You think it's high time to get your terrace, patio or balcony ready for a new season. But where do you even start? Ask Team Clean will show you how you can transform your private outdoor space into a lush paradise.
A crucial part of outdoor living is the furniture. Today, we'll tell you how to choose the best outdoor furniture for your space and how to keep it fresh and clean for years to come. Let’s get started!
Consider the weather conditions of your outdoor area. Is your balcony hot and sheltered from the rain, or do you have a windy patio near the coast? Does it rain often? These are important questions to answer before selecting furniture for your terrace or balcony. Keep in mind that hot, dry conditions can make some wood splinter and crack. Natural wood is sturdy and comfortable, but it will require regular maintenance and preservative treatments for weather and UV protection. Choose weather-resistant woods like redwood, teak, cedar and cypress that require less maintenance. Aluminium, PVC and plastic are rustproof, lightweight, inexpensive and easy to maintain with a little soap and water. However, strong winds will send them flying. Rattan and wicker look great on your deck but will not withstand constant exposure to moisture for long and are best for sheltered outdoor spaces.
Once you've determined the best material for your furniture, you can measure your space and decide on a basic layout. Make sure to leave enough space to navigate around your furniture comfortably. For a small balcony you might want get a bar table set with a narrow table and stools that will take up less space than chairs. If you have a big terrace or rooftop, you can go for that wooden dining room set or the big lounge chairs.
The next thing to consider is the comfort level you want for your little oasis. Will you be using your outdoor furniture to relax? Make it comfortable! Buy extra cushions and throws and make it cozy. Just make sure to choose good quality outdoor fabrics that are fade and mildew resistant. Or are you looking to host BBQ and dinner parties? Then you're likely to need a table and chair set. Chaise lounges, rockers, and recliners are also great for relaxing outdoors. Whatever you choose, make sure to try out your furniture before you buy it.
Last, but certainly not least, you probably want to consider your budget. While we recommend buying the best outdoor furniture you can afford, in the end, it's your budget that determines what you can buy. If you are economising, there are some great options for getting the best value for your investment: Wait to buy your furniture until the end of summer for great discounts. Consider less expensive materials like aluminium or resin if the conditions on your outdoor space permit. Keep an eye out at local garage sales or thrift stores for furniture that you can refurbish and clean up to make it look good as new.
After a few seasons outside, your furniture might start to show its age. Especially when you don’t have the space to store it inside in the winter months. These general maintenance tips will ensure that your chairs, tables and cushions will look fresh and clean, regardless of the season. Keep the care guidelines in mind when following the instructions below.
When getting your balcony or terrace ready, you want to start with a light cleaning. Sweep the surfaces with a soft-bristle brush and rinse them with water. Combine a mild soap with warm water and use a sponge or a soft-bristle brush to scrub the furniture thoroughly. Rinse off any excess soap and pat everything dry with a cloth. Remember to avoid harsh treatments like a power-wash, chlorine or abrasive cleaners unless instructed otherwise.
If there is any mould on your furniture you can scrub or sand the areas lightly to remove it, depending on the material. Don’t forget to wear gloves and discard the used supplies to avoid spreading the spores.
Most wood used for outdoor furniture naturally resists decay and can withstand most elements for years. Sealants help preserve colour, but if you leave the wood unfinished, it requires little maintenance.
You might, however, want to give your furniture a deep clean. To remove stains or mildew, you can mix water with some oxygen bleach according to the directions. Scrub the area with a soft-bristle brush and rinse it off. To remove rust stains or other discolourations, you can sand lightly along the grain using fine-grit sandpaper. If the area is too large to sand, mix hot water with wood bleach or wood brightener according to the directions, apply with the soft-bristle brush and rinse it off. Remember to not use chlorine bleach, as it will damage the wood fibres. For maintenance, you might want to seal the wood to avoid discolourations or apply a water-repellent preservative, which contains a mildew-killing agent.
Rattan and wicker furniture are traditionally woven from rattan, split reed, or coated paper and reinforced with metal. The surface is usually protected with varnish, paint or a combination of the two. Direct sunlight and rain are this material's biggest enemies, which is why it should always be covered if you leave it outside for a long period of time.
Debris and dirt can best be removed by vacuuming the furniture with a dust-brush attachment or a dry paintbrush. Use a mild soap solution for a scrub and rinse off excess soap. But avoid using too much water, as it weakens the fibres. Regular cleaning is highly recommended for wicker and rattan furniture, as it cannot usually endure harsh or abrasive treatments.
Resin furniture is usually made from plastic, either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE). These plastics are available in all shapes, colours and sizes and can even mimic wood, wicker and so much more.
Use a mild soap solution to scrub, then rinse and dry your resin furniture. For tough stains or mildew, you can try a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach, if the care guide of the item lists bleach as an acceptable cleaning agent. Plastic furniture tends to discolour quickly, so make sure to wipe it with a wet cloth and a mild soap solution after exposure.
Iron, steel and other metals tend to rust and are usually finished with layers of clear varnish, paint or a durable powder coating.
Use a mild soap solution to scrub, rinse and dry your metal furniture. To remove rust stains or mould, sand the area lightly using fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe it clean and apply touch-up paint in thin layers if needed. For maintenance, you can apply a coat of quality liquid or paste car wax after cleaning with a lint-free cloth. Use a silicone spray to lubricate swivels and glides on the chairs. Inspect for rust and chips regularly, especially in the hidden areas, because even stainless steel can corrode in salty environments.
Cover items when they're not in use or store them indoors. Remove the foot caps on chairs and tables, and keep furniture upright to allow accumulated water to drain.
Ask Team Clean hopes these tips will help you to create your own oasis and retreat from your daily life.