example, in metal materials moisture may induce the formation of rust, in natural wickers it may cause breakages, while in wood it can lead to rot. Placing a cover on patio furniture will help protect against the collection of moisture on the items. This will increase their durability and helping them in retaining their original appeal.

• To protect furniture fittings

Items such as cushions and pillows that are usually placed on patio furniture can easily get damaged when exposed to the elements. Covering your furniture will help protect your fittings from damage by direct exposure to sun rays, dust, and, other weather elements.

At this point, you may be asking yourself… In what conditions should I cover my patio furniture?

Generally, it is advisable that you cover your patio furniture when they are not in use especially if you have an open patio setting. Consider covering your furniture in the following situations:

  • If you reside in an area with high levels of humidity
  • During the winter season to protect from snow
  • During summer when the sun is shining hot overhead
  • If you reside in an area with high winds that sweep dust and debris into your property
  • If you are not planning on using your patio for a while for example when going on a holiday

That said, when selecting patio covers, it is important that you look for covers that both breathable and waterproof. The waterproofing feature will prevent moisture from seeping onto your furniture while the breathability feature will allow moisture that may collect under the cover to evaporate quickly.

How Long Does Patio Furniture Usually Last?

Though there’s no set timeline for how long patio furniture lasts, the running standard is about 15 years, give or take. Some may last longer, and other less, depending on a number of factors such as the construction materials, climate, and maintenance. Different climates tend to impact the lifespan of patio furnishings the most. For example, an arid Southwestern climate requires furniture to have adequate UV protection to avoid sun exposure damage. Likewise, humid coastal climates are constantly battling moisture in the air, therefore, special moisture barrier coatings are a must!

Though the actual quality of the furniture is perhaps the most important aspect of its longevity, the next closest one on the list are the frame materials. Wood and iron are the most popular construction materials, but it’s hardly surprising that iron outlasts wood by many years. Of course, there are numerous other options on the market, each with their own projected lifespans, such as:

*Wrought iron- 25 years or longer

*Cast aluminum- 15 years or longer

*Wicker- 15 years or longer

*Teakwood- 25 years or longer

Though these numbers are fairly impressive, it’s also crucial to take into consideration that quality patio furnishings require a large upfront investment. Of course, when considering that a quality patio set can provide 25 years of service, the investment is well worth it! Of the construction materials, teakwood is perhaps the longest lasting with projected lifespans of up to 75 years when maintained.

Since patio furniture is also exposed to the elements (wind, sun, rain, and snow), spills, and constant wear and tear, the manufacturing process also comes into play. For extra sturdy and reinforced structures, powder-coated construction materials are highly recommended. This allows the frame to resist chips, splits, and cracks that shorten its lifespan.

Powder-coating is the only true way to create a moisture repelling barrier. Paint with water-resistant properties simply isn’t strong enough to last a long time. What’s more, powder-coated furnishings also come in a wide range of colors and finishes.

Without question, high quality patio furniture will always outlast affordable lower end options. As the furniture needs to withstand constant elemental exposure, a quality frame with water-resistant textiles is the only true option for a long-lasting set. Apart from price, it really comes down to selecting furniture from a reputable manufacturer that uses quality and sturdy materials.

Though getting off on the right foot is essential, so is the maintenance and upkeep of the patio furnishings. As mentioned, teakwood is high quality, built to last, and out of all of the options, requires the least amount of effort for maintenance. Though wicker is another popular construction material of choice, even with proper care, it simply won’t last as long as teakwood.

Reducing elemental exposure and cleaning the set according to manufacturer’s specifications is a great way to ensure longevity. Though outdoor furniture is made to remain outdoors, reducing the amount of time it spends directly impacted by the elements can make it last longer. As such, moisture and direct sunlight have the most detrimental effects on aging patio furniture.