When choosing outdoor furniture, we often envision how we’ll use it in nice clear weather. However, for those that live in climates prone to cold winters, it is important to consider whether the furniture can withstand the snow –this is particularly true if you don’t have space to store the furniture indoors.
The outdoor furniture industry currently leans towards synthetic materials, such as resin wicker. These synthetics are very durable in withstanding continuous use and severe weather conditions, including snow.
Still, there are other weather-resistant materials for outdoor furniture, like certain types of metal and wood.
In this article, we’ll suggest some of the best outdoor furniture for snow. Since we understand our reader’s priorities might differ, we’ll highlight the different factors to consider before deciding on your outdoor furniture set.
What Is the Best Outdoor Furniture for Snow?
Aluminum is one of the most durable outdoor furniture materials, resisting snow and rust. Since aluminum doesn’t contain iron, it will not rust when exposed to moisture.
For windy regions, however, you may need to consider steel-reinforced aluminum while taking extra precautions to secure it outdoors. Unfortunately, steel should not be left in the snow without adequate protection, as the steel will rust.
Other materials that can tolerate snow include wrought iron, certain wood species, and synthetic resins. Synthetic wicker is one of several great choices for withstanding snow.
Ultimately, it’s important that the frame is composed of weather-resistant material as well. A nice synthetic resin on the outside of the furniture won’t mean much if the inside framing has deteriorated.
How to Choose Outdoor Furniture for Snow?
We understand why people need outdoor furniture that tolerates snow, but this can’t be the only reason behind your furniture choice. You’ll want furniture that you can also enjoy in the summer, after surviving the winter. You’ll also want to factor in certain design considerations if you live in a windy region.
Different users enjoy different aspects of their outdoor furniture, so here’s a list of factors to consider when choosing your furniture.
Lightweight furniture is easy to move around. You can easily pull the furniture into shade throughout the day or rearrange the chairs to accommodate unexpected guests.
However, the lightweight won’t be to your advantage if your region has a windy climate. This won’t be an issue if you’ve got an indoor space to accommodate the furniture. Otherwise, you’ll have to properly secure your furniture when prepping it for the winter.
Style is a priority for many of us who won’t compromise on furniture looks for the sake of durability. Think of your previous purchases; were you inclined to pay more for better-looking products, even if they weren’t that efficient?
If so, you might feel compelled to replace a poorly designed furniture set even if it could live for years to come.
For style enthusiasts, we recommend bistro-style, wrought iron furniture or natural-looking teak wood pieces. These options come in sleek, original styles without significantly compromising on durability.
Alternatively, you can take a smart twist on style and choose synthetic materials in natural forms. Hand-woven resin furniture mimics wicker weaving as a durable alternative to natural wicker furniture that can withstand snow.
Some furniture sets are designed to be neatly stacked on top of each other. This saves space when not in use, and provides further protection against wind.
Even better, you can choose foldable plastic or outdoor wood furniture. They can be easily stored in the garage or by the side of your house.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
Smooth furniture frames can be easily wiped with a wet cloth, unlike rattan or other woven materials that require vacuuming between the grooves.
Additionally, natural materials like wood may require periodic sealing or staining in order to preserve their appearance. Those are facts you should keep in mind while buying.
Best Outdoor Furniture Materials for Snow
Not all outdoor furniture is designed to resist snow, and is heavily dependent on its material.
Most outdoor furniture materials are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Still, some materials will require special care to spend the winter outside.
Polymer Outdoor Furniture
Polymers are the all-purpose, trending materials of the era. Here are some of the most common durable synthetic outdoor furniture options.
Resin is the standard material for modern-day wicker furniture. It’s known for its durability and ease of cleaning.
However, not all resin is made from the same plastic. Most resin outdoor furniture in the market is made from PVC or polyethylene.
Polyethylene resin furniture can be safely left outside during winter as it’s resistant to water and UV rays.
On the other hand, PVC wicker furniture isn’t suited for harsh winters. It can chip and corrode when exposed to extreme weather conditions, so you’ll have to store it indoors.
Additionally, it’s equally important to know the furniture frame material. If it’s made from metal, like most wicker models, you’ll have to ensure it’s made to tolerate the winter.
Although plastic looks cheaper than the other materials on our list, some manufacturers have developed all-weather options that’ll stand the harshest of cold seasons. Besides, it’s one of the easiest materials to clean with a cloth or even a garden hose.
If you’re still concerned about looks, some manufacturers have used polymers to give the appearance of wood with added durability. You can even get creative and highlight the joyful qualities of polymers by choosing a variety of vibrant colors.
Metal Outdoor Furniture
Generally speaking, metals are the most durable materials for outdoor furniture. However, the winter moisture poses rust as a significant threat.
This is where some metals perform better than others in terms of moisture resistance. Here’s a list of some of the best metals for outdoor furniture.
Aluminum with a powder coating is one of the most popular outdoor furniture materials. Even modern resin furniture is commonly supported by aluminum frames.
This metal is preferred for its low maintenance and lightweight. Although it doesn’t rust, it gradually develops a dull look as it forms iron oxide, a material that prevents further corrosion.
No worries, though; you can simply clean iron oxide by wiping it with soapy water. Be careful not to use abrasive solutions as they can scratch aluminum surfaces.
Cast aluminum is solid and heavy, which will prevent it from blowing away.
Extruded aluminum is hollow and light, allowing it to be moved around easily. If you don’t intend to move the furniture inside, then make sure you pick aluminum frames that are reinforced with all-weather steel because it’s more resistant to windy weather.
Steel is considerably heavier than aluminum. Although it’s one of the most rigid furniture materials, it isn’t wholly impervious to harsh weather effects.
Steel contains iron which will rust when exposed to moisture. That’s why steel needs to be treated with paint or other protective coatings in order to minimize rusting.
It’s important to carefully inspect the coating on the steel each year. Any nicks or scratches should be re-coated immediately to avoid rusting.
For periodic maintenance, you can apply car wax to protect the steel frames against rust.
Due to the sensitivity of steel to moisture, it’s always a wise choice to consider protecting the furniture during winter.
Another tough outdoor metal material is wrought iron, which is a highly-refined product of iron. It’s admired for its durability and authentic looks.
If the wrought iron has been galvanized or treated, this will provide a protective layer against rust.
Although wrought iron furniture is great outdoors, it isn’t entirely rust-proof. Therefore, you’ll have to occasionally treat it by applying a protective coating on exposed raw metal, especially before winterizing the furniture.
It’s important to note that wrought iron is extremely heavy, so it isn’t as versatile as aluminum.
Wood furniture’s characteristics depend on the source tree species. Here are some of the best outdoor furniture wood options:
Teak is one of the most popular wood materials used for outdoor furniture for both its beauty and durability. It can be left outdoors with minimal coating due to its oil content, which acts as a natural preservative.
Additionally, teak is known for weathering beautifully by forming a grayish patina. If, however, you’d like to preserve its initial look, you’ll have to treat it with specialized products.
Regarding snow resistance, teak is impressive in how it withstands extreme temperature changes. Rest assured, teak won’t shrink, rot, or warp, provided you winterize it properly.
Cedar is loved for its appearance besides ease of customization. You can paint or stain the wood to your preference or keep its natural appearance. As a bonus, cedar is also effortlessly resistant to rot and insects.
Cedar is great at resisting damage from rain and snow, especially if a protectant sealer is applied.
It’s important to know that cedar is a porous type of wood, so there’s a risk of staining and discoloration over time.
Can You Leave Metal Patio Furniture Outside in the Winter?
Most metal furniture can be left outside in the winter. Metals, such as aluminum and coated wrought iron are among the most durable materials that can stand any weather.
Steel that is properly treated is also a choice to consider. However, close attention is needed towards any scratches on the coating that expose the bare steel as this will rust.
Ultimately, it’s best to consider protecting your furniture during winter as the best way to ensure it lasts many years.
How to Protect Outdoor Furniture from Snow
The best way to protect your outdoor furniture from snow is to keep it out of the snow altogether. This means moving it indoors, such as a shed, garage or some other protected environment.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have space to move bulky patio furniture indoors for the winter. That’s when we start looking at other options.
The most common option to protect patio furniture is simply by covering it. You can purchase furniture covers from a retailer as long as you know the dimensions of your set.
The best outdoor furniture covers are made from heavy-duty materials, like the 600D fabric, which provides UV protection and water resistance. The 600D fabric is also double-layered, preventing rips and tears.
Besides choosing tight-fitting furniture covers, we recommend choosing cover models that have tightening additions, like cords, buckles, or velcro straps. While store-bought covers are convenient, they can be somewhat expensive and tend to become brittle after several seasons of use, eventually requiring replacement.
If you’re on a budget, you can also consider some bungee ropes and tarps to cover your furniture.
Wrapping Outdoor Furniture for Winter
If you’d rather not buy traditional covers, consider wrapping your outdoor furniture for winter. Wrapping the furniture is a simple process that is cheaper than using normal covers and doesn’t require customized sizing.
Here are some quick steps in how to wrap your outdoor furniture for winter:
Step 1 – Choose Protective Wrapping
Stretch wrap, or shrink wrap, is a plastic material that is often used to hold materials together during transport or moving. This material can also be equally useful for winterizing your furniture.
The stretch wrap is similar in nature to cling wrap that is used for food, except it’s generally thicker and wider in order to accommodate larger materials. It comes in rolls that contain 1,000+ linear feet of the material, which will provide ample coverage for even the largest patio sets.
Step 2 – Clean Furniture
You should clean your furniture before wrapping it. Otherwise, dirt can become abrasive during winter, leaving your furniture with scratches.
When cleaning your furniture, stay away from abrasive detergents. Most of today’s outdoor furniture materials can be cleaned by wiping with soapy water.
However, if your furniture is made from natural materials, like teak wood, we would recommend using specialized products for cleaning and maintaining the frames. In all cases, check the instructions for your outdoor furniture before cleaning.
Resin wicker needs regular dusting because of its weaves’ grooves. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a dry paintbrush to sweep the dust off the surface indents.
As for the cushions, you’ll also need to clean them before storage. It’s better to buy cushions with removable covers that can be separately washed.
If this isn’t the case, however, you can clean the cushions with a damp cloth and soapy water. Some people use power washing, but it can damage the furniture in the long run, especially if you don’t know the right settings.
Step 3 – Store Cushions
Although outdoor cushions are currently made with UV-protective and water-resistant fabrics, we recommend storing them separately. Ideally, you should store the cushions inside for the winter season.
If you’re tight on space you can just leave them on the patio furniture, as the stretch wrap generally provides great protection against moisture.
Step 4 – Secure Furniture
Windy weather can severely damage your furniture if it’s blown away. Therefore, we recommend you push your furniture close to the house. Try to choose a bordered spot, like a back entrance porch or a fenced patio.
If you’re lucky to have heavy wrought iron furniture, you don’t have to displace it. However, it’s still better to keep a safety margin and push it closer to the walls.
Step 5 – Collect Furniture
Close the umbrellas and any foldable furniture. Then, stack the chairs beside or on top of each other.
This step ensures your furniture is less exposed to extreme weather conditions and benefits from the collective weight, providing stability. You’ll also be able to use less wrapping to cover your furniture.
Step 6 – Cover Furniture
Once your furniture is bundled, drape any blanket or other fabric over it. You don’t need to worry about buying the expensive custom-fit covers.
This covering will help protect the furniture from UV rays while it’s wrapped in the clear plastic film. It will also help protect against any minor bumps or nicks that could occur.
Just make sure the furniture is dry before draping it with the blanket.
Step 7 – Wrap Furniture
Ensure you wrap the furniture only after it’s completely dry to avoid moisture build-up. Here are some simple steps in applying the stretch wrap:
- Unpeel the front edge of the stretch wrap.
- Starting at the top or bottom of the furniture, firmly place the front edge of stretch wrap along a solid surface of the patio furniture.
- With the roll of wrap in hand, slowly walk it around the patio furniture and allow it to unwind with you. Try to avoid cutting the stretch wrap during this process.
- As you apply the stretch wrap, continue working it from bottom to top (or vice versa) with small overlapping across each layer.
- Ensure the sides and top of the furniture have been completely covered with the stretch wrap. Apply additional layers if you notice any bare spots.
These steps can be repeated for as many bundles of patio furniture that you’re looking to wrap.
We’ve listed our recommendations regarding the best outdoor furniture for snow. Thankfully, there’s a variety of sturdy options that can meet the tastes of different users.
With some wrapping and cleaning efforts, you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor gatherings on the same furniture set for many seasons to come.
Next time you give a winter break to your outdoor furniture, you can rest assured it’ll be safe till spring.
Husband and father of three (actually, four if you include the pool). I’m an avid DIY-er and weekend warrior that enjoys taking up new projects around the house to help us maximize leisure right at home. I enjoy researching and sharing various tips, tricks and knowledge to help others make their home an oasis.