What is a good wood for outdoors? All of our products are suitable for outdoor use. Western Red Cedar is a fine-grain, dimensionally stable wood that is naturally weather resistant. It will last a lifetime. Cypress is a beautiful, distinctive and durable wood that assures years of trouble-free satisfaction. Teak has a high oil and rubber content, a "built-in" natural water repellent, which makes it virtually immune to rotting. Click here to read more about our wood types.
It should be pointed out that our Recycled Plastic line is virtually maintenance-free. It requires no waterproofing, staining or similar maintenance when used in exterior applications
How often should I refinish my furniture?
The answer to this question is not as simple as you may think. Many factors are to be considered when caring for your furniture. Consider the weather where you live. Is it sunny and hot, cool and wet? Do you store the furniture in the winter? Cover it?
Consider the look you like. If you decide not to refinish your furniture, you may let it slowly weather to a silver/gray. Many of our customers love this look while others prefer to keep the 'like-new' look. The sun and exposure to the elements change the surface color of unprotected woods but does not affect the structural integrity of the wood. It really is a matter of personal preference. Whether or not you decide to keep the 'like-new' color or let it gray, it is important to clean the furniture at least once a year.
What kind of weather finish should I use? While there are many good products available, there are some features that you may want in a good weather finish.
Paint: You can certainly paint your furniture if you so desire. Be sure to use a good primer on the clean, bare wood before applying the finish coat. Of any exterior finish, paint offers the best form of protection. However, paint will eventually peel and will be more unsightly over time than a wipe on finish if it's not attended to. In fact, most outdoor finishes will only last 1-3 years before they need to be renewed. That takes a commitment on your part to periodically protect your furniture.
Oil vs. water based: Typically the oil based products last longer, but they are usually harder to clean up and more toxic to you and the environment. Water based products are generally easier to use and clean up.
Wet climate: If you live in a wet climate look for a product with a mold inhibitor.
Hot Climate: If you live in a dry climate know that most good finishes will have UV protection in them and a yearly application is recommended. Whatever finish you decide to use always consider your health and safety and follow all manufacturers' directions If you don't intend to renew the finish on your outdoor furniture, the wood will turn a silvery grey color. Once the exterior of the wood is gray, the rate of wood deterioration slows tremendously. (The damage to the surface actually prevents UV light from penetrating to the interior of the wood.) So it's fine to let the wood's natural properties protect against decay, rot and insect infestation.
How do I clean my furniture?
A pressure washer makes cleaning super easy. Otherwise you can clean your furniture with a soft brush and a good wood cleaner available at most hardware stores. Be sure to rinse well and allow to dry thoroughly before applying any finish.
A mild soap and water bath once a week is a good inexpensive way to start your outdoor furniture care program. Just use a pan of warm sudsy water and a cloth or paper towels. Follow up with a pan of clear water and rinse the soap off so that you don't end up with a soapy film on your outdoor furniture. Be sure that the surface is dry after washing.
Spills should be wiped up as soon as they happen on your outdoor furniture, especially carbonated beverage spills, they can be very hard on clear finishes and paint if left sitting.
Do I need to store my furniture in the winter?
It is always best if you can put the furniture away in the garage or shed for the winter. If you do not have a place to store the furniture and you would like to cover it, just remember to make sure the furniture is dry before you cover it. Plastic tarps often can promote mold growth or will leak, so be careful.
Enjoy your furniture. Don't let it become your master. It will last plenty long even without your attention.