Can You Leave Wicker Furniture Outside in the Winter?

Wicker furniture is a popular choice for outdoor spaces, but with winter approaching, many homeowners may wonder if it’s safe to leave wicker furniture out in the snow. 

You should keep wicker furniture indoors during the winter. Cold weather can cause the wicker to crack, while snow can cause physical damage, and if it gets wet it can grow mold and mildew.

In this article, we’ll explore what happens if you leave your wicker furniture in the snow, whether you can repair snow damaged wicker patio furniture, tips for storing your wicker patio furniture in the winter and the possibilities of covering wicker patio furniture to protect it from the elements.

What Happens if You Leave Your Wicker Furniture in Snow?

Leaving wicker furniture out in the snow can do a lot of damage to the material. Wicker is often made from natural fibers like rattan or bamboo, and is not designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. When exposed to snow and freezing temperatures, the fibers can become brittle and may even break, leading to permanent damage.

This happens when water gets inside the wicker and then freezes, causing it to expand and break. If the wicker gets soaked in water, it is more likely to grow mold and mildew too. Once the mold sets in, it’s very tough to clean it off without causing more damage to the furniture, so prevention is key.

Synthetic wicker is becoming more popular because it’s far more durable. It is water-resistant so it shouldn’t grow mold or mildew if you leave it out in the snow. It also has UV inhibitors in it so it won’t fade in the sun. However, it’s not indestructible and it will eventually get damaged if you leave it out all winter, especially if you get very cold weather. Ideally, you should still take the same steps to protect synthetic wicker furniture from the elements if you want it to last a long time.

Can You Repair Snow Damaged Wicker Patio Furniture?

It is possible to repair some types of snow damage to wicker furniture, but it can be a difficult and time-consuming job. If the wicker is too brittle and broken, it may be impossible to repair. However, if the damage is limited to discoloration or mildew, or small breaks, it may be possible to clean and restore the furniture.

Cleaning products specifically designed for wicker furniture can be effective in removing mold and mildew, and a coat of clear varnish can help to protect the fibers from further damage. Clear coats like polyurethane are great for protecting wicker furniture, and you’ll get the best results before it has been damaged, so it’s a good idea to coat new furniture soon.

It is possible to repair the individual reeds if they are cracked or water damaged. To start with, you need to identify what type of reed your wicker furniture is made from. It may be a natural fiber like rattan or bamboo or it could be synthetic. Try to match the color as closely as possible too (but don’t worry if you can’t because you can paint or stain at the end).

Contact the place where you bought the furniture from first as they may sell replacement strands of the same wicker. If not, you can go to a wicker dealer and they’ll have plenty of options. If possible, take a sample of the old reed to show them so they can get a good match. You’ll find it easier to get natural fibers than synthetic ones. 

When you are buying wicker strands, measure the length of the area you need to replace, like the width of the seat, for example. Then, add some extra length to account for weaving the strand. Usually, strands are sold in 36-inch lengths or more, so you may have to buy more than you need. It’s always better to have excess to trim off at the end rather than running out halfway through the job, so overestimate your measurements.

Once you have found the right wicker strands, you then need to pull out the damaged ones and weave the new ones in. When they are all fixed, you can then stain or paint the wicker furniture to get the colors to match (if you couldn’t find the same wicker) and then give it a clear coat over the top to protect it.

Read my related post: Can You Restore Dried-Out Wicker Patio Furniture?

Storing Your Wicker Patio Furniture in the Winter

The best way to protect wicker furniture from snow and freezing temperatures is to store it indoors during the winter months. If you have space, move the furniture into a garage, shed or bring it indoors to a spare room or basement. If you don’t have the space to store your furniture indoors you could even consider a storage unit.

Wherever you store it, it’s vital that you avoid damp areas. Be careful when putting furniture in a basement, for example, because damp conditions will cause mold to grow on the wicker and the cushions.

Can You Get Away with Covering Wicker Patio Furniture in the Winter?

Can You Get Away with Covering Wicker Patio Furniture in the Winter

If you have resin or synthetic wicker furniture, it is more durable than standard wicker. You may be able to get away with covering it up over the winter and if you only get a little bit of snow, it shouldn’t get seriously damaged. You can see the best patio furniture covers for winter here in this post.

However, it is not completely foolproof. Furniture covers are designed to protect your furniture from the elements, but they are not fully water-proof. If the cover becomes saturated with water, it may not be able to keep your furniture dry.

Additionally, furniture covers can be bulky and may not fit properly, leaving some areas of your furniture exposed to the elements. Even if it is protected from the water, ice and snow builds up and the weight can crack the furniture. So, only use covers if you absolutely have to and, if possible, keep the furniture indoors instead.

If you need to use covers, choosing the right ones is crucial. Firstly, get the most accurate size possible so the cover fits snugly around the furniture. It should cover the whole thing, without being too loose. An oversized cover leaves lots of gaps for water to get in. Check the material of the cover too. Polyester is the best choice because it can be made water-resistant, and it’s very breathable, so you are less likely to get a buildup of mold and mildew. It doesn’t stretch too much either, so if you get the right size, you can get a tight fit.

Final Thoughts

Snow and ice can ruin your wicker furniture overnight and even though you can repair it, it’s a lengthy process. If you want to avoid replacing strands every single year, you need to protect the furniture. Putting a clear coat of polyurethane over the furniture gives it some protection, but proper storage is the most important thing. Ideally, keep it indoors, somewhere dry and damp-free over the winter and you can extend its lifespan a lot.

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