8 Ways to Protect Patio Furniture Against Sun Damage

Originally Published on March 20, 2024. Last Updated on April 12, 2024.

Outdoor furniture is built to resist harsh weather conditions, including fading and degradation caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays are produced by the sun, and while no material is impervious to them, it’s possible to reduce their effects and prolong the life and looks of your furniture. Here are eight easy ways to protect your furniture from the sun.

Jump to Section

Buy UV-Resistant Furniture
Store Furniture
Use Protective Furniture Covers
Provide Shade
Rearrange Your Patio
Clean Your Furnishings
Apply UV Protection
Try Lighter Colors
Styles with Staying Power

1. Buy UV-Resistant Furniture

Stop sun damage before it starts by investing in UV-resistant tables and seating. The best UV-resistant furniture has protectants and stabilizers blended into the material during production. This is different from a protective coating, which only covers the surface.

POLYWOOD Modern Adirondack Chair in Slate Grey
Featured: Modern Adirondack Chair in Slate Grey

HDPE plastic is a preferred material for incorporating protectants and UV inhibitors, as its molecular structure effectively bonds with these additives during manufacturing. 

  PRO TIP:  

A quick online search will land you plenty of results. Just be sure to look for “fade-resistant” over “fade-proof” furniture, as scientists have yet to invent a material that can fully withstand the sun’s influence.

2. Store Furniture

If your furniture has low UV resistance, your best course of action is off-season storage in a shed or garage. This keeps less durable materials out of the sun and makes future cleaning much easier.

3. Use Protective Furniture Covers

If you don’t have storage space, shield your furniture with durable covers when you’re done using them for the evening or season. In addition to sun protection, covers keep rain, dirt, animal droppings, and other unwanted substances off your furniture. 

  PRO TIP:  

Keep the dimensions on hand when shopping for patio furniture covers to ensure you’re buying the correct size. Covers that are too small won’t fit; if they’re too big, they’ll leave space for small animals, insects, and moisture to sneak in. 

4. Provide Shade

Keep furniture out of direct sunlight by placing them in shaded areas such as under trees, covered porches, or pergolas. This staves off fading and keeps your setting cool on sunny summer days. 

POLYWOOD Presidential Rocking Chair in Aruba, Pacific Blue, Lime, and Tangerine
Featured: Presidential Rocking Chair in Aruba, Pacific Blue, Lime, and Tangerine

You can also opt for temporary shade options such as patio umbrellas, curtains, and retractable awnings. Seat cushions can also act as a sun barrier—opt for high-quality performance fabrics, as any cushions are also vulnerable to fading after prolonged exposure. 

5. Rearrange Your Patio

If you don’t have a shaded area, rotate and reposition your furniture regularly to ensure even sun exposure. This prevents certain areas from degrading or fading faster than others. 

6. Clean Your Furnishings

Keeping your furniture clean prevents damage from a variety of sources, such as sun, mold, and food stains. A quick wipe-down with soapy water usually does the trick, but we also recommend thoroughly cleaning the furniture at the beginning and end of patio season to ensure lasting looks and life.

7. Apply UV Protection

Periodically wipe or spray a coat of UV protectant, like sunscreen for your furniture, onto your outdoor seating and tables to shield them from the sun’s rays. 

  PRO TIP:  

  • Browse your furniture’s warranty before applying a protectant to ensure the act won’t render it void.
  • Buy a protectant that’s designed for your furniture material. For example, products that work for aluminum could have adverse effects on wood or wicker.  

8. Try Lighter Colors

Light hues reflect light better than darker ones, meaning they won’t fade as quickly beneath the sun. Opt for outdoor furniture in pastels, shades of white, or light neutrals. 

POLYWOOD Modern Studio Urban Chair 7-Piece Parsons Table Dining Set in White
Featured: Modern Studio Urban Chair 7-Piece Parsons Table Dining Set in White

Styles With Staying Power

If you’re considering adding POLYWOOD furniture to your outdoors, read what our customers have to say about our fade-resistant furnishings.


Does recycled plastic furniture fade?

Recycled plastic furniture can fade over time if continuously left out in the sun. The extent of the fading depends on the material’s quality, the length and intensity of sun exposure, and whether the homeowner takes steps to protect the furniture while it’s outside.

How do I fix sun-damaged furniture?

Here’s how to fix different sun-damaged furniture based on the material.

    • Wood: Clean with soapy water and let it fully dry before sanding and refinishing with UV-resistant exterior stain and sealant.
    • Aluminum: Scrub with soap and water and towel-dry. Then, sand the surface and apply coats of metal primer, exterior paint, and clear topcoat.
    • Wicker: Spot clean with soapy water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Rehydrate reeds with linseed oil, replace broken strands, and spray on an acrylic sealant.
    • Wrought iron: Wash with soap and water. Once dry, remove rust with a wire brush, then apply a rust converter, outdoor paint, and protective sealant.
    • Plastic: Clean with soapy water, and apply a UV-resistant paint or spray.

How do I keep outdoor cushions from fading?

Keep pillow and cushion fabric from fading by applying a UV protectant spray and flipping them periodically to ensure even wear on both sides. You can also store your cushions in a garage, shed, or console table in the off-season, which keeps them clean and out of the sun’s reach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *