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When Should I Cover My Patio Furniture?

When Should I Cover My Patio Furniture?

Winter is fast approaching, which can mean only one thing. It’s time for yearly patio furniture maintenance rituals. There are many things you can do to protect your furniture from inclement weather. The most bang for your buck comes from simply covering your outdoor furniture! In fact, the Captain recommends buying a patio furniture cover and using it judiciously. But as the days get shorter you may be asking “When should I cover my patio furniture?”

When Should I Cover My Patio Furniture?

I’ll go ahead and tell you: for Winter, you should dry and cover your patio furniture after the first frost (but before the first snowstorm). You can briefly uncover it to enjoy any remaining warm days, but you should promptly cover it again afterwards. You don’t want snow, frost, or sleet to fall on your furniture for any amount of time. This is even more true if the furniture is constructed of wood.

For Summer, the answer becomes a bit more complicated. We’ll explore the topic fully in a few paragraphs.

Should I Even Bother To Cover My Furniture?

Oh sweet summer child, yes! I’ve seen too many folks neglect to cover their patio furniture. This reduces your furniture’s lifespan, and can even leave the furniture looking dirty, old, and weathered. One uncovered season is all it takes to have lasting damage! Even if you’ve chosen an extremely durable material for your outdoor furniture set, covering your purchase will help protect your investment. This is doubly true in the winter. However, it can also apply to other seasons.

Should I Cover My Patio Furniture In The Summer?

The winter certainly is harder on your furniture than the summer. However, summertime has a consequence most folks don’t even think about. No, I’m not talking about getting rid of weeds, although our article about that is definitely worth reading.

With the long, sunny days, fading is a legitimate concern. Colorful or wood-constructed patio furniture is especially at risk. If you own this type of patio furniture, you’ll want to cover it year-round when not in use. You should only consider skipping a cover under the following conditions:

  1. You’ve placed your patio furniture beneath an awning or covered patio.
  2. Your patio furniture is made from an extraordinarily durable material (such as teak).

What If I Don’t Have A Cover?

If you’d prefer not to cover it after each use, be warned. The elements will damage your furniture. It will only take a single season before you start to notice the fading. However, there are products that act like “furniture sunscreen” that you can apply. Outdoor paint can fill this niche for wooden patio furniture. A double (or even triple) coat can make sure the wood underneath stays safe for years to come.

For metal or plastic furniture, you can apply a water shield like Scotchguard and hope for the best. I’ll go ahead and tell you though: these products are not silver bullets. Keep your eyes on the condition of your furniture throughout the season.

For furniture cushions, you can apply “Aqua Armor” (or a similar waterproofing spray) twice per year. This should actually be enough to keep them in top shape. Especially if you chose a waterproof material to begin with.

What Is The Best Material For Patio Furniture Covers?

So, you’re convinced an outdoor furniture cover is a great idea. However, if you’re truly serious about protecting your patio furniture, you should choose a cover with a good material. I’ve personally found that polyester covers are more durable and long-lasting than their vinyl cousins. They can keep the elements away from your patio furniture while still being an economical purchase.

Where Should I Store My Patio Furniture Cover?

Your patio covers need somewhere to go when not in use! Once they’re clean and dry, fold them and place them in storage. Ensure that the bin, closet, or overhang you put them under stays dry. For this reason, I would recommend splurging for an outdoor storage bin for the cover. Not only will this keep them dry, but it is also remarkably convenient. You don’t want mold or mildew to ruin a perfectly good patio furniture cover!

How Much Are Patio Furniture Covers?

When compared to the large cost of a patio furniture set, the corresponding covers are cheap! In fact, you should only expect to pay between $30-$60 for a good quality cover. This small expense can ensure your cherished furniture is in ship-shape for years to come.

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Courtney F

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

We keep our furniture covered when not in use - regardless of the season. However, lately the wind has been crazy and keeps blowing it off. Last night, the wind blew half the cover off and then, of course, it rained. My question is, should the cover be put back on now or wait until it has a chance to dry out? I know the furniture is made for outdoors and should be able to withstand rain, but what I DON'T want is to prematurely cover it wet and then have to deal with a much worse issue: mold.


Thursday 11th of November 2021

Similar question to the one above. My wide wicker with sunbrella cushions patio furniture is completely covered on my deck. I live in Oregon where it will rain a lot in winter. Do I need to cover my furniture?

Thank you!!


Saturday 30th of October 2021

Appreciate the article. Quick question, should I remove the cushions and store them inside for the winter before covering the furniture or is it ok to leave the cushions on the furniture an then cover for the winter? I live in the Salt Lake City, UT area.

Veronica Romero

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

Do I need to buy patio covers for cast iron dining set if furniture is under a covered patio and is completely covered from rain and sun light?


Wednesday 24th of March 2021

For cast iron, I would invest in a cover. While the covered patio will do a lot, humidity and condensation can cause rust problems over time.

Irene Novelli

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Thank you for your advise, it’s very handy as living in the UK, our weather is mostly rain and more rain. I’ve just purchased a lovely rattan garden set no decided to buy some covers that match it, not cheap as you say but I think will be worth it. My framework is aluminium so they say it can stay out all summer, do you agree with that, also when’s the best time to take the covers back off.

Kind regards Irene

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