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Winter Care Tips for Wood Furniture

By RST Brands
November 4, 2019

As the seasons change and the temperatures cool down, you're probably not spending much time lounging on your backyard patio. Rain, snow, and wind will eventually drive you inside, and then you'll spend your evenings warming up by the fireplace rather than watching the summer sunsets outside.

Since your patio isn't getting much use during the colder seasons, you may be wondering what to do with patio furniture in the winter. If you've invested in quality wood outdoor furniture, you'll want to take the proper measures to preserve the quality. Harsh weather and moisture can damage your wood furniture if you don't take the right precautions.

Learn what to do with patio furniture in winter and how to take care of wood furniture any time of year by checking out our tips below!

1. Keep furniture away from heat sources.

Exposure to sudden blasts of heat can warp or discolor your wood furniture. For this reason, store your patio tables and chairs away from heating vents and fireplaces.

2. Do not put hot drinks directly on furniture.

If you've decided to bring your patio furniture into your living space for the winter, remember not to place hot mugs of coffee or hot chocolate directly on the surface. Doing so will produce a ring that will be hard to remove. Use a coaster instead!

3. Keep the temperature steady.

Quick changes in temperature can warp your furniture and even crack the wood. Place your furniture in a temperature-controlled area where you can monitor the atmosphere. If you're away for a trip, remember to keep the temperature steady to avoid damaging furniture.

4. Dust your furniture regularly.

Preserve the appearance of your furniture by dusting it with a damp cloth every few weeks. Treat the furniture as you would any other piece in your home, giving it a good cleaning any time you're doing chores around the house.

5. Don't put furniture in direct sunlight.

Even though the temperature may be cooler, your furniture can still be susceptible to sun damage. Don't leave your wood furniture in areas that will leave them exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time or your wood may discolor.

6. Polish wood with lemon oil.

Give your patio furniture the care it deserves by wiping it with lemon oil on a regular basis. This will put moisture into the wood and revive its shine. Lemon oil can also act as UV protection for your wood, so be sure to coat the furniture in oil frequently if it is in an area with high sunlight.

7. Maintain humidity levels.

Dry heat will lead to cracked and dry furniture. Monitor the humidity in your home, keeping the moisture up to the 40-45 percent level. If your home is not at this level of humidity, consider purchasing a humidifier to place near your furniture.

Winter Care Tips for Wood Furniture:

You want your wooden patio furniture to maintain the beautiful luster it had when you first bought it. But as your furniture ages and is exposed to the elements, it can dry out over time. Wooden furniture can even be prone to cracking and warping if not properly cared for.

How Do You Keep Wooden Furniture From Drying Out?

So, how do you keep wooden furniture from drying out? Here are some tried-and-true methods for maintaining the beauty and quality of your wood patio furniture:

  • Oil your furniture regularly. (Usually every six months to a year—and don’t forget to use oil specifically designed for your type of furniture.)

  • Keep your furniture out of prolonged, direct sunlight, which can cause the wood to fade and dry out.

  • Don’t put hot objects directly on your wooden furniture. Use a potholder or trivet when placing hot items on the table.

Is Cold Weather Bad for Wood Furniture?

If you’re tempted to leave your patio furniture out during the winter, you may be wondering: Is cold weather bad for wood furniture?

Unfortunately, yes—cold weather can negatively affect your wood furniture. The cold temperatures cause wood to contract, while warmer temperatures cause wood to expand. Repeated contraction and expansion can create a warping effect, meaning your wooden furniture loses its original shape and stability.

To keep wood patio furniture in the best shape, move it to a warmer or climate-controlled area during the winter months.

Does Temperature Affect Wood?

Most parts of the country are prone to either extreme heat or extreme cold—or sometimes both. So if you have wood patio furniture, you may want to know: Does temperature affect wood?

Yes, temperature does have a direct effect on wood furniture. Because all wood furniture contains water, it will expand in warm weather and contract in cold weather. If the furniture expands and contracts repeatedly, it can damage and warp the furniture.

Luckily, you can prevent this from happening by keeping your wood furniture out of direct sunlight and extreme weather. To prolong the life of your patio furniture, cover it or move it to a climate-controlled location during the winter months.

Is It Okay To Leave Patio Furniture Out in the Winter?

Unless you live in a place like Southern California, Florida, or Arizona, there comes a time when the weather cools down, and you won’t be spending much time out on your backyard patio. Since your patio furniture won’t be used for a few months, it’s important to make sure it is properly stored and ready for use in the spring.

But, is it okay to leave patio furniture out in the winter? 

It is best to move patio furniture to a warmer, climate-controlled atmosphere, such as a garage, basement, or storage unit. This is especially important for wood furniture, which can warp when exposed to extreme temperatures.

However, if this isn’t possible, you can leave patio furniture out in the winter—as long as you take proper precautions. You can winterize wood patio furniture by oiling and sealing it to keep moisture out. Then cover the furniture with a weather- and moisture-resistant, custom-fit furniture cover.

It’s also important to clean and dust your furniture before covering it for the winter, which will prevent mold and mildew growth. Be sure to only use cleaning agents that are safe for your type of patio furniture.

How Do You Prepare Outdoor Furniture for Winter?

In many parts of the country, winter is the time to huddle up indoors while the snow, rain, and sleet come down outside. It’s also a time to prepare your outdoor furniture for extreme weather since you won’t be getting much use out of it during the colder months.

So, how do you prepare outdoor furniture for winter.

Ultimately, your preparation depends on the type of wood furniture you own. For example, it’s important to apply a sealant to wood furniture before storing it away for winter, while plastic or aluminum furniture requires cleaning and dusting.

In any case, make sure to choose a high-quality, weather-resistant patio furniture cover to protect your patio furniture from the elements. This will ensure your furniture is dry, clean, and ready for use when the weather warms up in the spring.

Enjoy Your Furniture

Once the weather warms up, you can clean off your furniture and take it back outside for summer entertaining. By following these seven tips, you'll be rewarded with years of enjoyment out of your wood furniture.