Some people may frown at the idea of using metal furnishings for the patio – but then again, some people will frown whatever the idea may be. Elegant and durable, furniture made from metal can be used outdoors to an impressive visual effect – and with proper maintenance, metal will also last longer than wicker or plastic. One potential problem with outdoor use of metal furnishings is rust, but you can minimize the risk of your patio furniture corroding by following these simple tips.
High and dry: Protect metal pieces from humidity
The main triggers of rusting include high humidity, salty water and rain. Although a slim film of rust can be removed easily, corrosion will inevitably undermine the longevity and beauty of metal pieces: metal is an incredibly resistant material, but it is still not 100% weatherproof. This is why you should strive to protect your patio furnishings from whimsical elements and refrain from using it in areas with humid climate.
Heavy metal undercover: Upholstery and fabrics
Before you use metal furniture al fresco, make sure you deck it with upholstery or cushions for comfort, style and protection. Pillows, chair-backs and arm coverings will reduce the risk of your outdoor furniture corroding and provide protection from dirt at the same time. Fabrics will not be harmed by a quick rinse, but metal pieces may undergo gradual discoloration through exposure to liquids for cleaning purposes, especially if left out to dry in the sun since heat accelerates rusting.
Away with raindrops: Do not give in to the elements
All metal gets rusty through contact with liquids, so outdoor furnishings should never be left to the mercy of rain, ice and dew. Remove rust as soon as you detect it as further corrosion may lead to chipping, cracking and crumbling of the surface. Rust will render an ungainly reddish tone to metal, which will mar the elegance of the furnishings, and rust removal may lead to stains and scratching. If moisture does get on the metal surface, wipe it off immediately to prevent oxidation.
Storage in off-season: Do not lose it even if you do not use it
In off-season, metal furnishings should be stored properly. Metal patio pieces should winter in a dry spot such as a garage or garden, so relocate them before the weather turns whimsical. If you do not have adequate storage room, use weatherproof covers to protect the pieces from the elements. One or two rainy days will be enough to trigger rusting, after which you will have to intensify your maintenance efforts – and it is always better for metal to be safe and dry than sorely corroded.
Use protection: Preventive coating options
To stay on the utmost side of safe, it would be a good idea to use commercial rust prevention products such as paste wax or hammertone decorative coating even when the weather is relatively stable. In addition to its function as rust deterrent, a quick-dry finish will render a shiny, uniform look to metal and conceal slight surface imperfections such as dents and scratches. For best results, clean the furnishings and let them dry well before applying protective coating.
Metal is one of the strongest and most appealing materials for both indoor and outdoor furnishings, but its long-lasting sheen and sophisticated look require proper care. If you follow these simple maintenance guidelines and keep your furniture safe from the elements and rust, you will be able to enjoy the comfort and elegance on your patio for many seasons to come.