BBQ season is drawing to a close, and just like hedgehogs bedding down to hibernate, your patio tables, chairs and cushions are best kept out of Oxfordshire’s cold, wet – and sometimes snowy - weather. As soon as you decide you won’t be needing it for a while, House and Carriage Oxfordshire storage is the best way to keep your outdoor furniture safe from harm.
Modern garden furniture, depending on what it’s made from, is often designed to be reasonably weather-resistant. But the wettest seasons can take their toll, bringing rust, mould and grime. To ensure it remains in great shape for the whole of its expected lifespan, outdoor furniture needs to be cared for properly - and ideally placed in secure, dry storage. Here’s what you should know when preparing your outdoor chairs and tables for winter.
Know your materials
When it comes to garden furniture, there’s a wide range of natural, synthetic and manufactured materials on offer. What buyers choose usually depends on a number of factors such as attractiveness, the space each piece takes up, or its weight and manoeuvrability. However resistance to rough weather is not always a deciding factor, in spite of the Oxfordshire’s wet and cold winters which can affect woods, metals, plastics and other materials in a number of different ways.
Plastic furniture is generally good value, and lightweight enough to move around easily. The trade-off is that it’s nothing like as durable as other materials, especially in harsh weather where flimsier items can be easily damaged. Plastic furniture should always be kept indoors over the winter months, otherwise it will fade and corrode.
Wicker is fairly tough, and synthetic wicker is designed to be weather-resistant and easy to clean – however it’s also very lightweight, and prone to being blown about in fierce winds.
Both attractive and natural, wood is a popular choice for outdoor furniture, but do be aware that it will need treating. Softer woods like pine, if left untreated, can fall victim to rot and mould. Furniture made from hardwoods such as teak are far more likely to be resistant to winter weather, but like any material they’re also likely to get very dirty in the months they’re not in use. A cover is a good solution. Keeping them indoors – and in temperature-controlled storage – is a better one.
Furniture made from steel and wrought iron is hard-wearing, and sturdy in the wind, but is particularly prone to rusting and corrosion. Cast aluminium doesn’t rust, but it is vulnerable to oxidisation – caused naturally in the outside environment – which causes ‘pitting’, a sort of corrosion which discolours the furniture (but can be cleaned off).
By putting your furniture into House and Carriage Oxfordshire storage, you can be sure of secure, temperature-controlled units, keeping your summer essentials dry and free from frost – even if the rest of Oxfordshire isn’t.
Looking after your furniture
Whatever material you have, it’s important to prepare it when bringing it indoors for winter by getting it clean. Grime and moisture can be damaging to furniture, allowing it to quickly develop mould, mildew and rot while it’s not in use. Fortunately, all you need for most items is soap and water. Be sure to follow any cleaning instructions that came with the furniture, as different materials may have slightly different needs. This way, when Oxfordshire warms up again, your furniture will be in fantastic condition.
For garden chairs, the first job is to clean off any dirt and dry them well. Chairs – especially plastic ones – are often perfect for stacking to help save space when storing away.
If your chairs come with cushions, you’ll need to remove these and clean them separately. Read the care instructions and make sure they are dry before storing them away. It’s vital to bring cushions into a proper dry environment – in the house if you have space, or in storage – as garages and sheds won’t usually offer enough protection to keep them safe from damp. They’re fine left outside in a little drizzle, but several months of cold, wet weather is sure to fade and perhaps even damage them, and you may find yourself needing to replace them come spring.
Patio tables should be folded away and stored with the chairs. Does your table have a glass element to it? If so, pack it up in protective padding and label it.
If you have a parasol, take it down and give it a good sponge clean. Again, bring it inside and make sure it’s dry before storing away.
No matter what you have, or how much of it you have, you can choose the size of unit you use with House and Carriage Oxfordshire storage and we offer single item storage too. It’s perfect for avoiding clutter in your garage when you need the space for your car, or in case Oxfordshire sees snowfall and you want access to those sledges!
Why choose storage?
While Oxfordshire isn’t quite Antarctica, we do still get some rough wind, rain and storms over the winter, which can easily damage furniture and at the very least leave an accumulation of grime.
If you’re planning to store any of your hard-wearing furniture outside, then be sure to put well-fitted covers onto it. It also makes sense to rehome it in sheltered areas of the garden – and move everything off the lawn to prevent the damage caused by moisture. Remember that less sturdy furniture that’s left in unsheltered areas can be vulnerable to fierce winds which can damage both the furniture, and the garden.
Finding an indoors area like a shed or garage is less risky, and you won't need to do as much cleaning before the warm weather comes around again either. However it’s worth remembering that these aren’t always the most protective environments. You’ll need to be sure that the furniture isn’t going to be affected by damp. There’s also the risk of bugs and beasties chewing up your precious items and covering them with holes!
For complete peace of mind, House and Carriage Oxfordshire storage helps you avoid all these risks. We can collect your furniture for storage when it suits you, and deliver it back as soon as you need it again. If you need to find us, we have convenient Oxfordshire storage locations, close to main roads. You can pay as you go, with simple monthly payments, and no minimum term – which gives you flexibility in case warm spells return earlier than expected next year.
By using House and Carriage Oxfordshire storage, you can truly enjoy being cosy, warm and safe indoors, with the knowledge that your best outdoor furniture is doing the same!
Find out how we can help you with Oxfordshire storage for garden furniture – or anything else.
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