Originally Published on December 6, 2017. Last Updated on December 8, 2021.
You’ve raked and bagged leaves, covered outdoor faucets, and stocked up on snow gear. But what should you do with your outdoor furniture when winter comes?
To extend the life of your patio furniture, if at all possible, make storage preparations now for things you don’t want left in the cold later.
What you can leave out:
- HDPE (high-density polyethelyne) furniture
- Outdoor pieces made from HDPE lumber, including Trex® Outdoor Furniture, are fine outside year-round.
- Aluminum furniture
- Just make sure the pieces are free of any water, inside or out.
- Wood furniture
- Don’t use any protective coverings over your wood furniture. Covering wood with a weatherproof material seems like a good idea, but the key is to keep moisture from sitting on the wood and damaging it.
Even though certain patio pieces can stay on the patio year-round, in order to extend their life, if you have space and aren’t going to be hanging out outdoors, consider storing furniture elsewhere.
What you need to bring in:
- Umbrellas, upholstery, and outdoor rugs
- While cushions covered in all-weather performance fabric and polypropylene rugs are weatherproof, storing them elsewhere cuts down on maintenance and reduces fading.
- Stone tabletops
- Any moisture that makes its way into a porous surface can crack a tabletop in the winter.
- Steel and wrought-iron furniture
- It’s prone to rust, so it’s best to store out of the elements if at all feasible.
- Wicker sofas
- In the cold, the furniture material may expand, contract, and ruin your pieces.
- Natural rattan chairs
- The material needs a cool, dry storage space.
- Plastic furniture
- Cold air can compromise low-quality plastic. Consider storing inside to reduce brittleness.
For more specific guidelines on your patio pieces, check with your furniture manufacturer.
If you have a grill that stays outside, consider bringing it in… unless you plan on using it.
Regardless, before winter sets in, take the time to detail and winterize your grill:
- Use a brush to gently loosen food off the grates, along with any rust.
- Remove wood chips or charcoal left in the grill.
- Wash and clean the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you plan on storing the piece inside, disconnect its propane tank or gas line before moving.
You wouldn’t put a plate sprinkled with crumbs from last night’s dinner back into your cabinet to store for the next three months. Treat your outdoor furniture the same way.
- Brush off loose all dirt and grime, and take the time to repair any scratches and dings.
- Inspect the furniture’s hardware for signs of rust or stripping.
- If you spot corrosion, gently brush it away and apply an appliance paint in the appropriate hue.
Where to Store
Consider letting your furniture “hibernate” inside during the winter, so you can enjoy it the rest of the year.
- If at all possible, keep a designated spot in the garage, a shed, or a workshop.
- Securing a climate-controlled self-storage unit may be worth it, depending on the investment of your furniture.
- Make sure all furniture is right-side-up.
- That way, any moisture inside the frames of hollow furniture can escape through tiny drainage holes.
- Stash your cushions in a storage bench when not in use.
Blog Post Updated June 11, 2021