Water Wars

Winning The Battle Against The Elements Starts With Choosing The Right Furniture

LeavingWATER. IT MAKES UP 71% OF THE EARTH’S

surface, and it’s essential for life. Our summer activities tend to revolve around the closest body of water, whether it’s the local pool, waterpark, lake or beach.

Yet, water can prove to be the archenemy of your outdoor products, whether the morning rainfall soaked your cushions before your Memorial Day party or the saltwater is acting as a catalyst, increasing the speed of oxidation of your aluminum furniture.

But fear not, all is not lost if you take the proper precautions, including a regular maintenance schedule or customizing your furniture material based on your location.

ENTER MARINE GRADE POLYMER

When water, especially saltwater, is a concern, our first recommendation is marine grade polymer (MGP) furniture. MGP products have become increasingly popular over the past few years, due primarily to the material’s ability to stand up to Mother Nature while requiring very little maintenance.

This HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic material was originally developed for use as boat decking, and grew to be used for numerous outdoor applications, including signage, bars, cabinets, shutters, planters, stairs and eventually outdoor furniture.

The virgin MGP material used by Windward differs from recycled HDPE materials for two major reasons: The first is that recycled material can contain remnants of its first life, making it impure and imprecise. Secondly, recycled HDPE can be very porous, whereas MGP is 99.9% dense—meaning there are no pores for water, dirt or chemicals to sit and mold. It’s made using very precise processes that ensure the color is fully saturated, and it has UV inhibitors to ensure the sun doesn’t diminish its original finish.

While water can cause oxidation in metal, there is very little to worry about regarding MGP furniture. It was literally designed to be in the water. So go ahead, splash your pool water or set your Adirondack in the ocean – you’ll still get years of use out of your furniture.

ALUMINUM PROTECTION

While your kids are playing Marco Polo in the pool, the chlorinated water is waging war on your beautiful powder coated frame finish you spent hours picking out with your spouse. Thankfully, there are some preventative measures you can take to protect against this happening.

When discussing care and maintenance with consumers, the first thing we tell them is that, “Yes, our products are made to be outdoors—but so is your car, and you wouldn’t leave the windows open, not wash and wax it for five years and still expect it to look exactly like the day you drove off the lot.” Keeping products looking new requires some simple upkeep.

First, we recommend to regularly wash your furniture using a soft sponge/cloth and a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Quickly wipe down the furniture and then hose it off—if you live near salt water, it’s important to do this even more often. If the kids have been running between the pool and the furniture all day, just hosing the pieces down can help, as well.

Leaving any salt, chlorine or suntan lotion/oil residue on the furniture to build up over time is what you want to avoid.

We also highly recommend using your favorite water-based wax (i.e. car wax) on any aluminum furniture you might have—this will create a protective shield against the elements and increase the luster of your furniture. Do this as often as you would with your car to get the most life out of your frame finish.

CONSIDER WATERPROOF FABRICS

As we continue to educate the consumer about waterproof options, they in turn continue to grow in popularity. A few years ago we introduced Sunbrella’s waterproof Rain fabrics into our line, and now it accounts for the majority of our commercial cushion quotes due to the ease of maintenance.

To take it a step further, this year we are introducing waterproof cushion liners for a small up-charge. The draw here is that consumers are no longer limited to the specific waterproof fabric we have available; they can now have waterproof cushions with any of our available fabrics.

While rain can ruin your family barbecue, with all of the options on the market today, it no longer has to be a concern for your outdoor furniture. And for saltwater and chlorine, preventative care is the best antidote.

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