Are Antiques Safe to use as Porch Furniture?
Expand the unique vibe of your home into your outdoor space by incorporating antiques into your porch furniture. Antiques offer a one-of-a-kind feel because of their character and aged appearance. Though antique furniture is popularly featured in certain styles of interior design, some people may wonder if they can display their favorite pieces in an outdoor gathering space. After all, a porch is often a gathering space where visitors should be welcomed by charming decor. Certain antiques are safe to use as porch furniture, but it is essential to heed a few warnings before placing all of your favorite pieces outdoors. Depending on the porch and the age and condition of the item, there may be some precautions to take.
One of the first things to consider is the type of porch you are working with. Often considered an extension of our indoor living space, an open or screened-in porch is a year-round site for relaxation and gathering. A screened-in porch offers protection from bugs, dirt, and dust. It also protects slightly from elements like direct sunlight and heavy rain or snow. Placing certain antiques in a screened-in porch provides them with an enhanced layer of protection and gives you a little bit more wiggle room on the piece's condition. The antique should be in good condition for a screened-in porch, while it needs to be near-perfect for an open porch. Open porches expose furniture and do not provide any barrier to harmful elements like water, animals, and harsh sunlight. They also tend to shorten the season for the porch's enjoyability. Since sitting on an open porch is weather dependent, you're likely to get less time outside enjoying the charm of your antiques.
An antique on your porch should be approached with careful research and attention to detail. A lot of antique furniture is made of wood, and the wood needs to be properly maintained in any setting. 17th and 18th century Europe and Asia saw a rise in the popularity of mahogany wood. Since most antique furniture is made of mahogany, its tight-grained composition makes it resistant to shrinking, splintering, and checking. These properties allow the wood to withstand outdoor elements effectively.
When placing mahogany antiques outdoors, it is important to consider the surface where the furniture will be placed. Solid surfaces like a porch or patio are ideal because they protect the wood from excess moisture. All types of wood, including mahogany, are susceptible to rot and mildew, meaning that grassy or earthy areas are likely to affect your furniture over time negatively. You also need to assess your climate to treat the wood properly. Antiques can be ruined if you live in an area with excessive rain or heat and the wood is not prepped to withstand the elements. Mahogany antiques should not be placed outdoors in areas with a lot of moisture or direct sun exposure. These things will affect the wood's quality and its classic color.
If wood furniture is placed outdoors and not sealed from water, it will quickly rot and grow mold and mildew. The paint, stain, and finish that contribute to that antique's unique character will chip away, revealing a soggy and weak base. Sealing furniture in any outdoor climate and situation is important because the moisture from rain and humidity seeps into the wood and can cause decay. There are several ways to seal the wood and preserve your antiques. Some of the most cost-effective and popular options include spar urethane, exterior furniture paint, stain and sealant, wood oil, and water seal.
This protects the wood from moisture and decay. Spar urethane comes in various finishes to match any wood you want to treat. Its easy application and quick-dry qualities make this a perfect DIY for beginners.
To add a little color to your antique furniture, consider exterior furniture paint. Exterior paint is typically oil-based or latex-based and protects furniture in ways that interior paint cannot. This paint is made to be durable and waterproof, and they often come with built-in sealer.
Stain and Sealant:
If you want to keep a more natural wood finish, consider stain and sealant. A layer of waterproofing stain topped with a coat of sealant will protect your wood and keep it looking newer for longer.
Stay true to the character of your wood with wood oil that will protect against moisture, give it a polished finish, and accentuate the grain of your wood.
As the name implies, a water seal keeps moisture out of your wood furniture and can be used on wood, concrete, and other materials. Its versatility and one-coat application make this a handy product around the house.
In addition to adopting these sealing methods, you can further protect antiques on your porch by taking a few simple steps. Placing the antique pieces under cover when you're not actively using them can increase their life by years. Awnings and pergolas provide shade in the face of harsh UV rays and a barrier between the antique and heavy rain. Storing furniture during extended periods of non-use is another excellent way to preserve its quality. Winter months are rarely enjoyed on the porch, so save your antiques from unnecessary moisture exposure by storing the furniture in a garage or indoors until the seasons change and it will get more use. If you don't want to move the furniture, furniture covers are year-round solutions that also provide a barrier between the furniture and the elements. Lastly, you should clean furniture regularly to remove any particles that could damage the wood over time. Constant deep cleaning is not necessary, but a quick and regular wipe-down with a clean cloth can go a long way.
An excellent alternative to using original antiques as porch furniture is using antique reproductions instead. Here at Laurel Crown, we handcraft authentic antique pieces with guild-quality workmanship. Rather than using a piece of antique furniture that has already seen years of wear, you can purchase an antique reproduction that is brand new but still exudes classic vintage charm. The higher quality of reproductions, compared to antique originals, ensures enhanced durability for outdoor purposes and maximizes the piece's longevity.
Whether decorating your porch with original antique furniture or beautiful antique reproductions, it is crucial to protect the pieces so they can withstand the elements and provide a unique focal point for your outdoor space.
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