Wooden outdoor furniture lays the foundation for summertime dining al fresco, an afternoon read in the sun, and countless dinner parties. You’ve found the perfect set, and the last thing you want is for it to dry out, crack, or worse– rot. So what can be done? Here, we give some tips on how to maintain your outdoor wood furniture and keep it looking and feeling great for a lifetime.
There are a couple of factors that go into determining how to care for your outdoor furniture: the type of wood you have, and the kind of climate you live in. These two things make a huge difference in the maintenance of your wares.
Many people like the aged, greyish look that most wood furniture acquires over time, but it still requires upkeep. Furniture made from Teak and Acacia Wood, for example, ages beautifully, but still needs seasonal cleaning and application of oil to prevent rotting, especially in dryer climates. If you’re using the furniture for dining, more oil application is usually suggested. Acacia Wood will also crack at first but will smooth out over time naturally. In the United States, Oxford Garden Furniture is one of the largest manufacturers of Shorea Wood, a tropical alternative to Teak. This type of wood has a higher oil content and naturally resists rotting, but oil can be applied for cosmetic purposes, and is also suggested in dryer climates.
So, in dryer climates, many types of wood require a little more maintenance.
Cedar furniture, however, may be the exception to the rule. Regardless of climate, it can easily last decades with the proper treatment. With regular cleaning, applying a preservative, and plenty of time in the sun, your Cedar pieces will last for years to come. It can be treated with oils and other finishes, but can always be brought back to its original look. It is recommended, however, that you don’t leave it in dark or shady areas for extended periods of time, and legs or other areas that touch the ground will require more attention to avoid rotting.
Not only does your wood furniture require protection from the sun, it also needs protection from water and other elements. Let’s say you’ve bought a pair of wooden rocking chairs for the porch of your beach house. You should apply a wax or protective coating to help protect against ocean air and water, and cover them when not in use. The same goes for rainy days, winter, and wet seasons. It’s best to have covers for your furniture, and if they get wet, to let them sufficiently dry out in the sun afterward to prevent them from rotting.
While weather and wood-type will determine your furniture preservation regime, one thing stays true across the board: seasonal cleaning is a must. There are multiple methods, but most involve a household cleaner, a bristle brush, and a little elbow grease. Rinse with fresh water and your work is done.
|Wood Type||Care in Dry Climates||Care in Moist Climates|
|Acacia Wood||Apply oil seasonally to maintain moisture, and clean every few months. Cracks and grooves are natural and will smooth over time.||Cover when not in use and be sure to dry out if wood gets wet. Apply a layer of wax or oil to protect from moisture.|
|Cedar||Keep in the sun as much as possible, clean seasonally and apply a preservative to maintain its look. Oils or paints can be applied for cosmetic purposes.||Apply a protective coating and cover when not in use.|
|Shorea Wood||Oil application is mainly for cosmetic purposes, but is suggested in exceptionally dry climates.||Oil application is not necessary because of Shorea’s high oil content, but covering when not in use will help prevent rotting.|
|Teak||Occasional oil application will help prevent rotting and will provide a protective layer, especially with furniture used for dining.||Cover when not in use and apply a protective coating seasonally.|
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