Covering your outdoor patio furniture can seem like an unnecessary task. It is easy to assume the pieces will survive the fall and winter unscathed without any help. However, as sturdy as your furniture may be, showing it some TLC can help extend its lifespan. Patio furniture covers provide your outdoor tables and chairs the extra protection they need to keep looking good for years to come.
Why Use Patio Furniture Covers
Materials like all-weather wicker and sturdy teak are designed to resist the pounding of mother nature. Yet, that doesn’t mean they are impervious to water, dirt, and changes in temperature. As with all things, extreme fluctuations can cause these materials to break down and mildew to grow.
Patio furniture covers help reduce the temperature fluctuation. But more importantly, they help reduce mold and grime from accumulating on your patio furniture. Dirt and mildew can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with at the end of the winter. By covering your patio furniture, you reduce the need to deep-clean it during the spring.
How to Select Your Patio Furniture Covers
1. Start by Measuring Your Patio Furniture
Before you even start looking at patio furniture covers, you’ll want to measure your furniture. It’s shocking how many people buy covers without ever measuring their pieces. This can easily lead to oversized or undersized covers that don’t function properly.
Often, you’ll find manufacturers sell covers made specifically for the pieces you have. You can easily look at the manufacturer’s website to see what’s available. However, this isn’t always the case. If there aren’t covers sized to fit your outdoor furniture set, you’ll want to look for an alternative cover sized to your patio furniture — ideally one that has adjustable ties or attachments, to allow you more flexibility.
2. Is the Cover Waterproof or Water Resistant?
In the Seattle area, we get a fair amount of rain. And that rain has a tendency to promote mildew. There’s a common assumption that all outdoor furniture covers are waterproof. However, this isn’t true.
There are a lot of covers that are simply water resistant. This means that water can (and most likely will) penetrate the cover at some point. Waterproof covers are typically made from vinyl. One thing to keep in mind with vinyl is that any moisture trapped inside is unlikely to dry and can lead to mold.
3. Look for Breathable Cover
Whether you select water resistant or waterproof covers, you’ll want to look for ones with vents. Vents allow air to circulate, helping the cover ‘breathe’ so that your furniture can dry. If you selected vinyl furniture without vents, you’ll want to open up the furniture on nice days from time to time, to allow any trapped moisture to escape.
4. Select Furniture with Tie Downs
It can get quite windy in the Pacific Northwest, especially if you live near the water in Bellevue and Kirkland. If you’re not careful, the wind can quickly transform your outdoor patio furniture cover into a balloon — which might even have enough lift to move your furniture! Tie downs help you avoid this.
By tying your covers securely to your furniture and taking out as much slack as possible, you limit the amount of air that can gust inside.
The Proper Way to Cover Your Furniture
If you haven’t already, remove any cushions and place them indoors. If they are at all wet, do not stack your cushions. Rather, place them upright, allowing as much airflow as possible so that they can dry.
Never cover your furniture when it’s wet. Make sure to give it at least a day to dry, wiping down sections as necessary. Teak can take longer to dry. Even though teak is extremely durable, it’s still wood and can eventually mold and root. Give it plenty of time to dry before covering.
In some instances, you may be able to stack your furniture before covering. If such is the case, be sure to wipe any excess dirt from the underside. This will help limit cleaning in the spring.
When placing the patio furniture covers, be sure to pull the covers taught. And, tie all covers firmly at the furniture’s base.