In recent blogs we’ve talked a lot about transforming our yards into outdoor living spaces that both beautify and increase the utility of existing land, driven by the growing trends of outdoor dining rooms, lounge areas and the merging of indoor and outdoor spaces.  These creative new exterior designs have naturally led to higher investment in outdoor fixtures and furniture, both in terms of quality and quantity.  If you’re like me you’ve likely thrown away your share of brittle, sundried, outdoor chairs or those poolside couch cushions now darkened with mold. 

New styles have brought creative quality to outdoor furniture and we can no longer afford for them be ruined by the summer sun, dusty winds or tropical levels of humidity.  In this week’s blog we share with you tips to preserve the furniture of your outdoor living spaces.

  1.  The most important tip is also the simplest: clean your outdoor furniture!  Dust, sand and mud are the enemies of your furnishings.  Dirt is abrasive and acts as a sort of sandpaper, slowly damaging the protective finishes.  Secondly, dirt traps moisture on the surface and whether that be fabric, metal, wood or plastic sustained contact with moisture will damage your furniture.  Begin with a soft brush and then clean with a light soapy solution, avoiding concentrated or abrasive cleaners.  For Wicker furniture use a vacuum to suck the dirt out of the woven material and crevices.

  2. Mold and mildew are not your friends! Cleaning your furniture regularly will prevent most mold and mildew but if they begin to take root, more serious measures will be necessary.  Most hardware or construction supply stores now sell echo-friendly mold and mildew cleaners that are not harsh.  It’s still recommended that you wear a mask and gloves while using these liquids.  For fabric and wood some fine sandpaper can be a useful tool to remove surface mold. 

  3. Cover your furniture.  The sun is powerful and will eventually deteriorate all plastics and fabrics.  Covering your furniture when not in use will add years to their lifespans.

  4. Protecting wood furniture is a category all to itself.  

    1. Paint is best.  While not always the aesthetic we’re looking for, paint is the best long-term protection for wood furniture and it’s also the easiest to maintain.

    2. Water sealants are excellent for preserving the quality and the look of unpainted wooden furniture.

    3. Consider the location of your wood furniture.  Any protection from rain and sun, an eave, a gazebo even the shade of a tree will increase the life wooden surfaces.

    4. When possible cover your wood furniture when not in use.

    5. Touch up painted furniture annually and add water sealant every two to three years.

Follow these steps and you will enjoy your outdoor living spaces for many summers to come!