Patio Furniture That Can Be Left Outside In The Winter

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

When you shop for a new patio set you will quickly realize it isn’t cheap. Quality outdoor furniture is costly, so you will want to get as many years out of it as time allows. If you live somewhere with harsh winters then you know the cold winter months can wreak havoc on some outdoor furniture, while others are unfazed when spring emerges.

Teak wood and properly sealed wood patio furniture can be left outside in the winter. Synthetic rattan furniture is safe to leave outdoors year round, but natural rattan and wicker should be covered or stored. Aluminum furniture is also durable and can be left outside in winter months. Patio furniture made of other metals like cast iron and steel, however, will rust and deteriorate if left out in the winter.

You should look closer at your local winter weather when determining the types of furniture that you can leave outside in the winter. Some climates favor certain materials while destroying others. Understanding the main elements that affect your patio furniture will help you understand the types of patio set that will best suit your needs.

Things To Consider When Purchasing Your Year Round Patio Furniture

Moisture Resistance

Your patio furniture’s ability to resist moisture is one of the most important qualities when it comes to leaving your furniture outside in the winter. If you purchase a patio set that absorbs moisture easily it will not fare well in the winter. Look for furniture that has a proven seal against moisture.

Furniture Strength

If you live somewhere with snow and harsh winters, you need furniture that can withstand these conditions. Purchased strong furniture that will not grow brittle. It is also important to make sure your furniture can handle the weight of large snowfalls. Make sure your furniture is heavy enough to withstand winter gusts If you live in a windy area.

Pest Resistant

Pests can quickly destroy outdoor furniture. Some materials are ideal environments for burrowing pests. Your furniture should be appropriately treated and maintained to deter pests from burrowing inside.

How Wood Furniture Holds Up In Winter

In many cases, wood furniture can be left outside in the winter months. Generally, wood is strong enough to weather the elements, but there are some factors you should consider before throwing caution into the wind.

A lot of quality wood furniture is made of teak wood. Teak is naturally fantastic at keeping moisture outside. This wood type is naturally water-resistant. If you have teak wood furniture, you can leave it outside safely. It will slowly age naturally – as you likely intend it to.

If your outdoor wood furniture is not made of teak, you most likely need to take additional measures to ensure it is safe to leave it outside over the winter. The first step you should take is to treat the wood with a sealant. Purchase and apply a sealant that will excel at keeping moisture out of the wood. There are a variety of sealants available, so choose the type that will work best in your weather conditions.

While you can leave wood furniture outside over the winter, it might be a good idea to purchase furniture covers. These covers can protect your furniture from falling (and then rotting) debris, animals, and unnecessary snowfall. Be sure these covers are breathable and meant for covering wood. If the covers don’t breathe at all you may develop mold on your furniture while it stays covered.

How Aluminum Furniture Holds Up In Winter

Aluminum patio furniture is known to be durable. It is also often very good at withstanding the tests of all four seasons. This is why aluminum is quite popular in patio sets and in restaurants with outdoor seating.

Aluminum can stand up to all four seasons, and it can be left out in the winter as well. Still, before the winter comes around you should inspect your furniture. Be sure to repair or seal any scratches or cracks. These damages can leave your furniture vulnerable over the winter months. Otherwise, your furniture should last just fine.

Aluminum does not always fair well in windy conditions, however. Aluminum may be metal, but it is also very lightweight. Be sure to take precautions if you have smaller pieces of aluminum furniture or live in an area with very high winds. Stacking or anchoring your furniture can help it from blowing away or causing damage.

Can I Leave Other Metal Furniture Outside In The Winter?

Other outdoor metal furniture like steel and cast iron patio sets, on the other hand, should never be left outside in the winter. Aluminum may be built to withstand the elements, but steel and iron deteriorate very rapidly in winter conditions.

Iron and steel are both susceptible to cracking in cold winters. Lingering snow and ice can also lead to significantly more rust buildup than if the furniture is stored properly during the winter.

Leaving Plastic Furniture Outside In The Winter

It is possible to leave plastic furniture outside, but be sure to buy the “right” kind. Since plastic is a manmade material with no traces of metal many of the issues you would normally worry about don’t come into play. Rust is not an issue. You also don’t need to worry about plastics absorbing and retaining water, as they do not.

There are, however, some reasons to be wary about leaving plastic patio furniture outside in the winter. Certain plastics can become much more brittle in cold weather. This is especially the case when the weather gets very cold for sustained periods of time. These temperatures, and the fluctuations can weaken the plastic and make it more prone to break.

If you are purchasing plastic patio furniture make sure you read about its capabilities. If you are uncertain if it can be left outside in the winter it might be best to just pack it up for the winter. After all, most plastic patio furniture is rather light and easy to transport a short distance.

Synthetic Rattan Furniture

Synthetic rattan furniture is growing in popularity for several reasons. One reason is that most synthetic rattan furniture can be left outside in the winter. This furniture is often modern and stylized, and can come with a big price tag.

Be sure to consult your manual to ensure the furniture is safe to leave out in all weather conditions. Some synthetic rattan furniture may have some metal elements. Make sure this metal will not rust and break down in the winter.

If you are not sure whether or not your synthetic rattan furniture is all-weather proof, it might be a good idea to cover it. This will protect your investment.

Notes on Natural Rattan and Wicker

While synthetic rattan furniture is safe outdoors in all four seasons, its natural counterpart is not. Natural rattan furniture, even high-quality products, may break down quickly if you live somewhere with harsh winters.

Wicker furniture is also likely to deteriorate rather quickly if you leave it outside unprotected throughout the winter. Properly storing or at least covering these types of furniture will increase their lifespan.

Natural Stone Furniture

Natural stone furniture can often stay outside throughout the winter as well. Sometimes stone furniture is a permanent structure. Moving it may actually cause more harm than good.

There are some cases, however, when natural stone furniture should be moved or otherwise protected in the winter months. Natural stone can crack, and when those cracks retain moisture that freezes, the cracks can expand. Be sure to maintain this furniture, and if you are able to seal and protect it, do so before the winter season.

Cushions And Fabrics That Can Be Left Outside In Winter

You may be wondering if you can leave your cushions outside along with your outdoor patio furniture. While some fabrics and cushions are designed to last outdoors year-round, it is normally a good idea to store them in the winter.

If you live in an area with harsh winters, then you should absolutely store your cushions. Once you stop using your outdoor areas simply pull the cushions, clean them and then store them in a dry place. Be sure they are kept away from areas where rodents tend to live in the winter. Cushions are an ideal winter home for burrowing rodents.

If you live somewhere with mild winters, you can potentially leave your cushions outdoors year-round. If you are determined to use your furniture all year long, then choose the most durable fabrics and cushions.

Water-resistant and UV protected fabrics as well as highly durable fabrics with a proven track record for withstanding extreme weather are your best bet. These cushions will cost more, but they will last a long time if they are well-maintained.

Sealing It All Up

Patio furniture can be very expensive. This makes choosing the right set very important. If you are looking for patio furniture that you can leave outside throughout the winter you have a few options. Wood furniture, in particular teak, is a great natural option. You can also choose aluminum patio furniture or most synthetic rattan patio furniture.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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