Outdoor Furniture 101

How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture From the Devastating Elements

Follow this extensive, expert guide to protecting your outdoor furniture from the elements and nothing will be able to rain on your parade.

How do I protect my outdoor furniture from humidity?

If you live in a humid area like Florida, then you'll want to do everything in your power to stop this moist menace from damaging your outdoor patio sectionals. Stay dry with these tips.

  • Proper placement: Position your outdoor furniture strategically. Avoid placing it directly on damp ground or in areas prone to stagnant water, which can accelerate moisture-related issues.
  • Elevated elegance: Elevate your furniture slightly using risers or leg caps to create a small gap between the furniture and the ground. This helps prevent direct contact with moisture and encourages airflow.
  • Ventilation vigilance: Allow proper ventilation around your furniture. Avoid arranging pieces too closely, as this can hinder air circulation and potentially lead to humidity-related problems.
  • Regular cleaning: Regularly clean your furniture to remove accumulated dirt and moisture. This not only enhances its appearance but also prevents mold and mildew growth.
  • Covering consideration: During particularly humid periods, covering your outdoor furniture with breathable, water-resistant covers can offer temporary protection. Ensure the covers have adequate ventilation to prevent trapped moisture.
  • Absorbent allies: Place moisture-absorbing materials, like silica gel packets or charcoal briquettes, strategically around your furniture. These help absorb excess moisture and maintain a drier environment.

If you follow this advice, then humidity will never be able to dampen your spirits (or harm your outdoor furniture).

How does outdoor furniture not get moldy?

Outdoor furniture is designed and constructed with specific features and materials that contribute to its resistance against mold growth. Here's why outdoor furniture tends to remain mold-free:

  • Material composition: Many outdoor furniture materials, such as aluminum, wrought iron, and synthetic wicker, are non-porous and inherently resistant to moisture absorption. These surfaces provide less favorable conditions for mold to take hold and grow.
  • Quick moisture evaporation: Outdoor furniture is designed to shed water quickly. Surfaces are often angled or contoured to allow rainwater to drain away, preventing prolonged dampness that encourages mold development.
  • Resistant finishes: Many outdoor furniture pieces are coated with weather-resistant finishes or protective coatings. These finishes not only safeguard against the elements but also create surfaces that are less conducive to mold growth.

In essence, outdoor furniture's mold resistance stems from a combination of material properties, design features, and maintenance practices that collectively create an environment where mold finds it difficult to flourish. Score!

How do you weather protect outdoor furniture?

Two soldiers sitting armed and in fatigues on outdoor furniture as if they were guarding it

If you want to be a responsible patio sofa owner, then learning how to protect it from the weather is essential. Here's how!

  • Regular cleaning ritual: Incorporate a routine cleaning regimen into your maintenance routine. Regularly remove dirt, debris, and accumulated moisture, preventing the buildup of elements that can compromise your furniture's integrity.
  • Protective covers: Equip your furniture with breathable, waterproof covers. These covers act as a protective shield during inclement weather, preventing direct exposure to rain and reducing the risk of water damage.
  • Umbrellas and shelters: Consider adding outdoor umbrellas or creating sheltered areas. These additions provide your furniture with an added layer of defense against sun and rain, extending their longevity.
  • Application of sealants: Consider applying weather-resistant sealants or treatments designed for your furniture's material. These treatments enhance their ability to withstand the elements, from rain to sun exposure.
  • Storage during extreme weather: During severe weather conditions, consider storing removable parts indoors. This prevents them from being subjected to excessive rain, wind, or sun exposure.

Implement these weather protection tips and you'll be able to actually enjoy your patio couch set, rather than stressing about it any time the sky turns gray.

How do you keep morning dew off outdoor furniture?

Dew or dew not, there is no try. Morning dew might seem like an inevitable enemy of your small outdoor sectional, but there are several ways to keep your furniture dew free.

  • Covering confidence: Equip your furniture with protective covers during the night. Waterproof and breathable covers create a barrier against morning dew, ensuring your furniture remains dry and ready for use.
  • Absorbent aids: Place moisture-absorbing materials around your furniture. Silica gel packets or absorbent towels can help soak up excess moisture, preventing dew from lingering.
  • Use of umbrellas or canopies: Consider using umbrellas or canopies during the night. These coverings shield your furniture from direct exposure to dew and provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Hydrophobic coatings: Apply hydrophobic coatings to your furniture's surfaces. These coatings repel water, preventing dew from adhering and maintaining dryness.

Implement these morning dew-defying strategies and you'll foster an outdoor furniture haven that confidently repels dew's advances while enhancing its visual allure.

How do I protect my outdoor couch from rain?

outdoor bubble couch

If you take the necessary precautions for protecting your outdoor couch from rain, then you'll never need to fear the weather forecast. Here's how it's done.

  • Weather-resistant materials: Begin by selecting weather-resistant materials for your outdoor couch. Opt for choices like aluminum, teak, or all-weather wicker that naturally repel moisture and resist water damage.
  • Waterproof covers: Equip your outdoor couch with waterproof covers when not in use. These covers act as a protective shield against rain, ensuring your couch remains dry and pristine.
  • Elevate and drain: Elevate your outdoor couch slightly to facilitate drainage. This prevents rainwater from pooling on surfaces and allows water to flow away, reducing the risk of water damage.
  • Maintain cushions: Store removable cushions indoors during rain or use waterproof cushion covers. This prevents cushions from becoming waterlogged and ensures they remain dry and comfortable.
  • Application of sealants: Apply water-resistant sealants or protective treatments to your couch's surfaces. These treatments create an additional layer of defense against rain and moisture penetration.
  • Umbrellas and canopies: Consider using umbrellas or canopies for additional rain protection. These coverings shield your outdoor couch from direct rain exposure and offer an umbrella of comfort.

If you proactively implement these precautions then your outdoor furniture will be able to weather any storm.

What happens to an outdoor sofa when it rains?

Worried about what will happen to your outdoor chaise lounge cushion when it rains? Here's a breakdown of what rain can do to your outdoor patio couch.

  • Water exposure: When rain falls on an outdoor sofa, the surfaces are subjected to moisture exposure. The sofa's cushions, frame, and fabric can absorb rainwater, potentially leading to dampness.
  • Moisture retention: If not promptly addressed, moisture can be retained within the sofa's components. This can contribute to an environment conducive to mold growth, which is undesirable for both aesthetics and health.
  • Material interaction: The impact of rain varies based on the materials used in the sofa's construction. Water-resistant materials like aluminum or synthetic wicker may repel rain, while natural fibers like cotton can absorb moisture.
  • Potential for staining: Rainwater can carry contaminants like dirt or pollen, which may cause stains on sofa cushions or fabric. These stains can mar the appearance of the sofa.
  • Cushion concerns: Cushions, if not properly protected, are particularly vulnerable to rain. They can become waterlogged, affecting their comfort and potentially prolonging drying times.

By understanding the consequences of rain and taking timely steps to address them, you're safeguarding your outdoor sofa's longevity and maintaining its visual appeal.

Will a couch get ruined in the rain?

You should always avoid getting an indoor sofa wet, which includes leaving it out in the rain. Rain can certainly damage an indoor couch, but it's not always the end of the world. Here's what happens to a sofa when it gets rained on.

  • Material matters: The couch's material plays a significant role in how it responds to rain. Weather-resistant materials like aluminum or synthetic wicker are less prone to water damage, while natural fabrics like cotton can absorb moisture.
  • Water exposure: Exposure to rain can lead to moisture absorption by the couch's cushions, frame, and fabric. This can potentially result in dampness and discomfort, especially in cushions.
  • Risk of staining: Rainwater may carry dirt, debris, or contaminants that could cause stains on couch cushions and fabric. This risk is higher in lighter-colored fabrics or those with porous textures.
  • Potential for mold growth: If not properly dried, couches exposed to rain may create an environment conducive to mold growth. Mold can affect both the couch's appearance and its hygiene.
  • Quick-drying measures: Swift action is key to minimizing damage from rain. Wiping down surfaces, using towels to absorb moisture, and allowing proper air circulation can aid in quick drying.

Understanding rain's potential impact and implementing protective measures will actively contribute to your couch's well-being and extend its lifespan.

How do you waterproof outdoor furniture?

If you want to make the most of your patio couch, or other outdoor furniture, then we absolutely recommend finding ways to waterproof them. Check out these ideas for waterproofing your outdoor furniture.

  • Weather-resistant finishes: Consider applying weather-resistant coatings or sealants to your furniture's surfaces. These protective layers act as barriers, preventing water from seeping into the furniture's structure.
  • Pre-treatment for wood: If your furniture is wooden, consider pre-treating it with a water-repellent finish. These finishes penetrate the wood fibers, enhancing their resistance to water absorption.
  • Waterproof covers: Equip your furniture with high-quality waterproof covers. These covers shield your furniture from direct rain exposure and prevent moisture penetration.
  • Seam sealing: For cushions and fabric components, ensure seams are properly sealed. Seam sealer or waterproof tape can prevent water from seeping through seams.
  • Cushion considerations: Opt for cushions with water-resistant or waterproof fabrics. These fabrics are designed to repel water and prevent moisture absorption.
  • Fabric treatments: Consider applying fabric waterproofing sprays to upholstery. These sprays create a protective barrier that prevents water from permeating the fabric.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance: Engage in regular cleaning to prevent dirt and debris buildup. Clean surfaces allow waterproofing treatments to work effectively.
  • Reapply waterproofing: Depending on usage and exposure, periodically reapply waterproofing treatments. This ensures continued protection against water intrusion.

By thoughtfully waterproofing your outdoor furniture, you're creating a resilient haven that confidently stands up to rain and moisture, while elevating its aesthetic charm.

Can you paint furniture to make it waterproof?

Painting furniture is absolutely one way to waterproof your furniture, but it's not applicable for every type of home decor. For best results, follow this guide for how you can paint furniture to make it waterproof.

  • Choice of paint: Selecting the right type of paint is essential for waterproofing. Look for exterior or outdoor paint designed to withstand weather conditions and resist moisture.
  • Preparation is key: Thoroughly clean and prepare the furniture before painting. Remove dirt, old paint, and imperfections to create a smooth surface that adheres well to the new paint.
  • Waterproofing primer: Applying a waterproofing primer is crucial. This primer enhances adhesion and provides an initial layer of protection against moisture.
  • Multiple coats: Apply multiple coats of waterproof paint for durability. Each layer adds to the protective barrier, increasing resistance to water penetration.
  • Sealant or topcoat: Consider adding a waterproof sealant or topcoat as a final layer. This additional step further enhances the furniture's ability to repel water.
  • Focused attention: Pay extra attention to vulnerable areas. Corners, edges, and joints are more susceptible to water ingress, so ensure thorough coverage.
  • Mindful Application: Apply paint in a well-ventilated space and follow manufacturer's instructions. This ensures proper adhesion and a successful waterproofing result.
  • Furniture type: Keep in mind that not all furniture may be suitable for waterproofing via painting. Wood, metal, and certain synthetic materials tend to respond well.

If you thoughtfully paint your furniture to enhance its waterproof qualities, then you'll craft a personalized solution that combines aesthetics and functionality.

How do I protect my outdoor furniture in the winter?

The only thing scarier than rain for an outdoor furniture set? Snow. Thankfully we have an exhaustive list of tips for protecting your outdoor furniture, even in the midst of winter.

  • Thorough cleaning: Begin by giving your furniture a thorough cleaning. Remove dirt, debris, and any accumulated grime to prevent potential damage during the winter months.
  • Dry completely: Before winter storage, ensure your furniture is completely dry. Moisture trapped in crevices can lead to mold growth and damage.
  • Store indoors: If possible, store your outdoor furniture indoors during the winter. This protects it from harsh winter conditions, including snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.
  • Use protective covers: Equip your furniture with high-quality, waterproof covers. These covers shield your furniture from snow, rain, and freezing precipitation.
  • Elevate furniture: Elevate your furniture slightly to prevent direct contact with snow or ice. Placing furniture on blocks or risers can help protect it from potential moisture damage.
  • Cushion care: Store removable cushions indoors during winter or use cushion storage bags. This prevents them from becoming damp or waterlogged.
  • Secure components: Secure any removable components or accessories. Store them indoors to prevent damage or loss during winter storms.
  • Regular inspection: Periodically check on your stored furniture during winter. Ensure covers are in place, and address any signs of moisture or damage promptly.
  • Prevent wind exposure: If possible, position furniture storage areas in areas protected from strong winter winds. Wind can contribute to moisture accumulation and potential damage.
  • Winterize materials: For wooden furniture, apply a protective coat of sealant. For metal furniture, consider rust-preventive treatments to maintain their integrity.

If you winterize your outdoor furniture, then you'll nurture its well-being and ensure it emerges from the winter season unscathed and ready for enjoyment.

How do you keep outdoor furniture in good condition?

Outdoor furniture is an investment, which is why you'll want to keep it looking as good as new for as long as you can. Find out how to keep your outdoor furniture in good condition!

  • Regular cleaning routine: Incorporate a consistent cleaning routine into your maintenance regimen. Regularly wipe down surfaces to remove dirt, debris, and environmental buildup.
  • Protective covers: Equip your furniture with high-quality protective covers when not in use. These covers act as a barrier against sun, rain, and dust, preserving your furniture's appearance.
  • Strategic placement: Position your furniture in areas that minimize direct exposure to harsh elements. Sheltered spots and shade help prevent excessive wear and fading.
  • Mindful use of cushions: Use cushions or pillows with removable, washable covers. Regularly wash these covers to keep them clean and fresh.
  • Cushion storage: Store removable cushions indoors when not in use. This prevents prolonged exposure to moisture, sun, and potential fading.
  • Material-specific care: Understand the materials used in your furniture and their maintenance needs. Wood, metal, wicker, and fabric may require different care approaches.
  • Cleaning products: Use mild cleaning products specifically designed for outdoor furniture. Harsh chemicals can damage surfaces and finishes.
  • Prevent rust on metal: Regularly inspect and treat metal furniture for signs of rust. Applying rust-resistant coatings or paint can prevent corrosion.
  • Reapply protective coatings: If your furniture has protective coatings, periodically reapply them. These coatings shield against weather elements and UV rays.
  • Winter care: During colder months, properly winterize and store your furniture. This prevents damage from snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.
  • Timely repairs: Don't delay in addressing repairs or issues. Prompt attention helps maintain your furniture's integrity and appearance.

When you embrace these outdoor furniture care practices, then you'll create a positive routine that helps your favorite furniture withstand time and the elements.

How can I prolong the life of my outdoor furniture?

If you don't want your outdoor furniture investment to become disposable, then you'll need to implement these essential practices that will prolong the life of your outdoor furniture.

  • Seasonal rotation: Implement a seasonal rotation strategy for furniture placement. By varying the exposure to sunlight and weather, you distribute wear more evenly.
  • Regular inspection routine: Engage in a regular inspection routine to detect early signs of wear or damage. This proactive approach allows you to address issues promptly.
  • UV-protective coatings: Explore the application of UV-protective coatings on your furniture's surfaces. These coatings shield against sun-induced fading and damage.
  • Repellent spray for fabrics: Consider using fabric repellent sprays for cushions and pillows. These sprays add a layer of protection against moisture and stains.
  • Regular tightening: Periodically tighten bolts, screws, and joints on your furniture. This prevents wobbling or instability that can lead to premature wear.
  • Proactive rust prevention: For metal furniture, explore rust-inhibiting treatments. These treatments thwart corrosion and extend the furniture's lifespan.
  • Temperature fluctuation awareness: Be aware of temperature fluctuations. Sudden temperature changes can stress materials, so gradual transitions are beneficial.
  • Sheltered storage during off-season: Store your furniture in a sheltered area during the off-season. This safeguards it from extreme weather and prolonged exposure.

Embrace these measures and you'll have a beautiful couch set that lasts through seasons and years.

What furniture does not rust?

Much like humidity, rust is a major concern for your outdoor patio sectionals and patio sofas. So if you want to avoid rust, follow these steps.

  • Aluminum is on the A-list: Aluminum furniture boasts rust resistance in its repertoire. This lightweight champ laughs in the face of rust, making it a prime choice for outdoor settings.
  • Wooden winners: Teak and synthetic wicker furniture showcase their rust-repelling prowess with flair. Teak has natural oils that resist rust, while the synthetic nature of resin wicker is naturally rust proof.
  • Stainless steel steadfastness: Stainless steel furniture practically wrote the manual on rust resistance. Its sleek appearance isn't just for show—it's rust's sworn enemy.
  • Plastic fantastic: Plastic furniture may be lightweight, but its rust resistance is heavyweight. It's like the superhero of the outdoor furniture world, effortlessly thwarting rust's advances.
  • Powder-coated protection: Furniture with a powder-coated finish doesn't just look stylish—it's a rust-repelling force to be reckoned with. The coating forms a barrier against rust, keeping your furniture looking sharp.
  • Iron with integrity: Certain types of iron, like galvanized or powder-coated iron, show rust resistance. These iron variations come prepared to withstand rust's attempts to tarnish their reputation.
  • Fabulous fabric wins: Outdoor fabric furniture, like cushions and covers, doesn't just bring comfort—it's rust's kryptonite. These fabrics are engineered to resist moisture and rust's advances.
  • Concrete coolness: Concrete furniture steps up to the plate with undeniable rust resistance. It's not afraid to get wet, and rust? It's practically a no-show.
  • Marble magic: Marble-topped furniture not only adds elegance—it adds rust resistance to the mix. The natural stone isn't interested in rust's drama.

Avoiding rust doesn't have to be a challenge, which is why following these steps will help you maintain your gorgeous outdoor furniture.

Is it worth covering outdoor furniture?

Yes, it's absolutely worth it to cover your outdoor furniture, which is why we've compiled a list of best practices for you to follow.

  • Protection dance: Covering your outdoor furniture offers a protective dance against the elements. Sun, rain, wind, and even bird droppings—covers create a barrier, preserving your furniture's beauty.
  • Sun shield: Sun's rays are like your furniture's kryptonite. Covers shield against UV rays, preventing fading and sun-induced wear.
  • Rain repellant: Rain can be a sneaky troublemaker. Covers fend off rain, preventing moisture from seeping into cushions and frames, which can lead to mold or rust.
  • Easy cleanup: Cleaning is a breeze with covers in play. When you're ready to use your furniture, a quick wipe removes dust or debris, sparing you from a full-blown cleaning spree.
  • Seasonal savior: Covers help your furniture weather all seasons with dignity. Be it blazing summer or chilly winter, covers extend your furniture's lifespan.
  • Year-round ready: Covers keep your furniture in tip-top shape during off-seasons. Instead of stowing furniture away, covers offer an alternative—ready to use anytime.
  • Preserving aesthetics: The allure of your outdoor space remains intact with covers. Your furniture's colors, patterns, and materials stay vibrant, maintaining your space's appeal.
  • Investment protection: When you invest in quality furniture, covers are your allies. They safeguard your investment, so you enjoy your furniture for years to come.

By covering your outdoor furniture, you're not just adding a layer of protection—you're nurturing a space that beckons you with its charm and comfort, season after season.

A smiling man with short brown hair and a beard stands on a beach during sunset. He is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt with small white dots. The ocean and sandy shore are in the background, creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Alex Back is the founder and CEO of Couch.com. Previously, he was the co-founder and COO of the popular furniture brand, Apt2B, which was acquired by a large US retail furniture chain in 2018. He worked to integrate Apt2B, one of the very first online furniture retailers on the Shopify platform, into the operations of the 100 year old larger business entity and was deeply immersed in the business operations of both online and brick and mortar retail for 4 years before leaving in 2023 to start Couch.com. Working in various parts of the furniture industry since 2004, he has 20 years experience in retail sales, e-commerce, marketing, operations, logistics and wholesale manufacturing and distribution. He has worked extensively with partners such as Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon and his work has been highlighted in many publications such as Forbes, CNN and HGTV, among others. Alex is delighted to bring his experience and authority on couches and the furniture industry to this platform, along with many of his industry colleagues who are helping him keep the Couch.com audience informed and engaged on a daily basis.
Alex Back
Couch.com CEO & Founder