The sun has many benefits, some of which you are probably looking forward to enjoying this coming summer, but it also has its damaging effects. Since we cannot switch off the sun or reduce its temperature, the only way is to protect ourselves and our property from its harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Damage from the Sun
Summertime brings with it long exposures of your outdoor furniture to the sun’s rays which can cause aesthetic blemishes and photobleaching (fading) on fabrics. It can also weaken the structures, whether they are made of wood, plastic or wicker.
As you look forward to your summer fun and relaxing moments outside your house, do not forget to apply sunscreen on your skin. Your outdoor furniture needs some kind of protection because even these get damaged over time. Your intervention can slow down this process.
Heat and ultraviolet rays can cause wood to warp and become brittle. Leather and plastic will warp, fade, crack and even melt under the sun’s heat. Wicker will fade and crack when exposed to too much sun. You want your furniture to maintain its look and serve you for as long as possible. Here are seven methods for protecting your outdoor furniture against sun damage.
Strategic Layouts
Plan and arrange your outdoor furniture and outdoor furniture seating in such a way that most of it is shielded from direct sunlight for the better part of the day. This can be done by positioning them near your house or other buildings, or near some trees so that they can benefit from the shade that they cast at different times of the day.
Regular Cleaning
It is important to keep your furniture clean as dirt will help to accelerate sun damage. Regularly remove dirt and spills from your furniture, and polish where appropriate. Do not use harsh or abrasive treatments when cleaning wicker furniture. Use water and mild soap instead, which you apply sparingly after which you rinse and wipe dry.
Wicker should not be soaked in water. Wood is cleaned by lightly scrubbing it using oxygen bleach after that it is rinsed and dried. Mild soap and water solutions work for metals. Fine grit sandpaper is first used to get rid of any rust or mold. For outdoor upholstery, the best method to use is spot cleaning. Dilute mild detergent in cold water and then use a sponge to attack the stains. Do not soak any of your cushions. Make sure that everything dries completely.
Store It When the Season Is Out
Bring your furniture out in the summer and when the season is over, take it back indoors for storage. Clean and cover it before storing it. Store it in dark and covered spaces like your basement, shed or garage. Cushions can be stored in outdoor storage bins. Try to avoid storing your cushions in plastic bags. Wrap them instead in old bedsheets or something close to that so that the cushion fabric is allowed to breathe.
Cover Your Furniture
Cover your outdoor furniture when it is not in use. Invest in furniture covers that are easy to fit and remove and that are also thick enough to protect from the sun. The covers should ideally be made from fabric that is resistant to ultraviolet rays.
Use UV Protection Treatments
Treatments vary depending on the material that your outdoor furniture is made of. These protection treatments are like sunscreen for furniture. Some are applied by spraying while others are applied using brushes. You should make sure that you apply them thoroughly and as you do, ensure that you have donned all the safety equipment like goggles, gloves, and dust masks or respirators to protect yourself.
Work the application in a well-ventilated space. Paint can be used to protect the wood. Make sure you buy the UV-resistant paints. You can also apply a coat of sealant to protect the wood. You begin by gently scrubbing the wood with sandpaper and then coating it with varnish or UltraViolet protective wax. You finish off by applying a sealant like spar varnish, for example.
For wicker surfaces, clear varnish or paint, or a combination of the two will work. For metals, you can powder coat them. Powder coating helps it to resist fading and rust and works better than wet paint. To protect your upholstery, spray or paint them with fabric guards or fabric protectors to keep them from fading or getting discolored.
Use Protective Accessories
Accessories such as expandable fabric umbrellas and tarpaulins can be used as sunshades. You can also invest in opaque patio covers or awnings. Transparent or translucent ones will still allow the sun in. Retractable awnings are preferable so that you can cover your furniture when you are indoors and open them up for the sun to reach you when you are outdoors. There are retractable awnings that are electronically or remotely controlled which makes adjusting them easier.
Regular Maintenance
Finally, you should inspect and treat your furniture regularly. Read through the manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for the furniture. They usually specify the solutions and treatments that you should use and the ones you should avoid. If you use the wrong treatments and methods, you will not need the sun to damage the furniture for you. You will have done a pretty good job all by yourself. Follow instructions. The manufacturer knows best.
Regularly inspect the legs, arms, and back of the furniture frame for softened areas and cracks. Check all the connections and joints and ensure that they are tight and sturdy. For metal furniture, lubricate all stiff or creaky moving parts using a silicone spray. For wooden frames, use the oil recommended by the manufacturer to keep them from cracking. When the paint on your wooden furniture begins to peel off, use sandpaper to gently remove the peels and then touch up the paint. After that, oil or stain the wood and this should be done regularly. Oil, sealants, and stains should be reapplied every one to three years of outdoor use. For metal frames that may have lost their luster, use lint-free cloth buffed with auto wax to wipe them. Regularly inspect fabrics for rips or tears on the corners or seams, and for holes, wear or thin spots on areas under direct sunlight. Apply products that act as UltraViolet barriers on the fabrics.

Since outdoor furniture is not cheap, instead of buying, replacing and repairing, why not maintain and protect it instead? The methods outlined above should help you. Get ready to have lots of fun in the sun!

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