6 Steps to Make Your Outdoor Patio Set Weatherproof

by Jeffrey Tottenham March 01, 2021

6 Steps to Make Your Outdoor Patio Set Weatherproof

So, you've invested in an outdoor patio set. Outdoor furniture can be a pricey investment! However, it can transform your backyard into a cozy oasis perfect for entertaining your loved ones and relaxing after a busy week. With your outdoor living space comes unpredictable weather. It's normal for you to want to take steps to ensure that your patio set will withstand rain, snow, and sleet.

Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to help your patio set maintain its integrity in even the harshest weather environments. The six steps to making your patio furniture weatherproof are:

  • Choose the right sealant based on the material of your furniture
  • Use ScotchGuard on upholstery
  • Wipe and clean furniture thoroughly
  • Sand 
  • Apply varnish and/or sealant
  • If your varnish requires more than one coat then sand and reapply
  • Let dry

Of course, if you have a shed or garage, it's always a good idea to move your patio set indoors when you aren't using it for a prolonged amount of time. However, if you want to protect your patio set from rainstorms and mildew, consider taking these easy steps. 

6 Steps To Making Your Furniture Waterproof

  • Choose the Right Sealant for Your Furniture

Choose high-quality patio furniture with natural, durable properties. Depending on the material of your patio furniture, the sealant you need to buy will differ. 

Depending on the level of maintenance you're willing to commit to, the type of material you should invest in will change . For example, wood furniture might be more high-maintenance than metal. You'll want to weigh out what aesthetic best suits your design with what maintenance option best suits your lifestyle. Many patio sets also come with upholstered cushions, which will add an extra layer of maintenance to your patio furniture. 

Some of our favorite patio furniture materials are:

  • Wicker
  • Wood
  • Metal


Wicker is an excellent material to invest in. Wicker is most often made out of split reed or rattan. It offers a beautiful indie or bohemian vibe to any outdoor dining space. Furniture companies wily coat wicker with a clear varnish or paint. This repels water and minimizes mildew build-up risk. This can reduce the steps that you need to take.

Wicker is a perfect option to elevate the style of your outdoor living area. For example, our Tortuga Outdoor Resin Wicker Sea Pines Rocker is the ideal patio glider for your deck. The all-weather wicker is all-weather and won't split, stain, or crack. It's also sealed with resin to amp up its water-resistant properties.


Do you love the traditional look of wood? There's nothing more timeless and classy than a wood patio set. However, you must consider different factors if you want to invest in wood products. 

For starters, we recommend investing in teak, ipe, or eucalyptus wood pieces. Teak is the most common wood material used in patio furniture. It maintains its beautiful shade and naturally has a high oil content, which beads water. Over time, teak will begin to grey, which is a highly sought-after look. 

Two other common kinds of wood that manufacturers work with are ipe and eucalyptus. Ipe isn't a very malleable wood, making it more challenging to work with. Yet, it's durable in harsh conditions. Eucalyptus is one of our favorite wood choices, as it's a cost-effective option, and the natural hue is complementary to any set-up. Consider shopping our large selection of eucalyptus furniture.


For a more industrial design, you may consider metal patio furniture. You won't have to worry about metal patio dining tables splintering or splitting over time, but metal sets pose the risk of rust. Most often, you'll find aluminium, iron, or steel sets. All of these sets, except aluminium, are subject to rust. 

To protect your metal set, you'll want to periodically apply a coat of quality liquid varnish or powder coating to avoid rusting.

2. Use ScotchGuard on Upholstery

Many patio swings or patio dining chairs will come with upholstered cushions for comfort. Upholstery is especially vulnerable to the effects of water. Over time, water build-up can cause fading of the fabric, mildew, and the fabric's integrity to break down. 

Choosing patio furniture with upholstery will add an extra layer of maintenance. Upholstery can become sunbleached, get mildew, and is more challenging to wash than your wood, metal, or wicker furniture. With that being said, upholstery is an incredible way to add a certain level of personality and style to your backyard! If you're open to putting effort into maintaining the upholstery, then it's an excellent way to add an extra layer of sophistication to your patio.  

Once you buy the patio set of your dreams, be sure to pick up the ScotchGuard Water Shield for the upholstery. Generously spray the ScotchGuard on the entire upholstered surface. Follow the instructions on the back of the can. You'll want to make sure that this process is done in a well-ventilated area. 

The ScotchGuard will help the water bead off the fabric's surface and help the fabric last longer. It can come with a harsh scent, but it works wonders for transforming your fabric into a water-resistant surface. PRO TIP: It'll even protect against those pesky red wine spills and dirty dog paw prints that everyone dreads!  

If you live in an area with harsh, long winters, consider putting the cushions in a dry, covered place such as a garage or shed throughout the off-season. This will help the lifespan of the upholstery. You'll want to repeat the ScotchGuard annually for optimal results.

3. Wipe and Clean Furniture

Keeping your furniture clean after exposure to elements is necessary for optimal performance. Keep this in mind after any major climate events (such as a rainstorm). Not only will responding help cut the risk of mildew, but it'll also lower the risk of rust build-up on metal surfaces. 

To weatherproof your patio furniture, your furniture must stay clean. You'll want to wipe your furniture down periodically from dirt and debris. Dirt and bacteria can be harmful to your patio furniture, so stay diligent about keeping it clean. Not to mention, it looks way better! 

Mildew will grow in moist areas, so you'll want to try and keep your patio furniture dry as much as possible. If your cushions are wet, put them in direct sunlight to dry (or at least in a heated area, as you may risk them getting sunbleached). If you notice mildew build-up, you can mix one tablespoon of bleach with an entire pint of water and wipe it down to kill mildew. Keep in mind, once mildew forms, it's difficult to kill off. Try avoiding it growing in the first place by taking necessary precautions.

Before applying the varnish, make sure you clean the entire surface of your furniture. If there are directions on the can or bottle for cleaning, follow those. You may want to mix water with a few drops of dish soap or vinegar. Regardless, clean every hidden crevice of the furniture to rid it of any dust build-up, mildew growth, and dirt. This will allow for a more straightforward application of the sealant.

4. Sand

This step is crucial for wood furniture, as it will help the varnish or sealant stick to the surface. You'll want to sand between any coats of sealant if you're planning to apply another coat. 

Sand with rougher sandpaper at first to remove any larger imperfections. Once you've removed the debris from the large sandpaper, you will want to go in with extra-fine sandpaper or with "0000" steel wool on metal surfaces. After sanding, wipe down with a damp cloth to remove the remaining dust. Let dry before applying sealant. 

Sanding your patio furniture might seem meticulous, but it will drastically improve your end result! You can employ the use of an automatic sander to speed up the process if you deem fit. However, sanding by hand can be just as effective. 

Once you've finished sanding and wiping, you're ready for the final big step! 

5.  Apply Varnish and/or Sealant 

Regardless of the material you've chosen for your patio furniture, there will be a sealant or varnish option for you! It's vital that you perform annual maintenance and that you do ample research on the best way to protect your furniture. 

Varnish and sealant will help close the pores in the furniture and help repel water. This will make your furniture waterproof and weatherproof and protect it. For some furniture materials, you'll have to apply these topical products yearly. However, others may be less maintenance. 

A good furniture dealer, such as the Rocking Furniture team, will be knowledgeable. We educate our customers on the best tactics and tips to keep your furniture looking brand new! After all, patio furniture is a large investment, and you must do what you can to protect your furniture's integrity. 

When applying a varnish or sealant, you'll want to follow the instructions given on the can carefully. Take your time while doing this process, and carefully apply with a brush or rag. Be tedious, and make sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies as you do this. It is a meticulous process, but it'll protect your investment, so it's worth it! Do this in a well-ventilated area and give the furniture enough time to dry appropriately following the application. 

Make sure that the furniture isn't used for 24-48 hours following the application, unless otherwise specified by the bottle or can. Let the furniture dry in a cool, dry place.

6. Purchase a Water-Resistant Cover

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! If you've done all of the steps, then invest in a water-resistant cover. This might seem like cheating, but it's actually a fantastic option for more extended periods of time when you won't be using your patio furniture. 

Options such as clear varnish and ScotchGuard are must-haves for frequent use. Furthermore, there are several states that will go through month-long periods where it's too cold outside for patio furniture. During this time, water-resistant covers are the best way to protect their furniture (if they don't have an indoor storage option, that is). 

Many patio set companies sell cover-up options that can be draped over furniture. The exterior features water-resistant fabric, and the interior is padded for added protection. If you can't find a perfect fit for your table, you can use a tarp and bungee cords to tighten it up around each piece. 

Whether you buy a cover or get created with a DIY option, it will prolong your furniture's lifespan and protect it. We still recommend storing any upholstered cushions in a clean, dry environment, such as a shed or garage, so the colors in the fabric don't fade. 

To Sum Up

Does weatherproofing your patio furniture sound like a lot of work? It can be, but it's worth it to protect your outdoor oasis investment! , our curated patio furniture collection at Rocking Furniture features high-quality options made out of the best materials that will stand the test of time. However, by taking a few simple steps, your furniture will last even longer! 

If you're considering investing in new patio furniture, the best first step is to consider what level of maintenance you're willing to take on. Once you determine that, look into the different material options and compare wood, metal, wicker, and upholstery. From there, you'll be able to make an educated decision on what patio set is right for you. Regardless, taking small steps to maintain the integrity, appearance, and use of your patio set will pay off in the long run. If you have any questions about our tips and tricks, the team at Rocking Furniture is happy to help!

Jeffrey Tottenham
Jeffrey Tottenham

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