Rattan garden furniture can make a real statement when it comes to your outdoor furniture. However, while it's all perfectly fine enjoying your furniture set, knowing how to protect that natural rattan and then weatherproof it is clearly key. After all, you want your rattan garden furniture to continue to look its best for years to come.
Why You Need to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture
Thanks to the British climate, any furniture left outside is at the mercy of the elements. While the winter months are particularly harsh, caring for your sofa sets or wicker furniture is something to be done throughout the year.
Thanks to the natural materials used, along with the various crevices that exist in the furniture, rain and mud can work its way into the entire fabric of the item. If continually left exposed to the elements, that moisture can eat away at the rattan and, over time, weaken it.
What then happens is you are left with outdoor furniture that not only looks terrible, but is no longer safe to sit on. The problem is that natural wicker will not cope well with being in poor conditions over and over again.
But it's not only furniture made from natural materials that can suffer. If you thought that your synthetic rattan garden furniture would escape, then you are wrong.
Instead, even plastic garden furniture will suffer if not correctly cared for. Plastic, especially if made incorrectly, will weaken due to UV rays, and that's when a problem will occur.
However, help is at hand. In fact, there are several things that you can do right now that will help protect your furniture set and allow you to continue to use it for years to come.
But as needs change throughout the year, we will look at how to protect things from a different perspective. So, we will break it up into seasons to make life easier.
How to Protect Your Garden Furniture in Autumn
Autumn is one of those tricky seasons when it comes to protecting your rattan garden furniture. You can easily still have a number of occasions where it will be in full use, so it is pointless to put the furniture away in storage.
Instead, this is what we recommend.
First, do invest in high-quality garden furniture covers. They will be excellent in protecting your furniture from the wetter weather throughout this season. Also, they are quick and easy to remove when you plan on using your furniture.
However, do not simply put the covers over your rattan sofa. Instead, we do suggest following several easy steps to make sure that your garden furniture is correctly cared for.
Make sure your rattan furniture is dry before placing a cover over it. Not doing this will only increase the chances of mildew developing, and the rattan will start to deteriorate.
Also, check for mud or any droppings on the furniture, and remove them before covering. This should be part of your general upkeep of your furniture anyway, so do not skip this step.
Consider running over the furniture with your vacuum, but make sure the brush attachment is on there. This can get into all of those crevices and, as we said earlier, this should form part of the general care.
But there is something else you may want to do with your rattan furniture at this point to prepare it for the winter ahead, and that is to think about weatherproofing the furniture.
Now, as the weather becomes colder, and often wetter, as autumn progresses, trying to weatherproof your natural rattan furniture is something to be done in the first month of autumn. This is to ensure you have the correct weather conditions to allow the weatherproofing to dry.
For this, coating your rattan furniture in marine varnish is one option. That will work well at helping to repel moisture, and it is easy to apply. However, just be sure to allow long enough between coats. This will offer maximum protection for the longest period of time.
But aside from covering the furniture, you may want to consider starting to store your furniture set in a suitable location. This is where a garage or large shed will work well. The key is to store it in a location where your rattan garden furniture can remain dry and free from moisture. That will reduce the chances of developing mildew along with stopping the natural rattan from potentially rotting.
How to Protect Your Garden Furniture in Winter
Winter is different. The odds of you using your outdoor furniture during this time will be low, so we do advise you to protect your furniture to ensure it lasts throughout the season. However, there are several methods.
First, if possible, put your furniture set into storage over winter. It must be somewhere dry and where damp won't be a problem. Even with this, we recommend placing a cover over the furniture for some added protection.
But if you do not have this option, then don't worry.
This is where having a high-quality cover will be essential. You must make sure that your furniture is clean and dry before covering. Dampness sitting under the cover is a bad idea. Not only will it increase the chances of the rattan starting to rot, as we mentioned earlier, but that old mildew problem will also rear its head.
However, we do not recommend simply covering your furniture set for the whole of winter and leaving it in storage. Instead, you need to air the furniture from time to time, so that means removing the covers and just allowing it to breathe.
Of course, you need to do this in the storage location. It will also provide you with the perfect opportunity to check for any problems developing before you perhaps give it a quick wipe over with a dry soft cloth and cover once more.
Apart from that, you are not asked to do too much to protect your furniture in winter. Merely checking it's dry and safe from the elements is enough.
How to Protect Your Garden Furniture in Spring
Spring is the season of hope for warmer and sunnier days ahead, but it also changes the way in which you protect your garden furniture. The occasional frosty night can still occur, but you clearly do not have to worry so much about the same low temperatures as you did in winter. But that's not to say you can go ahead and do less when it comes to protecting things.
We do suggest using this time to check your garden furniture to see if it has survived the winter without any structural damage. Also, make sure you look for any mildew that may have developed during the damp winter months.
You should look at removing the furniture from its storage location at this point, and then give it a wash with some soapy water before drying thoroughly. This is your time to spruce it up and get it ready for when you fire up that BBQ and arrange those dining sets on your rattan table when entertaining guests.
But do not go ahead and leave your corner sofa, table, or any other item outside uncovered over night. Doing so will reduce the lifespan of your outdoor garden furniture, as even something as simple as that spring morning dew can start to cause problems from a structural perspective.
Instead, cover and protect while making sure you remove any outdoor cushions when not in use.
How to Protect Your Garden Furniture in Summer
We view summer as being the time when two key areas come into focus. The first is starting to plan ahead for protecting your rattan garden furniture in the winter, and also making sure those UV rays do not destroy or damage your furniture.
Planning ahead is important here. You have the perfect weather for weatherproofing and repairing your existing furniture. Adding some fresh protection before it is required is a great idea. This is your opportunity to get in early, and stop any problems happening down the line.
This is also the perfect time to get out the pressure washer and get everything spotless. This can be done even with synthetic rattan garden furniture.
But this is the stage where people make mistakes. They feel that as the weather is better that they can leave their furniture outdoors, and it will be fine. Well, while that may be the case at times, it's best to protect your furniture even when the weather is fantastic.
Keep in mind that dirt and dust blows around. That dirt is going to land in the weave of the rattan, and it will build up over time. That means you will be required to break out the old toothbrush and get scrubbing if you wish to remove that dirt, and it's not easy.
Also, while rattan can be quite hardy when it comes to UV rays, is it worth the risk when covering takes minutes?
The same applies to your outdoor cushions. Yes, they are generally constructed from material that is waterproof, and also often resistant to UV rays, but perhaps buy some sort of outdoor storage solution where they can be kept and taken out when required.
Overall, the best thing to do when it comes to caring for your outdoor garden furniture during summer is to simply keep it clean. That alone can help prevent problems down the line, and it makes caring for your furniture in the winter that bit easier.
And that is how to successfully protect your rattan garden furniture. There is little doubt that it is easy to do, and it will protect your furniture for years to come. This applies to both natural rattan, as well as synthetic furniture. After all, they both deserve to be looked after.