Caring for your outdoor furniture is as crucial as the initial purchase. Of course, the type of care that it requires depends on the type and quality of material that is used, and the weather conditions. Here are some tips from Anton Siswoyo, Director, Wintons Teak, to get your tired pieces looking fresh for spring and summer again.
For wooden materials, it is important to clean the wood if the furniture is dirty or has mould, algae or mildew. Regular cleaning is important for any wooden furniture, no matter the quality of the timber.
Next, sanding the piece may be required. It is important to use sand paper no. 150 or 180, which will not be too rough on the timber. Often if lower grades of timber are not sanded and left untreated, they become rough and dry, similar to driftwood.
The final step is to oil or stain the piece. The importance of using oil which is specially made for the type of timber utilised in your outdoor furniture is often overlooked. Also, it is just as vital to follow the specific instructions as dictated on the container, as these instructions often vary.
When the oil is applied it should be left to set. Use a brush to apply the oil or stain. The oil should be left to set, while the stain should be wiped lightly with a clean cloth. This will allow the grain to be seen more clearly. The number of coats applied will depend on the level of opacity required, however one-two coats is usually enough. If you want to have the furniture looks glossy, apply a varnish lightly with brush.
Many people are now starting to discover the qualities of A-grade teak, which contains more natural oil and higher grain density than other timber. Wintons Teak furniture uses only A-grade teak, as it is perfect to use in outdoor furniture due to its natural durability in extreme weather conditions. It also requires no re-oiling or other specific maintenance. So as the furniture ages, it will remain soft and smooth.
For outdoor furniture which is not made from A-grade teak, it is recommended you sand and re-oil twice a year.
When purchasing you outdoor furniture, it is important that you look for products which use good quality stainless steel in the joints and fittings, such as grade 304. Quite often in outdoor furniture grade 301 is used, which rusts more easily when exposed to the elements, due to lower amounts of chromium and nickel. The best way to maintain stainless steel products and keep them rust-free is to use a liquid metal polisher, and steel wool to brush in the direction of the grain. This is will also give it a matte finish.
To clean wicker furniture, the first step is to use a soft bristled brush to dry brush all surfaces. This will get in between the gaps in the wicker weave and help loosen any dirt. Start with the tightest weave areas then work the brush outward toward the looser weave areas.
Next, simply hose down the wicker, let air to dry, and wipe down with a cloth. Alternatively you can wipe the piece down thoroughly with a damp cloth. For the cushions, the type of cleaning will depend on their fabric. For plastic materials, these can simply be wiped down, while other materials may require more thorough cleaning methods.