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When the summer sun shines and the mercury in the thermometer starts to rise, many of us love to get outside and enjoy the pleasant weather while we can.
Whether it's hosting a barbecue with family and friends, soaking up the rays with a cold drink and a good book or getting green fingered and doing a spot of gardening, the summer is a time when everyone can enjoy the great outdoors.
In most situations, you'll find yourself using garden furniture which can be a great way to provide functional seating and table areas that also look great - as long as you look after it properly.
A barbecue is a great way to enjoy your garde during the summer, but it may result in spillages on your wooden garden furniture. Follow our tips to ensure that your furniture survives and is kept in good condition, no matter what it is exposed to. Image credit: picjumbo.com.
Wooden garden furniture: Benefits & problems
Wooden garden furniture in particular is popular with many people as it lends itself well to the natural environment of a garden with its earthy brown colours. Many woods are also tough and durable and able to stand the test of time and weather, while steps can be taken to prolong the life of such furniture.
If wooden garden furniture is left untreated or isn't properly cared for, it can become damaged or may rot, leaving it useless and needing to be replaced.
Maintaining & caring for your wooden garden furniture
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you can enjoy your summer without needing to worry about replacing garden furniture every year.
So whether you have an old set of furniture that you want to take better care of, or you've just bought a new set that you want to maintain for as long as possible, follow these easy tips:
Step 1: Treatment
Many woods contain natural oils that mean they are able to withstand the natural weathering process for long periods. However, over time the wood can become discoloured, often turning a silver-grey colour. This is actually not a sign of weakness; it is simply a natural process and many people actually enjoy the vintage and distressed appearance that it results in.
However, others may wish to preserve the wood's original colour or to apply a stain that matches the theme and vibe of their garden. Using a dedicated wood treatment product such as Cuprinol Shed and Fence Protector or Ronseal Shed and Fence Preserver can help to preserve the wood's colour and strength.
Step 2: Cleaning
Outdoor furniture is exposed to many elements and hazards. As well as the weather, it is highly likely that wooden furniture, particularly chairs and tables, will come into contact with food and drink. After all, what is the point of garden furniture if you can't enjoy a spot of al fresco dining?
Some woods can be stained by certain substances, such as wine, fatty foods or oil-based condiments like tomato ketchup.
Where possible, you could try to avoid these stains by placing a table cloth over a table. If spillages do occur, wipe them up immediately. Wooden garden furniture can be cleaned with warm soapy water, and many stains can be removed by sanding down the wood.
It's also a good idea to wipe wooden furniture down before use in the summer, and also before packing away at the end of the season ahead of winter.
Step 3: Covering
Although some woods are resistant to weather and the elements, it can be a useful idea to offer added protection to your garden furniture by covering it.
Garden furniture covers are available in a range of sizes to offer additional shelter, and this can be particularly helpful in preventing damage caused by excessive rainfall and water pooling, or damage from insects or termites.
Step 4: Storing
When it comes to the end of summer, it will become more important than ever to protect your garden furniture. Excessive exposure to rainfall and freezing conditions may cause the wood to rot or split, so a cover is a wise investment.
If your furniture is moveable, such as a table and chair set, it can also pay to move it to an area that is sheltered or shaded, and to a place where water is unable to pool on the seats or around the legs. If you have the space, you could also move it entirely away from the elements by storing it in a shed or garage when it is not in use.
Make your furniture last
Whenever you have furniture in your garden, you need to remember that it's bound to be affected in some way. Whether it's from food spillages at family barbecues, or weathering from the changes in the conditions outside, it's impossible to keep your furniture completely free from hazards.
However, following the tips above is a simple and easy way to keep your wooden garden furniture well maintained so that it lasts for years.