Does Patio Furniture Need to be Covered? Can it Get Wet?


Not everyone has enough room to bring in their patio furniture during the colder months, so covering patio furniture is one of the best options for protecting it from the elements. And, while most patio furniture is, of course, made for outdoors, there are some materials used in manufacturing that make patio furniture more susceptible to water damage.

Manufacturers usually design patio furniture to be water-resistant, so it’s okay if they get wet. However, regardless of how weather-resistant your furniture is, it is still important to cover them when needed and take different precautions against impending weather damage.

Though it is easy to buy patio furniture with water and weather-resistant features, you should take preemptive measures to protect your furniture. Luckily, there is a myriad of ways to extend your patio furniture’s lifespan through careful planning. Read on for more on covering patio furniture and whether or not it can get wet.

Do You Need to Cover Patio Furniture?

Though patio furniture is purposefully designed to withstand rain and weather damage, coverings are an effective way to keep furniture from breaking down too early. Besides rain, there are other weather and other hazards to look out for that can damage patio furniture.

There a many types of protective coverings available for patio furniture. These coverings are designed to protect furniture from rain and other possible hazards like bird poop and sun damage. It’s recommended you put it on at night to protect from dirt, wind, and other possible problems. Here are the features you should look for when purchasing.

  • Water-resistance: Completely waterproof isn’t a good idea for patio furniture, especially those with fabric. Frequently it can lead to mildew and mold because it isn’t breathable.
  • UV protection: Sunshine is the secret enemy of patio furniture! Buy thicker covers, so it is more resistant.
  • Breathable vents: Buy some with vents to prevent mildew and water buildup from condensation.
  • Fit to Size: To avoid losing money or damaging your furniture, make sure you buy the right covering size. Some manufacturers even make custom covers for certain patio furniture. Check to make sure if yours does!
  • Cloth Backing: The best coverings have a soft cloth backing to avoid scratching or rubbing your furniture’s finish. This is beneficial, especially for wood-framed furniture.
  • Tie-Downs: These are drawstrings at the bottom of the covers to help secure it to the furniture in case of strong wind and storms.

Can Patio Furniture Get Wet?

As a rule, most patio furniture is water-resistant but not waterproof. This means they can get wet but will accumulate damage and wear over time, especially if left uncovered or tended to.

Manufacturers don’t make patio furniture completely waterproof because it won’t be as comfortable and could lead to mold or mildew development in some furniture. For example, when the fabric on patio furniture is completely encased in plastic or vinyl padding, it will develop mold or mildew because the fabric underneath can’t breathe properly.

Here’s a quick video from Home Depot explaining the different patio furniture materials with more info on each materials durability and recommendations below:

How Patio Furniture Materials Are Affected by Weather and Water

Patio furniture comes in a variety of different materials, each with its pros and cons. Because patio furniture isn’t full-proof living exposed to rain, wind, and sunshine, it is helpful to become familiar with these different materials.

When looking through the various materials, consider which ones would best suit your needs in terms of environment and budget. Some materials are better suited for milder, humid climates, while others perform best in dry, arid climates.

Wood

Amongst all the materials, wood has the most variety to choose from. There are hardwoods like shorea, teak, and peak that last longer because they are denser and sturdier. On the other hand, there are softwoods like fir, cedar, acacia, and pine that have natural weather resistance.

Wood, compared to most other materials, is very vulnerable to the elements. Over time, cracks can appear, which you’ll need to seal to prevent further damage. Usually, it is fine to leave it outside, but take steps to keep it from fading too fast, like using protective sealants that seal the wood from moisture year-round.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesNo, but it is recommended

Wicker

Made from a vine-like plant in the tropics called rattan, wicker furniture is easy to clean, resistant to all weather conditions, and easy to move because of its lightweight. However, under extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, there is the possibility of damage.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesNo, but it is recommended for extreme weather

Iron

Iron furniture is very heavy, which makes it ideal for stormy and windy climates. However, it is susceptible to rust. If the rusting becomes very serious, you’ll need to replace it. Look for furniture with a pre-applied protective coating and look into different sealants you can buy to remove and slow down possible rusting.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesYes, during the winter and rainy seasons

Plastic

Plastic furniture is very convenient if you need to move it or place it in a non-permanent location. They are almost completely waterproof and do well in humid climates. However, because they are so lightweight, they can easily be blown by the wind.

Cold also makes it brittle, so it’s best not to keep it in really cold settings. Also, out of all the materials, it has the most negative impact on the environment.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesNo, but it should be stored during the winter

Aluminum

Out of all the materials, aluminum cast furniture is the most weather-resistant and durable. It is lightweight, rust-proof, and has a powder coating as extra protection from the weather. It requires minimal care beyond an occasional wipe down. However, because aluminum is lightweight, it can dent if hit with something heavy or blow away in heavy wind.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesNo, but it is recommended

Stainless Steel

Like aluminum, stainless steel is a refined metal made to resist weather damage. It won’t dent as easily as aluminum and is slightly heavier, so it won’t blow away as easily.

It is lighter than cast iron, so it won’t be as difficult to move around. When exposed to saltwater, brown spots can appear. However, they aren’t corrosive, and you can easily wipe them off.

Can it Get Wet?Does it Need to be Covered?
YesNo, but it is recommended

Patio furniture also comes with a large variety of fabrics, which attach to a frame. And like the frames, there are many fabrics to look through and choose from.

How Patio Furniture Materials Are Affected by Weather and Water

Usually, manufacturers make fabrics on patio furniture porous, so they are more breathable and don’t develop mold or mildew under the surface. This is also true for cushions or pillows you’d like to add as decoration. These types of fabrics can better protect the furniture frame, especially for wicker or wood.

Needless to say, there are multiple types of fabrics and to be familiar with:

  • Quick-Dry Foam: A standard filling in most outdoor cushions.
  • Acrylic Fabrics: Rain-resistant, easy to clean, and smooth to the touch.
  • Polyester Fabrics: Coarser looking but very durable, especially against heavy rain.
  • Polypropylene: A nonwoven textile made from plastic that doesn’t absorb water but lets it pass through. Susceptible to heat.
  • Synthetic Resin or Resin Wicker: Synthetic fiber resistant to UV, rain, and humidity. Susceptible to extreme heat.

Knowing the variety of materials used for and on patio furniture, it’s clear there are many materials available that withstand many types of weather.

Here’s a quick video talking about some ways to protect patio furniture with more info below:

Other Steps to Protect Your Patio Furniture

No material will last forever, especially if barraged repeatedly by extreme weather conditions. Thankfully there are simple steps you can take to extend your patio furniture’s lifespan.

Check Your Furniture Often

Make sure to give your furniture regular checkups to make sure there are no cracks, rusting, molding, or other problems. A good time to do this is at the beginning of each new season.

Apply a Protective Coating

Through the wear and tear of every season, it’s good to remember to apply protective coatings to your patio furniture. This is especially true for wooden and iron-framed furniture. You can do it every season or choose to do it every other season, depending on your furniture’s physical condition.

Be sure to carefully read the instructions for any protective coating product to ensure you properly coat your furniture and keep yourself safe from fumes from the product.

Install or Buy an Awning

Installing or buying an awning is a simple way to protect your patio furniture from mild threats, and it also provides a nice shade. You can have it professionally installed or look for a portable awning like a shade canopy. If you opt for a portable awning, secure it into the ground or have it weighed down properly. Otherwise, they could blow away or possibly damage your furniture.

Store Your Patio Furniture During the Winter

Conscientious winter protection is a must for anyone with patio furniture. Temporarily storing away your furniture during winter will protect it from snow, ice, and rain. Put it somewhere dry and enclosed.

It is also optional to even use some of this furniture indoors. It might also be beneficial to temporarily cover your furniture using plastic wrap to keep it safe from dust or unexpected weather problems.

Conclusion

Patio furniture in all its varieties functions effectively even when left exposed to rain and other outside hazards. Though this doesn’t mean it will be waterproof and won’t in due time wear down, you can still find ways to keep your furniture safe by covering it and taking simple steps to protect it.

Robert Sampson

I'm Robert Sampson and I live in Colorado where I spend a lot of time in the backyard with my family either grilling, playing games and sports, or working on a project to make our backyard a better place to be.

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