As winter approaches, don't forget about your Patio Furniture

The leaves are changing and, before you know it, snow will be on the ground. It is time to start thinking about what you're going to do with your outdoor furniture for the long winter's slumber.

Remember the old joke about the only Irishman that stays out all night...patio furniture. Well, it seems some patio furniture can stay out all winter, but most types should be brought indoors for the bitter winter months.

Consumer expert, Angie Hicks, said, "At the end of the season a lot of us forget about our patio furniture and what happens is if it's left out all year round you could potentially cause a lot more wear and tear on the patio furniture than you normally have if you'd put it away."

Some of us are just lazy, others simply don't have the room to store it and some may not care. If you are any of these three, two types of patio furniture are right up your alley.

"Some (patio) furniture will withstand the cold temperatures of winter and it's usually either aluminum or wood. On the aluminum, make sure drain all the water out of it before the cold sets in and on the wood don't cover it. A lot of times people want to cover their furniture, but if you do moisture could get in there and cause damage to the wood," said Angie.

But other types should never be left out in the cold.

"If you have wicker furniture or steel framed furniture, those should be brought inside. The wicker will expand and contract through the cold weather which will damage the material and the steel could potentially rust."

If you have priced patio furniture these days, you know it's not cheap. So if you have neglected yours over the years, fear not: old paddy is not beyond rehabilitation.

"The good news is when it comes to your patio furniture you don't always have to replace it even if it's starting to look worn. It can be refinished and a lot of times refinishing is cheaper than you buy new, but it's going to take a little elbow grease or you're going to have to hire someone to do it. But the great thing is you can change the color of the wood if you've changed the look of the outside of your house, for example. And really get a whole new look and feel to your patio," said Angie

And don't forget about all those accessories. All fabric materials such as cushions and umbrellas should be brought inside for the winter season.

Also, all natural materials have cracks and crevices. If you have a stone tabletop, for example, bring it inside. Particularly in the freezing weather, if water gets in there, it will freeze and contract which can tear apart the tabletop.

More Information:

End of season care for outdoor patio furniture:

• Aluminum: Aluminum patio furniture can be left out year round. However, make sure all the water is drained out of the frames. If you clean it up and put a cover over it will be fine come spring. • Wood: Wood can be left our year round, but should never be covered. If you cover it, and moisture gets trapped under the cover, you can get mold and mildew on it.
• Wicker: Wicker should be stored if possible. Left to the elements, wicker expands and contracts with heat and humidity, which could cause cracks and splintering.
• Steel: Steel-frame furniture, if left outside, can rust, which could damage the furniture's frame. Bring it inside and touch up any scratches or nicks.
• Natural stone: All natural materials have cracks and crevices. If you have a stone tabletop, for example, bring it inside. Particularly in the freezing weather, if water gets in there, it will freeze and contract which can tear apart the tabletop.
• Accessories: All fabric materials such as cushions and umbrellas should be brought inside for the winter season.

Year-round care for outdoor patio furniture:
• Twice a year: Outdoor patio furniture should be cleaned twice a year. Once in the spring when you get it out, and in the fall when you put it up.
• Cleaning solutions: There are special patio furniture cleaners available, but water and a mild detergent work well too. Avoid power washing - use a hose instead. Power washing can be too aggressive and abrasive on the furniture.
• Seal it up: Natural stone materials need to be sealed two or three times a year.
• Restore it: There's good news for people who've neglected or abused their outdoor furniture in the past: most of it can be repaired or completely restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.


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