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How to Buy Outdoor Patio Furniture

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How much should I expect to pay for patio furniture?

This is the big question, isn’t it?  How much is this going to cost?  The answer to this question varies widely due to several factors.  In short, expect to pay the same amount or more than what you pay for indoor furniture.  Outdoor furniture requires more to prepare it for the elements of sun, heat, wind, cold, dry, and wet extremes.  Here are the main ingredients that contribute to how much patio furniture costs:
What it’s made out of – aluminum, extruded, cast, wrought iron, steel, recycled plastic, composite plastic, woven material (wicker, rattan, resin, polyethylene, synthetic), wood, teak, or a combination of more than one material.
The thickness of the frame material overall as well as the thickness of the interior sidewalls of any legs or tubular pieces.
The type of finish applied to the metal parts – paint, powder coating, hand applied, machine applied, multiple layers, multiple colors, multiple steps.
How heavy it is.
The labor involved in making it.
Assembly required versus it arrives all in one piece.
Where it’s made.
How many times it’s changed hands between the original manufacturing facility and your back yard.
Welding is more expensive than nuts and bolts.
The type of foam used inside the cushions and the fabric used on the outside of the cushions – Sunbrella, Olefin, Phifertex, other.
The amount of UV inhibitors or UV stabilizers that have been used in the material, if any.
Outdoor patio furniture is one of those items where you get what you pay for.  If it’s inexpensive, it is cheap.  Every aspect about how the furniture is made and what materials are in it add up to the price tag.  In the composite recycled plastic patio furniture category, you can see a direct correlation between the ounces of composite in the piece and the price.  The heavier it is, the more expensive it is.  The material is molded and made into lumber, then made into furniture.  Every granule of plastic that’s processed and put into the lumber counts towards dollars in the price.
You can definitely go to any of the big box home improvement stores, membership clubs, or discount retailers and find patio furniture at very low prices.  You might find a dining table and four chairs for $99.  This is temporary, disposable furniture.  We’ve all bought it.  Some cheap furniture is sometimes sold at not-so-cheap prices.  Nice, specialty retailers may blend some very inexpensive imported non-Sunbrella aluminum sets right in with their luxury lines and price them at similar price points.  Some stores mark up more than others.  Some high-end name brands make a very cheap line exclusively for a big box store and consumers naturally assume it must be good because it carries the nice brand name.  It can be tricky to figure it all out.
Generally speaking, a quality cushioned chair will cost between $800 and $2,000.  A quality sofa will cost $1,800 to $3,000.  Look for dining tables between $900 and $2,000 or more.  These can vary quite a bit based on design and size.  Some stone tops can sway the price quite a bit.  You can certainly pay a lot more for each.  Swivel rocking chairs and gliders are slightly more than stationary chairs.  Dining chairs with no cushion or a thin seat cushion will cost $300 to $600 or more.  Chaise loungers range from $600 to $2,000.
Most first time consumers of quality outdoor patio furniture are surprised (and maybe a little confused) by the wide variation in price, and how much they need to spend in order to get quality pieces.  Give yourself a little time to do some research and look at the options.  Allow the reality to set in and budget accordingly.  Once you decide you are buying good patio furniture and you’ve committed your dollars to it, have fun!  There are so many fun styles and colors available.  Take a chance with a bright color or pattern.  Accessorize with accent pillows and a rug.  Look for metal art pieces to compliment it elsewhere in your yard.  If you love the outdoors, it can be your happy place of luxury and enjoyment for many years.
  • Anesia St. Clair

How to clean Sunbrella outdoor patio furniture cushions

Sunbrella fabric is treated with a water and stain repellant when it’s manufactured. Cleaning the fabric may remove this repellant, so a re-treatment of fabric guard is recommended after you clean Sunbrella with any soapy solution.

It is not recommended that you unzip the covers on your cushions and remove the Sunbrella fabric from the inner foam. It is very difficult to get the foam back inside with the corners tightly in place and without creasing or ripping the Dacron that may be wrapped around your foam. Always clean your cushions with the Sunbrella fabric in place.

Preventative Maintenance:

Vacuum your cushions regularly to remove surface dirt and pollen and to prevent it from becoming embedded into the fibers of your Sunbrella fabric. Fine dirt can act as an abrasive substance that tears the threads of the fabric and wears it thin. Once dirt gets through the fabric and into the foam, it needs to be drenched with water and pushed all the way through and out of the cushion.

Dirt on the surface of the fabric can be removed regularly using a quick and easy clean up process. Drench a microfiber towel in water. Use it to wipe the surface of the cushion off. Rinse the rag with clean water and continue to wipe off the surface until dirt no longer appears on the rag.

Bird Droppings:

Remove this as soon as you notice it. Bird droppings are acidic and can cause permanent discoloration. If it’s dried, use a credit card or other hard edge (not a knife) to swipe across it to remove the majority of it. Vacuum the area and spot clean using the cleaning instructions below. If it’s wet, treat it as a new stain using the instructions below.

New Spills and Stains:

Blot with a clean, dry, absorbent cloth or paper towel. Cushions treated with fabric guard may repel the stain completely. If it’s an oil-based stain, apply corn starch from your kitchen pantry to it. Allow the corn starch to absorb the liquid and turn into a crumbly consistency. Use a hard edge such as a credit card to scrape the corn starch off. Vacuum and then proceed to clean.

For non-oily stains and oily stains that have been absorbed with corn starch, spot clean the area. Mix a solution of mild soap and lukewarm water. Use ¼ cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid or Woolite per gallon of water. Put it in a spray bottle and saturate the fabric in the affected area. Use a sponge or very soft bristle brush to work the soap into the stain. Rinse the area with water to clean the soap residue away. Do this by repeatedly wiping the surface with a wet sponge or rag until soap suds are no longer visible. It may be necessary to spray the area with a squirt bottle filled with plain water.

As an alternative and for particularly stubborn stains, use the only stain cleaner officially recommended by Sunbrella: 303 Products Spot Cleaner.

Be aware that cleaning only a spot on the fabric may result in a water ring. It’s best to clean the spot and then clean or at least dampen the overall surface to avoid this.

Overall Dirty Cushions:

Scrape any crusty material off with a credit hard or other hard edge (not a knife). Vacuum the cushions off. Mix a solution of mild soap and lukewarm water. Use ¼ cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid or Woolite per gallon of water. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it over the entire surface. Use a very soft bristle brush to work the soap into the fabric. Rinse the area with water to clean the soap residue away. Do this by repeatedly wiping the surface with a wet sponge or rag until soap suds are no longer visible. It may be necessary to spray the area with a squirt bottle filled with plain water.

If the cushions have been neglected for a long time, if you unzip the Sunbrella fabric and see dirt inside of the fabric and in the foam, or if there is a lot of dirt and it becomes necessary to use a lot of water, consider using a hose during your rinsing. If you have or are going to get dirt through your fabric and into the foam, the goal is to rinse the dirt out of the foam. It will be necessary to apply a large volume of water in order to push the dirt through and out the other side. You do not want to trap dirt or pollen inside of the foam. If you have reticulated foam, or dry foam, this will be very easy to do. If you have a denser foam, it will take bit of time for the water to saturate and move through. You may use a water extractor to vacuum up most of the water before setting the cushion out to air dry.

Always allow cushions to air dry with them standing on end, zipper side down. Do not put in a dryer. If you ever need to use an iron, be sure to use the setting for synthetic fabric and test it in an inconspicuous place first. Do not use a steamer to remove wrinkles.

As an alternative to soap and water, use the only fabric cleaner recommended by Sunbrella: 303 Products Fabric Cleaner. Remember to treat your Sunbrella with fabric guard after cleaning. You have just stripped away the original factory-applied repellent that was on the fabric. Sunbrella recommends 303 Products Fabric Guard. Two light applications of fabric guard is recommended. Allow the first application to dry before beginning the second application.

Mold and Mildew:

Use the same cleaning method as described above, except the cleaning solution will include bleach. The recipe is:

1 cup of bleach

¼ cup Dawn dishwashing liquid or Woolite

1 gallon of water

When you spray the solution onto the moldy fabric, allow it to soak into the fabric for 15 minutes before working it in and then rinsing. If this solution does not remove the mildew, you can strengthen it by increasing the bleach.

Always treat your Sunbrella with fabric guard after cleaning. Sunbrella recommends two light applications of 303 Products Fabric Guard. Allow the first application to dry before beginning the second application.

  • Anesia St. Clair