As the days get shorter and the temperature gets cooler, it is time to start thinking about winterizing our outdoor space. And one of those agenda items should be what to do with your outdoor furniture. More precisely, should you leave your patio furniture out all winter long? Although the greater San Diego area does not experience a traditional winter such as that in higher altitudes and northern climes, we still have winter weather conditions that could adversely your outdoor furnishings. Here is our advice to take best care of your investment.
Winter Weather Conditions
Here in Southern California, our average highs are in the 60s in the winter with lows in the 40s. Although that is fairly temperate, those dips to near freezing and then warming up during the day can damage patio furniture that is left outside. Rain and wind can also be detrimental to the integrity of your outdoor furnishings.
Winterizing Your Outdoor Furniture
There are basically two ways to care for your outdoor pieces in the winter: store them away or cover them up. Since you will probably still be using it, there is no reason you can’t leave your patio furniture out all winter. We recommend cleaning each piece and covering it with a breathable, fitted cover when the forecast calls for freezing temperatures, high wind or heavy rain. Just be sure that your outdoor furnishings are completely dry before covering.
Outdoor Furniture Materials and How They Hold Up
The truth is that different types of outdoor furniture materials react differently to winter weather conditions.
A very popular material for outdoor furnishings is aluminum since it is durable and easy to maintain. If you want to leave your patio furniture out all winter long, then aluminum pieces are apt to hold up the best. The one weather condition that you should watch for, however, is strong wind as it can blow your furniture around and possibly dent or damage it.
Any type of fabric, such as cushions or pillows, should be stored in the winter when there is rain or freezing in the forecast. When fabric gets wet and does not dry out immediately, it can be prone to mold and mildew. Even Sunbrella, which is specifically made to resist adverse weather conditions, will last longer if properly taken care of. Best practice is to store your pillows and cushions in a deck box until needed.
Glass-topped tables will generally do just fine if you wish to leave your patio furniture out all winter long. However, do be aware that during a strong wind or rainstorm, they could be damaged b y falling branches or flying debris.
Wicker or Rattan
Woven materials such as wicker or rattan tend to be less durable than other materials. If these pieces get wet and then freeze, the resultant expansion could cause these pieces to break or crack at the joints. Wicker outdoor furniture is best used in the summertime and stored in the winter.
There are many different types of wood used in outdoor furnishings, so this is a broad category. For instance, teak is a very durable wood made to resist moisture and this type of patio furniture can probably be kept outside all winter long as long as it properly sealed first. For other types of wood, check with the manufacturer. At the very least it should be covered, if not stored during the wettest, coldest months.
When you have made an investment in your backyard oasis, you may want to reconsider the option of leaving your patio furniture out all winter long. At the very least, make sure you check the forecast days in advance and plan to cover your pieces as necessary.