How to Choose The Best Rattan Furniture Cover
Investing in a rattan furniture set can transform the garden, providing a spot where you and your family can relax, socialise and hang out, both during the day and evening.
Given that many of us spend a lot of money on our garden furniture, investing in quality pieces, it’s important to effectively protect the pieces from bad weather.
Although garden furniture is, of course, designed for outdoor use, this doesn’t make it invincible. Pouring rain, harsh sunlight and snow can weaken garden furniture and cause it to fade. Plus, dirt, debris and bird droppings can also build up on furniture if left uncovered (and trust me when I say that cleaning bird poo off rattan weave is far from enjoyable!).
There are a lot of covers on the market, specifically designed for rattan furniture. These covers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit anything from lounge chairs and cube sets to L-shaped sofas and large, rectangular coffee tables. What’s important is making sure you’re getting a quality cover that will adequately protect your investment.
If you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to finding the best rattan furniture cover, the following information should help inform your decision.
Finding the Best Fabric
You’ll want the furniture cover to be effective in summer and winter – this means it needs to be both UV resistant and waterproof. However, it’s also important that your cover doesn’t rip easily. If the wind gets underneath your cover and your furniture has lots of sharp corners, durable fabric, perhaps with reinforced corners, is less likely to snag.
Oxford Fabric is a common choice for furniture covers thanks to its durability and resistance to the elements. This fabric is made by weaving different fibres together and yarns together and it’s usually made with a blend of polyester, rayon and cotton. This gives it a thickness and durability that other fabrics lack.
The woven design of Oxford Fabric gives it great breathability, making it a good option for furniture that needs ventilation. It’s usually treated with a waterproof coating that gives it added resistance to the elements. After a few years, it may need to be treated with a waterproofing product to ensure it stays waterproof.
One thing to look out for is the dernier, a measurement of fibre thickness. Oxford fabric usually comes in 210D, 420D and 600D. Those with a higher dernier are made using thicker fibres and tend to be more expensive – although the downside is that they may be less breathable.
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant
Waterproof covers are designed to withstand heavy rain and standing water. Rain will simply roll off waterproof covers, and they can be washed with a hose if needed.
Water resistant on the other hand, means the cover can withstand the odd rain shower and splash, but not torrential downpours. Standing water will eventually seep through, so you may wish to raise the middle of your furniture to prevent water from pooling.
Many furniture covers claim to be waterproof but are actually water resistant. If you have doubts, it can be useful to read the reviews of other customers online, to see exactly how waterproof the cover is in a real-life setting.
Design Features that Affect Fit
The fit of the cover is going to directly impact its effectiveness. If your furniture set is installed in an exposed area, you may find wind gets underneath, puffs the cover up and blows it off.
To prevent this, look for a cover with secure fittings. The best covers will have multiple ways of being secured, at various heights. Look for elastic drawstrings, reinforced ties, velcro and buckles, all of which can make the cover more secure.
Hook-and-loop fasteners are useful to have around the middle of the cover as they can cinch the cover in, creating a tighter fit even if the cover is a little big.
Good Ventilation Prevents Mould
It’s important that your cover is well ventilated. Putting a thick cover on damp garden furniture will encourage mould and mildew to form.
Many covers come with air vents or mesh panels on the sides to allow air to circulate around your furniture. These can also add to the cover’s wind resistance, and stop it from catching wind and blowing off, as air is able to flow through the cover.
Although it’s recommended to let furniture dry completely before covering it, this isn’t always practical. If your furniture is covered up when it’s slightly damp, air vents should still allow it to dry underneath. If you do have to cover furniture when it’s slightly damp, it should be uncovered again as soon as possible (once the weather is dry!) to allow the furniture to dry. The cover should also be dried out.
Measuring Your Furniture Before Purchasing a Cover
It’s important the cover you purchase is the right size for your set. A cover that’s too small will need to be stretched over the furniture, causing the seams to weaken or the corners to rip. A cover that’s too large is prone to blowing off. !
While covers with adjustable straps allow you to customise the fit somewhat, you should still purchase a cover that’s roughly the correct size and shape of your furniture.
To measure your garden furniture, you should:
- Put all of the pieces of furniture together (if covering a set), so that they form a generic shape like a cube/rectangle/circle
- Measure the height of the furniture from top to bottom
- Measure the depth from front to back
- Measure the width from side to side
- If the item is round, measure the diameter, from one side of the circle to the other
The cover you purchase should be slightly larger than the measurements. If you find a cover that is exactly the same size as the measurements, it will be a tight squeeze and you will likely end up damaging the cover over time.
Whilst cubed furniture sets are relatively easy to source covers for, finding a cover for items such as lounge chairs, L-shaped sofas and dining chairs may require a little more research.
Rattan Furniture Cover FAQs
Does rattan furniture need to be covered in winter?
Synthetic rattan furniture is loved for its low maintenance and it has great weather resistance. However, it’s still best to cover synthetic rattan furniture in the winter months. Natural rattan furniture, made from a wood-like material, should not be used outside at all.
When using synthetic rattan furniture in the garden, a build-up of dirt between the rattan weave can become difficult to clean. This may also weaken the furniture over time. Plus, bird droppings, dust and debris are simply a pain to clean off furniture at the start of the season! If you’re happy to clean your rattan furniture set on a regular basis, a cover isn’t a necessity. However, it’s far easier to spray a furniture cover with a hose every so often than attempt to remove bird droppings from between the weaves.
Remember that garden furniture cushions are rarely fully waterproof, so these should be stored inside or in a waterproof storage box over winter. Waterproof covers will keep the cushions relatively dry from rain, but they may still get damp with condensation etc. over winter.
How do you get the musty smell out of rattan furniture?
A musty smell on your rattan furniture probably means it’s been stored in damp conditions. This is more likely to be the case if you place a cover on when the furniture is slightly wet, and the cover doesn’t have adequate ventilation. It’s always a good idea to look for a cover with good ventilation or mesh panels to allow air to flow around the furniture.
There are a couple of ways to remove the musty smell from rattan furniture:
- Ensure your furniture has adequate fresh and dry air. Leave the furniture to air in a dry but protected area, such as an open garage or a secure area of the garden. Remove any debris and dust, then leave the furniture to air for a few days.
- Once your furniture has been aired, use a white vinegar solution to remove odour. Make up a solution of 3 parts water, 1 part white vinegar in a bucket. Use a cloth to wipe the furniture down, including the sides and cushions. Allow the furniture to air dry for a few days.
How do I protect my rattan furniture from the sun?
Most synthetic rattan furniture is made with UV-resistant materials and shouldn’t fade in sunlight. When purchasing furniture, make sure this is mentioned in the description.
However, the cushions and other textiles used with the furniture may not have the same protection.
Using a furniture cover can help protect soft furnishings from fading when used outside over summer. If there’s a long period when you’re not using the furniture, you should bring any cushions etc. indoors to protect them.