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Caring for metal patio furniture

There’s a lot more to care for than just the frame and seat pads

Posted: April 11, 2009 12:55 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
This 10 foot by 12 foot steel gazebo ($480 from Lowe’s) easily covers this Cayo Bay table and chairs. This 10 foot by 12 foot steel gazebo ($480 from Lowe’s) easily covers this Cayo Bay table and chairs.
This 10 foot by 12 foot steel gazebo ($480 from Lowe’s) easily covers this Cayo Bay table and chairs.
Covering metal outdoor furniture when not in use or storing indoors will help to protect it from the elements and the sun’s harmful rays. A regular cleaning and waxing of the painted surfaces can extend the life of your aluminum or cast iron patio furniture.

Metal frames
Exposed painted surfaces can oxidize over time. Faded paint can be refreshed with an automotive cleaner and wax. Heavily oxidized surfaces may require a treatment with a restorative product to remove the oxidation such as a fine automotive polishing compound.

Avoid the use of rubbing compound, which is more abrasive and can leave fine scratches in the paint. Follow up with a coat of wax.
Chips in the paint on wrought iron furniture should be touched up to prevent rust. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol, lightly sand and touch-up the paint using a touch-up kit from the manufacturer if available or use an automotive touch-up paint that closely matches the color.

The use of an rust resistant primer will help keep the rust from spreading. If the touched up area is too glossy, it can be dulled down by buffing the area with extra fine (0000) steel wool.

The fasteners used to assemble the frame should be checked periodically for rust or corrosion. Replace any that show signs of deterioration. Lubricate chair swivels regularly.

Vinyl straps
The vinyl on strapped furniture should be kept clean and free from body oils and tanning lotions or sun block. Recommend that guests use a towel or provide pads for use on chaise loungers and chairs. Most outdoor furniture pads have machine washable covers or the entire pad may be washed. Follow the manufacturers’ suggestions for fabric care.

Routine washing of the vinyl straps will help to keep staining and discoloration to a minimum. Wipe up any spills immediately. Wash the surface with a mild detergent and warm water solution using a soft cloth or sponge, followed by a thorough rinse with clear water.

Wipe surfaces dry to keep hard water spots and mineral deposits to a minimum. Apply a vinyl protectant to the straps after cleaning.

Replace torn or cracked straps. Replacement straps of the correct length and color are available from the manufacturer or through your local dealer. If you are unable to replace the strap yourself, contact a local furniture repair shop. They should be able to replace the strap for you for a nominal fee.

Fabric slings
Fabric slings on aluminum patio furniture can be washed with a mild soap solution. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry. Replacement slings are available to replace any that may be torn or tattered. Replacement can be accomplished with just a few simple hand tools. Most furniture repair shops or dealers offer this service for a nominal fee.

Check and replace missing or defective glides. Dragging aluminum outdoor furniture across an abrasive surface such as concrete or stone can cause premature wear of your glides. Moving aluminum outdoor furniture with missing or defective glides can cause the paint to chip, which can lead to corrosion or damage.

Chaise lounge backrest ratchets
If your older chaise lounge backrest has plastic ratchets to adjust the height, we recommend the replacement of the complete chaise lounge. Serious injuries have resulted from the failure of these ratchets, causing the backrest to forcefully collapse.

Tempered glass table tops
Tempered glass table tops should be cleaned regularly using warm soapy water and rinse. Dry with a lint free cloth. Glass cleaners may also be used.


Your outdoor furniture can be refinished and restrapped for a fraction of the cost of replacement. If the frames are in good repair they can be sandblasted to remove the old finish and any corrosion that has set in there.
A baked on powder coated finish is then applied and the frames look like new. New vinyl straps, slings and glides can be installed and your patio furniture will look and function as well as a new set.



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