Patio furniture can make or break your home’s outdoor appeal, its important to find long-lasting furniture that can handle the days of rain, wind, and snow. I know that patio furniture is expensive so buying these pieces you want them to last many years of backyard gatherings, both big and small.
Depending on your location you might only have time to use your patio furniture in the warmer months of the year. Winter brings snow and extreme cold leaving patio furniture abandoned during the winter season. The real question is does snow harm my outdoor furniture and can patio furniture be left outside in the winter?
Yes, you can leave patio furniture outside in the winter. It is vital to properly protect and seal your patio furniture when left outside in winter months. However, if your location receives heavy loads of snow it is highly recommended to place patio furniture in storage to prevent any damages.
Snow can damage outdoor furniture in a number of ways, the heavyweight can bend and crack patio furniture easily. The constant pressure plus fluctuating temperatures can make it even more likely for the snow to cause furniture damage.
Patio furniture is made from different materials; all with their unparalleled durability and resistance to either heat or cold. Not all of them are made for winter. Some materials can easily get damaged with snow, the freezing temperature, or even the dampness or moisture that the season brings.
Now its time I discuss the patio furniture types that can be left outside in the winter, those that can’t be, how to store them, and how to prepare your furniture for the winter.
Table of Contents
- What Patio Furniture Can Be Left Outside During Winter?
- Types of Patio Furniture to Store During the Winter
- Just Remember the 3 C’s: Clean, Coat, & Cover.
- Knowing the Right Type of Patio Furniture That Can Be Left Outside in the Winter
What Patio Furniture Can Be Left Outside During Winter?
There are just a few types of patio furniture that can be left outside in the winter, while some can’t. Also, you have to consider where you live since it will help you tell how much snow you’ll be expecting for the season. It is also possible that your area will experience hail that can be even more damaging to furniture.
Here’s a list of patio furniture types that can be left outside the winter:
Wooden Patio Furniture
Yes, you got that right. Wood. But this doesn’t mean ALL wood.
Most wooden furniture made for outdoors is treated to withstand extreme weather. That doesn’t mean, though, that it won’t wear as time passes. You would need to re-paint, re-treat, or re-stain your wooden furniture as time goes.
Can Teak Furniture Be Left Outside in Winter?
Yes, teak furniture can be left outside during the winter but it is recommended to cover it with a breathable material. Also, properly protecting teak wood with teak oils make teak furniture much stronger against harsh winters.
Wood furniture can be left outside all year if properly treated and cared for. If untreated lumber is left out in winter expect it to quickly rot. I recommend covering wooden furniture with durable breathable material for the best possible protection, breathable to prevent mold.
Read my detailed article about how to treat untreated wood for outdoor use. This is if you built your own furniture, but can still apply to other outdoor wooden pieces!
Plastic Patio Furniture
You never have to worry about plastic furniture since it doesn’t rust, and they’re entirely water-resistant. Just make sure that they are not too light that they can be blown away should it become windy to prevent more significant damage to your (or other people’s) property.
Some brands of outdoor plastic patio furniture are known to be extremely weather-resistant. These pieces will hold up through 12 months of the year and require little maintenance, it’s one of the best choices if you want winter resistant patio furniture.
The best type of plastic patio furniture is thick and durable, usually it is the recycles furniture pieces that are built to look like wood. My favorite plastic brand is called POLYWOOD and another great one is called PolyTEAK, they are made of thick weather-resistant recycled plastic and will hold up all seasons of the year!
Recycled plastic furniture and resin will have almost no issues in the winter months, but cheap plastic patio furniture is likely to crack and fall apart from wind and snow.
Types of Patio Furniture to Store During the Winter
Now that we know what patio furniture types can be left outside in the winter let’s go to the other side: what you can’t leave outside.
Note, though, that there are some materials above that you can only leave outside if it is treated. Otherwise, you should be careful of those that are made of wood, steel, and teak.
Metal Patio Furniture
One of the biggest problems with metal is that it can get rusty and corrode. So, make sure that your metal furniture is treated before you decide if you wanted to leave them out during the winter.
Can Aluminum Furniture Be Left Outside in Winter?
Aluminum is quite water-resistant but not recommended outside in winter months. As a metal, there might be parts that are not treated against snow and moisture, which means these areas can see rust rather quickly.
Store metal patio furniture inside somewhere to prevent rust and corrosion, this is the best option for metal furniture. In light winters you can get away with covering, but you still have a high chance of rusting.
Wicker Style Furniture
Wicker is a woven design and not actually a material, however, a lot of this style furniture is cheaply available and is not recommended for winter use. It can easily crack and rot under the snow, even the temperatures and moisture can cause serious damage.
Wicker should be stored inside. The only time you can leave it out is if there is limited snow and you have a piece of higher-quality wicker furniture, such as high-quality rattan which is mentioned below.
Rattan Patio Furniture
Can rattan furniture be left outside in winter? It is safe to leave high-quality rattan furniture out for the winter if you’re in a location that experiences light snowfall only. Rattan is mostly waterproof, and it can stand the cold weather. However, do not leave cheap rattan furniture out in the winter, it will quickly break apart.
If you want to make sure it will be protected, you can cover them. Just make sure to bring in any cushions that come with it, especially if they’re not waterproof.
In light snowfalls only, heavy snow will break rattan furniture quickly and can cause metal frames to rust.
Outdoor Stone Furniture
You might think stone furniture can be left outside the house during the winter. However, stones have natural cracks in them giving room for moisture and air to pass through. The continuous exposure to extreme heat and cold expands and contracts the stone. As a result, stones can crack and ruin your furniture.
Temperature changes with moisture inside stone can cause cracks in stone furniture. The damage may not be instantaneous. Sure, you can put it out in the winter but the weather changes it will eventually catch up to it, causing it to be brittle and finally break. Certain rock furniture will have no issue in your area, be aware of the materials used to build the rock piece you are dealing with.
Many have stone built into your outdoor decor, it can last a long time if taken care of. I know stone, brick, and other similar materials are not going to be picked up and stored easily. Make sure to seal these items and cover them appropriately.
Wrought iron may be durable, but iron is susceptible to getting rust and corrosion. To be sure, bring them in during the winter. Wrought Iron furniture can be costly and storing these will only help make them last for many years!
Before storing them, make sure to remove any rust and apply a corrosion-resistant finish to it so it won’t rust any further while being stored. The less moisture in the storage the better!
Can Patio Furniture Cushions Be Left Outside in Winter?
Do not leave patio furniture cushions outside in the winter. Patio cushions are meant to be stored whenever rain or snow is in the forecasted weather. If the cushion becomes wet for a long period of time you risk mold and mildew.
Nobody wants some soggy, wet, and smelly furniture outside when winter is over. Store the fabrics to avoid the mess!
Where to Store Patio Furniture in the Winter?
If your patio furniture is made of materials that can’t be left outside during the winter, then it is essential to know how and where to properly store them to make sure they are still in tiptop shape when winter is over.
Here are some ideas on where to store your patio furniture during winter:
- Storage unit
- Friends or family with space
- Cottage or Cabin
Just Remember the 3 C’s: Clean, Coat, & Cover.
Clean It Up
You have to clean your furniture whether you need to store it inside or leave it out in the patio. This is to make sure that there is no dust or debris, or that it is dry before storing.
For plastic and synthetic tweak or rattan, you can just spray a disinfectant and wipe it off clean.
For metals, make sure that you brush its corners and other hard-to-clean areas. Also, check for rust so you can remove them.
For wood, you can scrub it with a mixture of water, ammonia, vinegar, and baking soda and air-dry.
For fabric, make sure to wash them depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some can be dry cleaned while others can be machine washed lightly.
Coat the Surface
There are furniture materials that need a bit of coating before you store them.
Wood, for example, needs a protective sealant to protect it from being damaged from the moisture. This is true for both that you’ll store inside and the ones you can leave outside. These protective solvents can be various wood oils that are designed specifically for your piece of furniture. Teak, Tung, Linseed, Mineral, Walnut, Danish, and many other types of wood oils designed for outdoor use.
If you are wondering the best oil for outdoor wood furniture it is teak oil because of its ultimate penetration deep into the wood, it provides the best weather resistance.
You can apply rust-and-corrosion-resistant finish on metals, aluminum, and wrought-iron. Treat it to prevent them from rusting. Because leaving them indoors doesn’t always mean they are safe from getting wet. There’s always moisture in the air, and that’s what you want to protect your furniture from.
Cover with Breathable Material
Lastly, find a perfect cover for your furniture. Look for one with a breathable material to prevent moisture from forming underneath it. Moisture can cause your furniture to rust, break, or build up mold and mildew.
Take a look at our guide on how to shrink wrap outdoor furniture here.
There are different types of furniture cover that you can buy online. You can also have them custom-made if your furniture does not fit the standard sizing of covers. Just make sure they are made out of materials that keep them dry, and away from moisture.
I decided to list the 10 best winter covers for outdoor furniture, click here to see the list!
Knowing the Right Type of Patio Furniture That Can Be Left Outside in the Winter
Winter is indeed a tricky season, especially for the outdoors. There are a lot of things to take care of in your garden before winter comes—the lawn, the furniture – just about anything.
Determining what material your patio furniture is made of is already a significant step towards protecting it from winter and preserving its excellent condition. Once you know what type of furniture it is, you could decide whether you keep them inside or just leave them outside.
Don’t forget the 3 C’s in ‘winterizing’ or preparing your furniture for the season.
Clean them from any debris that might grow or multiply if left outside in the cold and damp environment. Make sure to dry them up before proceeding to the next step.
Coat them with a protective finish, so you’re assured that your wood or metal furniture won’t break or rust. Let the coating dry and have them prepped for covering.
Cover them up with breathable material. Most patio furniture covers sold online are made of polyester, so you might want to take note of that if you want it to be custom-made. There are also patio furniture covers for stackable chairs and seating that you can buy online.
These may seem like too many steps to prepare. But remember that it is better to be safe by protecting them and knowing that you can save money with it. After all, damaged furniture does not qualify for any insurance claims. Protecting your furniture is not only prolonging their life but your savings, too.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.