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Protecting Outdoor Furniture: the Ultimate Guide

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Entertaining guests and hosting parties in your backyard is always fun, regardless of the size of your outdoor space. If you own a house in an area where it’s relatively warm and sunny all year round, like California, then you’re probably more used to hosting people outside than within the confines of your living space. On the other hand, if you reside in a place with hot summers and freezing winters (on the East Coast, for example), then the warmer months often turn into a frenzy of organizing outdoor events, such as a barbecue or birthday parties. After all, you’ve got to make the most out of the pleasant weather while it lasts, right? 


The Importance of Caring for Your Outdoor Items 


Regardless of where you live, with a great backyard comes responsibility. You need to keep a tight check on all of your outdoor furniture, as well as be particularly careful about the changing weather conditions. Tables, chairs, couches or grills need to be properly protected from the elements if you want them to serve you for a long time. Those residing in places with a hot, arid climate are no exception – rain and humidity are not the only factors that can damage your precious outdoor furniture. The scorching heat and constant sunlight can be equally dangerous. 


The same goes for business owners. Restaurants, hotels, cafes, and other establishments that tend to seat their customers usually have an outdoor dining (or drinking) area where their patrons can relax and embrace the sunny weather. Here, things take a more serious turn, as damage to your establishment’s outdoor furniture may have a direct impact on the quality of your service and seating capacity, negatively affecting your business’s profitability. 


If you’re a new home or business owner and are just beginning to furnish the outdoor area of your property, you need to educate yourself on taking proper care of the items you’ll be leaving outside for most of the year. Knowing how to protect your outdoor furniture is the only way to ensure that it serves you for many years, and save you a lot of money on repairs and replacement. Thankfully, there are plenty of online spaces that will teach you how to do just that, and this article is the best place to start. 

Take the Right Precautions 


The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to safeguarding your outdoor furniture is that sometimes you’ll get hit by the weather out of the blue. Maybe it will be because you forgot to check the forecast, or maybe the forecast was  simply wrong (it happens much more often than you might think nowadays). No matter the reason, if you own the right equipment that offers initial protection from the elements, the further steps you’ll have to take to safeguard your outdoor furniture (we’ll outline them later on in this article) will be much easier. 


The simplest (and most effective) thing you can do to be prepared for anything is having a reliable porch cover,a retractable awning, retractable pergoal cover or rotating/retractable louver roof installed over your outdoor seating area. Not only will it be a barrier that safeguards your furniture  from the elements, but it will also allow you to host outdoor events, even in light or heavy rain(varies by product type) and snow (louver roofs only)

Best Covers for Homeowners 

The size of your backyard, patio or porch area plays the biggest role when it comes to choosing an appropriate covering aimed at protecting your outdoor furniture. The most popular solution for households are folding arm awnings or canopies. On top of being very easy to install and operate, they allow you to control just how much extended coverage you’ll need on any given day. 


For example, if you get ahead of the forces of nature and move all of your furniture to put it up against the wall before the rain starts, you’ll only have to worry about unfolding your awning just enough to cover your stuff. It’s also a good solution if you’re leaving for vacation and don’t want  to move heavy furniture inside. 


Unleash the full force of your folding arm awning to impress your guests with your preparedness. Whether you’re hosting a party and get caught off-guard by a drizzle or don’t want to cancel due to a bad weather forecast, a retractable awning or a canopy will allow you to keep the party going without risking any water damage to your furniture (or your guests). 

Best Covers for Businesses 

Business owners may want to find an outdoor seating area cover that they can keep open all year round, one that allows them to keep their outside seats available regardless of the season or current weather conditions. A retractable pergola roof cover is by far the most practical option for gastronomic establishments, whether it be cafes, restaurants, pubs or even cocktail bars. 


They are modern solutions that look great and work even better. They’ll protect your business from rain, snow and wind (varies by model), as well as provide a nice touch that will transform your outdoor seating areas into a chique, trendy space. The wow factor is even bigger if your property is located by the sea, a mountainside or an equally picturesque site. 

What You Can Do to Keep Your Furniture Safe 

Of course, retractable pergola roofs and awnings will only get you so far when it comes to protecting your outdoor furniture from extensive damage. They’re a good place to start, but if you don’t combine overhead retractable covers with regular furniture maintenance and preventative care, then you can’t claim that your items are 100% protected. 


Thankfully, most of the steps you need to take to maintain the condition of your outdoor furniture are relatively simple and easy to carry out, even if you haven’t had any experience with furniture protection and maintenance.


Finally, it might be worth pointing out that the amount of time and effort you’ll need to put into maintenance depends on the size and the materials used to produce the  furniture.. Cleaning lightweight, wooden restaurant chairs and tables is understandably a much easier task than doing a thorough, deep cleaning of a heavy leather or velvet sofa. 

Clean Everything Regularly 

This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: your outdoor furniture needs cleaning. In fact, it probably needs it much more than your indoor furniture, as even though it’s used less frequently, these items are exposed to the elements and contaminants, especially if lush plant life is also a part of your backyard. This is especially true in the fall, when leaves fall off of trees on a daily basis – if you don’t establish a habit of regularly and thoroughly cleaning your outdoor furniture, you’re in for a heavy duty sweeping session before winter comes along. 

Pay Special Attention to Fabrics 

Whether your outdoor couches and chairs are made of velvet, leather, mesh, acrylic, cotton, or just plain old wood, you’re going to need to spend some time looking up and buying the right cleaning products. This is important because getting the wrong chemicals on your furniture is not only ineffective at removing stains and such, but it can also permanently damage it! 

Keep Your Furniture in Place 

This is something that brand new homeowners and restaurateurs often forget about with regard to outdoor furniture maintenance. On the windier days, and generally throughout the entirety of fall and winter, you should fix the lighter pieces to the ground. Wind can get extremely strong, especially in the coastal areas, and you don’t want to risk damage to your pillows, chairs, or even entire tables flying away! 

Get Some Furniture Covers 

These covers are an absolute necessity for anyone who owns outdoor furniture made out of a fabric of any kind. Solid furniture covers can protect your items from heat, water, snow, and most kinds of external damage almost indefinitely. They are a must-have accessory, especially if you travel frequently and aren’t home for long periods of time. Restaurant and cafe owners should probably use these on a daily basis, not only to protect their property from the elements, but also to deter people from using their chairs and tables during off-hours (if you leave the furniture outdoors for the night, that is). 

The Bottom Line 

Protecting your outdoor furniture isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be. As long as you’ve got the right materials and the right knowledge, it becomes a breeze. With a little discipline and a little help in the form of a retractable awning or a pergola roof cover, you probably won’t even have to worry about cleaning these items that often! Hopefully, this guide has set you on the right path towards maintaining your outdoor furniture in the best shape possible. Remember that most adverse weather conditions can be countered by taking the right measures, and, perhaps most importantly, using the right products to clean and protect your outdoor furniture. 

Contact our European factory trained, experienced retractable residential and commercial awning, pergola, screen and canopy experts using our contact form, our live help chat or call us in the USA or Canada toll-free at (866) 438-2964 or outside the USA or Canada at (305) 628-2424.


eric scop

Eric M. Scop

Eric M. Scop is considered a RETRACTABLE awning industry expert hired by architects, landscape architects, exterior/interior designers, contractors and builders worldwide on a consulting basis

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