With Autumn now in full swing, it won’t be long until Winter is here. So it is now a good idea to start to plan out how you will protect your garden furniture ready for use again next year.
Storing your furniture
If you have the option to do so, we highly recommend storing as much of your furniture as possible in a shed, garage or any other type of outbuilding you have available. Doing this will significantly reduce the chances of any moisture-related problems.
It may be the case that you do not have access to this type of storage. If this is the case you can purchase small storage units specifically for garden items such as furniture, BBQ’s, lawnmowers etc. They are available in a wide variety of materials and sizes and can be very affordable.
However, if you still do not have enough space for a storage unit, you should then instead consider using a tarp or other waterproof covering. When doing so be sure to check that it is securely fastened around the furniture as well as being weighed down to prevent any slippage and have the covering come flying off!
Once a week or so you should check in on your covered furniture to make sure that it is still safely fastened and that there is no damage starting to form. This way if there are any problems beginning to occur, you can tackle it before it gets out of hand!
But before you start storing and tucking your furniture away there are some things you should consider doing first.
Whatever the material your furniture is made out of one of the most important things you can do is give it a deep clean. You could use a product such as Net-Trol wood cleaner and brightener on any wooden surfaces. If you have composite wood furniture you could instead use a product such as Compo-Clean cleaner and degreaser. If you have metal furniture you could instead use a product such as Transyl Oil which will remove dirt, grease and grime.
Remember to allow everything to be completely dry before storing it away. The last thing you want to do is end up with mould or mildew after your hard work!
Folding and/or stacking
If your furniture is foldable we recommend folding it up for storage. If your furniture does not fold away, for instance, if you have ratan, wicker or metal furniture, we recommend you stack the furniture. Not only does it keep it neat and in one place but it will reduce the overall footprint it would otherwise take up.
Regardless of where your furniture is being stored, we would still recommend either folding or stacking everything together.
Remove any upholstery
If you have seat or back cushions on your seating, we really recommend removing them if you can. Upholstery that is advertised as water-proof and seems very durable would still highly benefit from being brought inside. Likewise with fabric parasols – remove the top and bring it in to keep it safe.
There is a chance that mould and/or mildew can become prevalent if left on the furniture due to fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels.
We recommend bringing them in and giving everything as best of a clean as possible ready for use next year. Make sure you check all the labels to be sure of the correct setting and/or temperature you can wash them on. If you cannot see a label, try to check with the manufacturer – if not, most surfaces can be wiped down with a clean damp cloth.
Protective products and/or finishes
Another excellent way that you can protect your furniture is by using a protective finish. We have talked through some below:
New wood finishes
Did you purchase some lovely new garden furniture this Summer but didn’t get around to applying a protective finish? If so, we recommend applying a coating of Seasonite. Seasonite is a new wood protector that bonds with the wood fibres and so stabilises the wood. Doing this will allow the wood to weather naturally whilst also being protected during its first year.
It does this by controlling the transfer of moisture into the wood, which then prevents it from warping and splitting. Something you will certainly want to avoid!
Has your furniture been previously treated with an Owatrol product such as Textrol or Deks Olje D1? If so, it could be worth applying a maintenance coat to offer the best possible protection over Winter.
In most cases, you will simply need to give the wood a really good clean with Net-Trol and once dry to then re-apply a coat of two of your previously used finish.
Please note though that our finishes need to be applied in specific environments (temperature, weather, moisture levels etc.) so if you cannot apply in these conditions, it may be more beneficial to wait and apply it next year instead.
Wood finished with a non-Owatrol product
If the weather allows it, you could remove any previous finish and then apply an Owatrol finish.
To see how a customer finished and protected their garden furniture ready for the Winter, take a look at our previous blog post “Give your wooden sunbeds a makeover with Textrol“.
Be sure to pay very close attention to the application notes. Applying our finishes in the wrong environment can give a poor result. If you cannot apply in the correct environments, you may be better off waiting until next Spring instead.
For metal garden furniture we would recommend using Owatrol Oil. Owatrol Oil is a rust inhibitor that works by saturating deep within the surface to push out moisture and air. This prevents any metal from rusting.
If your metal already has rust, Owatrol Oil can also be applied directly onto the rusted surfaces. It will work in the same way and will prevent any further corrosion.
Alternatively, you could also use a protective finish such as our Owatrol Deco – our rust-inhibiting primer and finish in one.
Plastic & rattan furniture
For these types of furniture, the best thing you can do is to just give them a really deep clean. Make sure you do not use any cleaning products that are too harsh though as this could alter the colour and/or shine of the surface.
You could also use Owatrol Polytrol to restore the colour and shine of the furniture. It should be noted though that Polytrol is not a protective coating.
The rest of the garden
Now that the furniture is taken care of, what about the rest of the garden? for the best tips and advice on the other parts of your garden such as your fences and outbuildings, take a look at our previous blog post “5 handy tips to prepare your garden for Winter“.
We hope this gives you food for thought. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice on how to protect your garden furniture, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.