By Liz Canham
Are you having trouble finding cheap patio furniture when you’re on a tight budget? Well why not take a trip around the second hand shops. Furniture really doesn’t have much of a second hand value and many people won’t bother to do repairs to their patio furniture. You, on the other hand, can give it a lick of paint or varnish and hey presto, cheap patio furniture restored to its former glory!
You can also go to your local council tip for a rummage around. Often, they will separate stuff that they can recycle for a few quid (or bucks) and you can take advantage of that. Of course, you may have to do a bit of repair work to a wonky leg or a torn cushion, but that’s not expensive or very much effort if you end up with the cheap patio furniture that you want.
Don’t forget, when winter approaches, either store your furniture to make it last or put on an extra coat of sealant or varnish.
When looking for cheap patio furniture, you will probably want to weigh up the price against the durability. If your need for cheapness is short term, then go for whatever comes in at the lowest price. However, if you don’t expect to be able to afford to replace your patio furniture, then you need to think in terms of some durability.
Plastic patio furniture is inexpensive but grows brittle over time, particularly when exposed to the sun. To give plastic furniture the longest life possible, put it away or cover it over when it’s not in use. Alternatively, store it in a shady place, not forgetting that rain may have a degrading effect as well.
Pine furniture is probably the cheapest of the woods, but it is a soft wood, so will need extra care if you want it to last more than one season in good condition. Make sure that it has plenty of coats of varnish – yacht varnish is good as it obviously has water proofing qualities but don’t forget that the sun can make the varnish crack and the wood discolor, if it’s exposed for too long. Storing pine in a shed or at least under shelter of some kind will prolong its life considerably.
If you want to find cheap patio furniture, look no further than eBay, the online auction house. Choose the Patio Sets & Picnic Tables category and when I looked, I found 1006 items listed, which ranged in price from a fixed $5 through auction prices of $0.99 up to a whopping $7,500 for a brand name which I’d never heard of.
You will find every imaginable style of patio furniture in wood, metal, wicker and even stone. There are patio sets, hammocks, tables, rockers, recliners – you name it and it’s there.
Obviously, you’ll need to consider the price of the shipping, but it may be worth the trip to go and collect the item yourself.
As well as the hope for end result, just think of the fun you can have watching the auctions for the items that you’re bidding for.
If you want your cheap patio furniture to last as long as the expensive stuff would, you’re going to need to take care of it.
Plastic is difficult. You can obviously wipe it down to remove dust and grit, but there is little you can do when it begins to discolour. Try to keep it covered when not in use and if it’s already stained, use a bleach based kitchen spray cleaner – it sometimes returns it to its original white.
Pine, which is pretty much the cheapest of the woods, needs to be varnished regularly as water and sunlight will make it deteriorate very quickly. Once it discolors due to water penetrating the sealant or varnish, you will be very hard-pressed to return the color to the original. Use yacht varnish, which is specially formulated to keep out water and put on several coats. Do this every year, whether it seems to need it or not, giving the existing finish a gentle rub with fine sandpaper before you apply the new coat of varnish.
Follow these tips and your cheap patio furniture will last longer than you imagined.
Visit Liz’s blog for more on cheap patio furniture
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