Outdoors

Simple maintenance can make patio sets last longer

 
 
You can use a pressure washer  to clean some patio furniture.
You can use a pressure washer to clean some patio furniture.
Paul Baucom / Lowe's Home Improvement

Associated Press

Sharing a meal or relaxing on a deck, patio or balcony can be the highlight of the day. Proper care can make your outdoor furniture last for years, especially in South Florida, where it may be exposed to the elements all year round.

Whether you have a pricey patio set or something more modest, experts recommend some simple steps for upkeep.

Often, outdoor furniture “is a bit of an investment, so it makes sense to put effort into protecting and maintaining what you have in your yard,” says Matt Blashaw, a licensed contractor and host of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers.

Cleaning: Many experts recommend regular cleaning of outdoor furniture, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort.

Colleen Maiura, Lowe’s Home Improvement spokeswoman, tells customers to check the manufacturer’s directions before using any cleaning products. For most materials, however, you’ll just need soap and water, she says. Consider using a pressure washer on a low setting (1,200 to 1,350 pounds per square inch) to make the job go even more quickly.

“Monthly cleaning and maintenance can help the furniture maintain a good appearance and make your investment last longer,” she says.

For acrylic cushions, Maiura recommends spot cleaning with a sponge, mild soap and water. While many outdoor cushions are mildew-resistant, you can use a solution of 1 cup bleach, 2 cups detergent and 1 gallon of water to clean. Spray it on, allow it to soak for 30 minutes, then scrub with a sponge or rag.

Fabric pieces such as hammocks and cloth chairs can be machine-washed on gentle. Stretch them back over the frame for the right fit.

Maintenance: Some additional maintenance can keep your set functional and looking fabulous.

For wood, you may need to oil or varnish it, depending on the type. For wicker, you may have to wax it if it’s not water-resistant. Some metal frames require paint touch-ups, but most are made to be rust-resistant or rust-free. If your set is not, consider using paste wax or naval jelly for protection. Some rusted metals can be professionally powder-coated, making them look new again.

Check your manufacturer’s directions or website for details on what maintenance your outdoor furniture requires. You can also find tutorials at sites such as YouTube.com.

Warranties: Blashaw says one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is throwing out furniture instead of making simple repairs with parts covered under warranty.

“Keep the receipt, and if the furniture does not hold up to the regular ‘wear and tear’ promise within the warranty period, contact the manufacturer and get yourself a brand new set,” he says. “Many homeowners throw the warranty card away and, in turn, throw big money in the trash.”

Research before buying: If you’re in the market for a new patio set, consider what maintenance it will require. Do you have time to paint wrought iron, wax wicker or oil teak?

Inspect the furniture closely to make sure there aren’t big gaps in joints that would allow water to warp or rust the pieces, and that the hardware is capped to keep out moisture. Try out the cushions to see if they fit snugly and are comfortable.

According to Consumer Reports, you should check whether the seat height feels right for the table, making sure that armrests aren’t too high to pull chairs close, and that there’s plenty of leg room without feet getting caught up in the table base.

Blashaw notes that maintaining a budget-friendly patio set properly can save you from having to buy an expensive, weather-resistant one.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

  • North Miami Beach

    City arborist serves by tending the trees in North Miami Beach

    NMB’s city arborist sees trees as an amenity that can improve home values, increase city tax income, and make residents happy.

  •  
This upgraded bedroom retreat now features a king size bed, an accent wall featuring a three-piece triptych photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, an ethanol fireplace and an open-concept dressing room with an island.

    Decorating

    Mastering the bedroom in this suite retreat

    Sue and Shouvik are a busy young couple with full-time jobs, a 2-year-old son, and a newborn baby. Life is hectic, and these two need a place to escape the daily hustle and bustle. Their master bedroom is huge but oddly shaped and they struggle with trying to lay out their furniture.

  • Condo Line

    Can manager run for the board of directors?

    Q: The owner of the management company that has a contract with our building is running for the board because some of the owners asked the manager to run. Is there anything wrong with the manager running for the board? It seems to me that this would be a conflict of interest.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category