Ok so Winter is quickly approaching here in the northeastern United States. We have enjoyed the comforts of our patios all through the long Summer days. We want to keep our patio items in good conditon for next season. In this post we will look at how to winterize a patio.
What needs to be prepared for Winter ?
Our patio furniture is a good place to start with our winterization. The effects of the weather on unprotected furniture will greatly reduce their expected life span. A fabric topped outdoor gazebo will need special considerations to insure that it will not become damaged from the Winter elements. Even a permanent outdoor structure will need some prep to help it weather the Winter.
Our outdoor kitchens and their various components will also have to have special considerations in order to prevent damage. Heaters and other patio amenities will have to be removed and stored in most instances. It will also be a good time to give the patio surface a good cleaning to prevent stains from forming from items such as fallen leaves.
What needs to be done?
Starting with patio furniture we should begin by cleaning cushions. If your furniture has removeable foam inserts remove them. Apply warm soapy water to the fabric and scrub with a soft brisltle brush. Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry. Place cushions with non removable inserts on edge to allow the water to drain from them more quickly. Store dry cushions under cover preferably inside.
Wood furniture of most hardwoods can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution and a soft nylon bristle brush and sponge. Soak up excess water with a cloth or sponge and allow the furniture to dry naturally.
Hose off metal furniture with a garden hose and then wipe down with a cloth soaked in warm soapy water. Rinse the cloth in clean water and wipe down the furniture again. Dry the furniture with a micro fiber cloth.
Clean synthetic wicker materials by vacuming and light brushing to remove superficial dirt and debris. Follow this with a cleaning with a mild soap and water solution and a soft brush. Rinse the furniture well and allow it to air dry in the shade.
Store furniture inside when possible. When this is not possible the furniture can be stacked closely together and covered with water proof covers fastened securely so that they do not come uncovered during windy conditions. It may also be possible to protect your individual pieces by puchasing covers. Remove furniture from wood decks, for storage, as some damage to the deck could occur.
Fabric topped gazebos
The fabric top of your gazebo should be removed cleaned and stored. This is especially important if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. The weight of collecting snow could damage your gazebo. Use a soft bristle brush and clean the fabric with a mild detergent and water solution. Rinse well with a garden hose and allow it to air dry before folding and storing, preferably in a warm dry location.
An outdoor kitchen that is equipped with running water will need to have the plumbing drained in freezing climates to prevent broken pipes. A well designed kitchen will make it easy for you to shut off and drain the water from your outdoor plumbing. Check with your installer to get more info on this matter.
Clean the grill inside and out. Remove all food spatters using a degreaser if necessary. Remove the grills and clean the underside. Wipe the grills with vegetable oil to help prevent rust. You can season the grills you have wiped with vegetable oil by closing the lid and heating them to 500 degrees F for 20 minutes.The grills should be brown or black when properly seasoned. Finally place a cover over the grill and turn off the gas.
Remove all items from a refrigerator. Wipe and clean the inside. Remove the front grill and vacumn underneath the refrigerator. Do not cover the refrigerator.
Prepare any unfinished metal cabinetry, such as stainless steel by cleaning and polishing. Protect wood cabinetry by cleaning and applying oil or some type of sealant.
Gazebos and Pergolas
Most of these structures are made of woods, such as cedar and pressure treated woods, suited for standing up to the ravages of Winter. However, they will still benefit from a little attention at seasons end. Remove all furniture and clean and store it as described before . Sweep out any accumulated debris such as sticks and leaves. It is also a good time to sweep away cob webs. Finally a good hosing will wash away any remaining dirt and grime. Use a soft bristle brush and a mild detergent and water solution to clean away mold, algae or mildew.
Patio heaters are usually constructed with either stainless steel or powder coated metal exterior surfaces. The first place to start in preparing a patio heater for the Winter is to clean and polish the stainless steel removing stains and grime. Clean powder coated finshes with a mild detergent and water solution.
These heaters are usually equipped with chrome or steel plated burners. Burners can rust can from being exposed to outoor humidity and moisture. Therefore, it is best to store a heater with this type of burner inside during the winter or at least under cover. Some reflectors on patio heaters are easy to remove and this will aid in finding inside storage space or wrapping your heater with a cover.
Patio and Deck Surfaces
Having completed the storage of your patio furniture and accessories, this is a great time to do a little preventative maintenance to your patio and deck surfaces. Hose off and sweep clean masonry surfaces. Scrub off light patches of dirt with a medium stiff bristle push broom. Likewise, a light pressure washing can also remove any tougher to clean areas.
Look around at the joints between stones for missing material and replace any missing areas with poly sand or cement as necessary. Check around the edges of your patio for areas where the back filled dirt may be washing away and add more material where needed.
Clean wood decks similarily to the patio surfaces as described above and also look around for areas of soft or rotted wood and replace as necessary. Check for loosening connections of railings and stair parts. Some times tightening a loose screw or two can make a big difference. Finally remember to seal the wood surfaces occasionally. As this will help to prevent damages from water.
Enjoy your outdoor areas for years to come
Spend a little extra time at the end of the patio season preparing your outdoor items for their long winter sleep. This will ensure that you will get the most years out of your products. By preparing well for the Winter it will be a snap to be up and ready for the next time you are itching to get outside when the warm weather returns.
A little cleaning and protecting goes along way in lengthening the useful life of our outdoor products and structures.
Do you have any tips for methods of preparing our patios and decks for the Winter. Please comment below on how you prepare your patios for the Winter. I love hearing from you and any tips to make preparing our items for the Winter with a little more ease would be greatly appreciated by all.
Thank You !!