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Aluminum Furniture Care
Cast or extruded aluminum outdoor furniture will not rust. It can, however, in extreme situations discolor or develop pitted or rough surfaces. This is primarily because of exposure to environmental pollutants. These pollutants can cause the surface to oxidize and corrode. Powder coated finishes are very effective in preventing corrosion.
Beginning and end of season cleaning is recommended and should generally be adequate to maintain the condition of your furniture. Cleaning the furniture using a soft brush and a mild detergent will be sufficient. If the surface has become pitted, adding a mild household acid to your cleaning solution, such as lemon juice or vinegar will help. Using a fine scrub pad of some sort, very fine steel wool for instance, will help if there is a surface grittiness that does not easily wash off.
It is perfectly acceptable to use a silicone spray or auto-wax to further protect the surface of finished aluminum but it is not necessary. It is most important to wash your furniture well before storing it for the winter to prevent the build up of corrosive pollutants to act on the surface over the winter months.
Covering your furniture if left outside is recommended but not necessary. Any covers used should be of a breathable material. Many companies offer custom covers.
Polywood Furniture Care
Polywood material is made of HDPE plastic resin that has been purified and UV protected. It is generally cared for and cleaned with soap and warm water. For certain stains and additional cleaning power, a 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water solution can be used on the product without affecting the color. Also, a popular method of cleaning is a high pressure power wash. (Not to exceed 1,500 psi, which is the quivalent of a car wash.) The surface characteristics of the product may require the use of a soft bristle brush to get into the creases.
The hardware used in the assembly and construction of Polywood furniture is an 18-8 commercial grade stainless steel that has an additional Xylan protective and cosmetic coating. Although the quality of the hardware has a high level of corrosive resistance, the hardware can show some sign of corrosion in salt air environments.
A practical solution to these signs of corrosion would be to wash the product with soap and water. Use a soft birstle brush to scrub the corroding areas of hardware. Also, use appliance touch up paint in the appropriate color to protect the hardware. Appliance touch up paint can be purchased at local hardware stores.
Teak Furniture Care
Teak is a deciduous hardwood tree from the highlands of south-east Asia. It does not come from tropical rain forests. Teakwood has a naturally high oil content which makes it both stable and resistant to rotting when exposed to climatic extremes. This is the reason it is the preferred wood for outdoor furniture.
Teakwood is graded for quality before it goes to manufacture. First grade teak is naturally the most expensive but it makes the cleanest, most stable and most desirable product. Second and third grade teak are also highly saturated with teak oil which will give it great endurance, but they generally contain more imperfections such as worm holes and knots.
All grades of teakwood will weather in a similar way in an outdoor environment. If left unsealed, teak will weather to a silvery gray. The time it takes to weather will vary with exposure to different climatic conditions, but it can happen within a 9-12 month period. A slight checking or lifting of the grain, even small cracks, may occur during this process - it is completely normal as the wood expands and contracts.
Wicker Furniture Care
Natural, organic wicker is usually made from rattan, a tropical climbing palm that can be split into thin strips and woven. It should be used only on covered porches or indoor areas of your house with no direct exposure to the elements. Otherwise, over time the natural fiber, painted or not, will deteriorate and break down. It can, however, be scrubbed as needed with a mild detergent using a soft brush. It can also be helpful in maintaining the surface and structural integrity if exposed to the effects of weather. Using a paint spayer will be the most effective method to cover and fill the woven surface when painting.
Synthetic Wicker is made from resin or vinyl stips, extruded or pressed, woven onto an aluminum frame. They are remarkably durable and many are completely resistant to the exposure from all weather conditions. Some are actually formulated with a UV resistor to prevent discoloration from sun exposure as well. They can be left outside, uncovered through all seasons if necessary. Covers can be custom made or purchased if desired. It is important that the covers be made of a breathable material if used to prevent the possibility of mildew.
Synthetic wicker should be cleaned with a mild detergent using a soft brush. Rinse well to remove all residues. Synthetic wickers should not be painted.
Wrought Iron Furniture Care
Wrought Iron furniture is beautiful but requires the most maintenance. It will rust if the bare metal is exposed and that exposure is not repaired of immediately. If rust does occur, the affected areas need to be sanded to remove the rust, primed with a rust resistant primer and repainted.
Wrought Iron furniture can remain outdoors over the winter months, covered or not, as long as you realize that over time it will rust and will have to be repainted.
Oudoor Cushion Care
Most new cushions are covered with coated or treated strong synthetic fabrics that are not damaged by summer weather and can be left outside all season. Sunbrella is the most well-known of these fabrics and is used by most of the companies we carry. This type of plyacrylic material feels like cotton but is water repellent and mildew resistant. The open weave polyesters (similar to sling fabrics) or vinyl is easy to care for.
It is recommended to cover cushions with a towel if you have on suntan lotion. The fabric, and sun lotions, when hit by the sun's ultra-violet rays cause a chemical reaction that may stain the fabric. Warranty does not cover this sort of staining.
Treated fabrics will resist mildew as well when exposed to moisture. It is important to turn the cushions on their ends when exposed to a heavy soaking. Good quality cushions are designed to drain well and dry quickly. Certainly protecting any cushion from rain and sun when possible will prolong its life.
Most good quality outdoor umbrellas are made from the same kind of attractive synthetic materials that outdoor cushions are made from. They will have a high resistance to rain and sun damage.
It is important to close umbrellas during heavy rain and high winds to prevent the slight chance of blowing over. It is also important after a storm has passed to open the umbrella to prevent dirt or debris from collecting in the folds of the umbrella's canopy. When storing an umbrella, whether in the winter or for other reasons, make certain it is clean and dry.
The heavy fabric and vinyl umbrellas should be lightly scrubbed with a mild detergent and water using a soft brush. Always rinse very well to remove any soap residue. You can also use auto vinyl top cleaner on vinyl umbrellas for hard to clean areas that light detergents didn't affect. We carry a few products that work well to clean and protect umbrellas from mildew. Always dry umbrellas in an open position.