While the Scottish climate isn’t the most extreme in the world, it’s harsh enough to pose real problems for garden furniture.
Leave your picnic tables and chairs unloved over the winter and you’ll end up with a worthless pile of firewood come spring. Torrential summer rains can rot timber from the inside out, an unexpectedly dry autumn can leave huge cracks and a regular winter freeze can split timbers along the grain.
If it’s to survive outdoors, your furniture requires regular TLC. Thankfully, you don’t need a degree in carpentry and you don’t need weeks of free time to prep your bits and pieces for the year to come.
In this blog, I’ll show you how to keep your furniture looking its best throughout the warm summers, harsh winters and everything in between.
First, the not so fun stuff. All the cobwebs, mud and other dirt need to go. It’s all trapping moisture and providing a perfect breeding ground for mould and other nasties.
Grab a bucket, some warm soapy water and a start scrubbing.
If you really love your furniture, you can also use proper hardwood cleaning fluid. However, it’s expensive and you can usually get away without it.
Without its protective bark on top, wood is pretty bad at keeping out water. In fact, it sucks up moisture like a dehydrated sponge.
If you live somewhere warm and dry, that might not be much concern. (Also wouldn’t that be nice!) In Scotland, however, we have rather a lot of that rain stuff. Leave a wooden chair outside over winter and you’ll come back to a slightly soggy version that’s prone to spontaneous collapse.
Wooden furniture needs varnish or wax to prepare it for life outside. So, once your furniture is clean and dry, brush on a coat of whatever sealant you’re using (wax, paint, varnish, etc) and leave it to dry. You might need a couple coats to get an even finish — follow the tin for more accurate instructions!
With your furniture cleaned and wood treated, we’re done, right? Well, no — but we’re almost there.
While you could leave your newly prepared furniture outside, the best option is to store it somewhere warm and dry.
If you’ve got some extra space in a shed, garage or spare room, we recommend moving your furniture inside for the winter. This keeps it in tip top condition and maximises the use you get out of it.
If you don’t have any spare storage space, you could always pick up a seasonal store unit at Storage Vault. It’s cheaper than you think and the perfect home for garden furniture over winter! Take a look at our units here.
Now, I get that most people just don’t have acres of free space available and might not want to transport their furniture to a storage facility.
Sometimes there’s no option but to leave furniture outside. It’s not ideal but then again it’s hardly the end of the world. If you have to leave your furniture outside, it becomes a matter of limiting the impact of the weather.
The easiest thing you can do is pick up some outdoor furniture covers and wrap everything up. Make sure your covers are water-repellent and are big enough to cover tables and chairs on all sides.
While covers won’t really help with temperature, they’ll limit most of the water problems and keep nasty bugs out, too.