Outdoor furniture is designed to withstand damage from ultraviolet light and moisture, but not all of it is designed to tackle more severe weather. Wind and rain can still damage many materials used to make outdoor furniture-- fortunately, there are some varieties that can weather a storm and still look new.
Waterproof Your Furniture
Proper maintenance, including painting it or keeping it sealed with a weatherproofing compound, can help extend the life of wood or wicker furniture. Choose paints and sealants specifically designed for outdoor use-- these will prevent peeling or flaking when exposed to water, and may contain UV filters to cut down on fading and damage from ultraviolet light. Metal furniture, especially wrought iron or steel, also needs to be properly waxed to help it repel water and avoid rusting.
Shield Furniture from Extreme Weather
No matter what material your outdoor furniture is made of or what it's treated with, you can greatly extend its life by covering it or bringing it indoors during inclement weather. If that isn't possible, consider investing in some furniture covers. Waterproof covers can help minimize your furniture's exposure to the elements and protect it from fading.
Choose a Strong Material
As a rule, natural fibers don't hold up as well as synthetic material. Materials like wood and wicker can crack, weather, or even rot over time, affecting both their looks and performance. Waterproof materials like plastic tend to fare better when it comes to holding up under repeated exposure to rainy conditions. While plastic is easy to care for and inexpensive, plastic doesn't tend to last as long as properly cared-for metal or wood furniture and typically isn't as attractive.
Consider Metal Furniture
Metal furniture is another option. It typically is prettier than plastic, but can be heavy and hard to move. Though it holds up better than wood and can last for the lifetime of a house if it is properly cared for, wrought iron or steel still requires cleaning and protective wax to keep it rust-free. Aluminum furniture is lower-maintenance and will not rust, but it can be very expensive.
If you're looking for attractive outdoor furniture that will hold up no matter what nature throws at it, plastic or metal may be the way to go. If you adore the comfort and look of wood or wicker, be sure to keep your furniture clean and invest in some paste wax to keep it sealed and weatherproof. No matter what material you choose, the right maintenance and a little foresight will help keep your furniture in nearly new condition.