How to protect your outdoor wood furniture in the winter
When it comes to wood outdoor furniture, teak is a favorite, thanks to its impermeability, natural beauty, and resistance to rot and mold. While teak is a durable and low-maintenance hardwood, it also requires some attention and care, particularly in the winter.
Can wood furniture be left outside in the winter?
Of all the hardwoods, teak is the hardest and most durable. It is one of the only woods in the world that has a natural oil content, which acts as a water repellent and keeps it from cracking and warping. That means that with few exceptions, teak patio furniture can be left outside during the winter.
Protecting outdoor wood furniture: maintenance & care
Before you protect your outdoor wood furniture, consider which of teak’s two states you want to preserve. New teak furniture is typically a honey-brown color. When teak furniture is left to age naturally outdoors, these surface oils evaporate and—over the course of 9-12 months—the sun’s UV light will turn the teak’s brown color will into a silver-gray patina. This weathering doesn’t impact the durability of the teak, but it does give the teak a more aged aesthetic.
Within 5-12 months of leaving your teak furniture outdoors in the sun, it will begin to develop a gray patina. You can speed up the process by using a graying agent like Golden Care’s Instant Gray or a whitener—which gives teak more of a silver-grey look—like Golden Care’s Teak Whitener. Both of these also help prevent the adhesion of dirt and mildew.
To maintain the golden-brown hue of new teak, UV protection is an essential step in your teak furniture care regimen. Consider placing your teak pieces under the cover or shade or in an area that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. You can also apply teak oil, color guard, or sealer to prevent the aging process. If your teak has already started to weather, use a good teak cleaner or hand-sand your piece with fine-grit sandpaper, which will remove the outer grey layer and restore the original golden shade. Apply your teak protector directly to the new teak or—for best results—after the furniture has been outside for a few weeks and has been cleaned with teak cleaner. The teak protector should be reapplied once or twice a year to provide continuous protection.
Protecting outdoor wood furniture: cleaning
Cleaning teak furniture once a year with a soft-bristled brush and soapy water will remove most accumulated dirt. To remove and prevent mold and mildew, use a mold and mildew cleaner. To prevent food or drink stains, you can also use a stain-shield solution, which creates a water-based “shield” that prevents stains from seeping through.
It’s also important to know what not to do when it comes to teak furniture care. Avoid pressure-washing teak, which can scour and roughen the wood’s surface, or steel wool, which can create rust spots.
Protecting outdoor wood furniture: covers & storage
When protecting wood furniture in the winter, a high-quality outdoor furniture cover is a must. Make sure to choose a material that allows your furniture to breathe, while also offering protection from the elements. If you plan to store your wood furniture in the winter, deck boxes and patio storage boxes are great options for stowing away smaller furniture pieces.