Weatherproofing for the great outdoors


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The summer's well upon us, and if you're like us, you're probably spending a lot of time outdoors. Wanna know if your home goods will cut it in the great outdoors? Follow these guidelines.

Furniture: There's nothing quite like lazing around in Adirondack chairs and eating at picnic tables all summer, but the sun and rain can be hard on wood furniture. Spray varnish and tung oil can both be used on raw wood to protect it without affecting the color of the wood. If you want a different color, use waterproofing stain, but test this paint on an inconspicuous area first to check what color it'll yield.

Annual upkeep for metal furniture should keep it up-to-snuff. Every year, sand down rust and protect with liquid or paste wax, or prime and paint with a paint intended for use on outdoor metal surfaces, says This Old House.

Fabrics: Outdoor-appropriate fabrics include Sunbrella, SeaMark, denim-backed vinyl, vinyl laminates, vinyl-coated mesh and more. Most outdoor fabric is water-resistant, not waterproof, though, according to Overstock.com. To keep these fabrics vibrant, re-protect them after cleaning or every spring and fall. Look for a waterproofing spray meant for sailboats for the best results.

Accessories and decor: In general, nothing of great value should be used as decor outdoors, because let's face it, the outdoors are tough on fancy decor items. That said, items made from the materials above will generally fare well outside. Plastics and ceramics will also do well, but might fade.