Outdoor Furniture Maintenance Tips for Educational Institutions

Outdoor Furniture Maintenance Tips for Educational Institutions

| Jan 4, 2024

Schools, colleges, and universities benefit from investing in quality outdoor furniture around their campuses. Benches, picnic tables, and dining sets let students work and eat outside in the sun, mingle with friends, and rest. Outdoor furnishings also increase the value of the property and its visual appearance. However, you need to care for and properly maintain outdoor furniture so it can keep providing value. For educational institutions, outdoor asset maintenance is vital to increase the longevity of your furniture and get the most out of your investment.

Follow the tips in this article to ensure your outdoor furniture lasts for many years to come.

1. Follow Manufacturer Instructions

The first and most vital step in educational outdoor furniture care is reading the instructions. Outdoor furniture manufacturers conduct rigorous testing to determine the best cleaning products and methods for their furniture. They may also specify how you can make your outdoor furniture piece last. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these instructions to keep your warranty intact and avoid anything that may damage your furniture.

2. Choose the Right Cleaning Products

After reading the manufacturer’s instructions, you will better understand what cleaning products you need. If your school’s outdoor furniture is made up of various materials, it’s essential to take note of the different cleaning methods and products for each one. Plastic and metal are often the easiest to clean, but they still have unique cleaning requirements to ensure they stay looking new. Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals to ensure you don’t damage your furniture.

Read our outdoor furniture cleaning guide for detailed cleaning instructions based on each material type.

3. Clean Outdoor Furniture Regularly

The frequency of cleaning is essential in school and university outdoor furniture care, and it depends on a few factors. Consider how often students use your school’s furniture, where you have placed it and what the weather has been like to determine your cleaning schedule. Your university patio furniture may not need much upkeep if it is covered by an awning and used once a week. On the other hand, a picnic table in the middle of campus is subject to rain, snow, bird droppings and student lunch spills. You’ll want to clean more often to encourage student use and provide a healthy, safe eating environment. 

Regular rinsing and cleaning with a mild, soapy solution will sustainably prolong the longevity of your outdoor furniture. At a minimum, you should clean campus furniture every few months to prevent mold and dirt buildup.

4. Clean Spills and Messes

Plastic and wood are prone to stains, and food and liquid spills are bound to happen at your educational facility. Stains can make outdoor furniture look dirty, old and uninviting, even when clean. Wipe food and liquid off as soon as possible to stop stains from forming. Consider inspecting outdoor furniture that students eat on more frequently. 

5. Address Rust

Metal outdoor furniture is an excellent choice for educational institutions as it is durable, weather-resistant and easy to clean. Over time, finishes may wear away, and rust spots may form. When you see this happen, you should address the issue right away. Left untreated, rust will spread and degrade the metal, causing weak spots and holes. Remove rust with sandpaper or a wire brush, and touch up the area with paint. 

6. Inspect Furniture for Issues

After frequent use, outdoor furniture issues may arise. These can include loose screws and bolts, dents and scratches, chipped paint and splintered wood. Improve the durability of your campus furniture by regularly inspecting it and fixing issues as soon as they arise. If you can’t fix the problem right away, remove the furniture so students don’t continue to use it. Doing so will help you avoid student injuries and further damage to the furniture.

Spot sanding and repainting can help fix any surface issues without having to refinish the whole piece. Tighten loose screws and replace missing ones to make the furniture more sturdy and avoid breaks. If you notice more considerable structural damages, consult with the manufacturer to see if they can repair it under warranty.

7. Protect Your Furniture From the Sun

The sun’s UV rays can be harsh on your outdoor furniture, causing plastic and wood to fade, crack and weaken over time. Protect your school’s outdoor furniture by placing it under trees or installing umbrellas to provide shade and protection in open areas. This will also provide a space for students to escape the sun.

When students aren’t using the furniture, consider covering it with a UV-resistant material to reduce sun damage.

8. Apply Protective Coatings

All furniture types benefit from protective coating to reduce stains, improve moisture resistance and make cleaning easier. Preserve your college furniture and increase its weather resistance by identifying the best protection for its type. You should sand wood and reapply oils and stains yearly to improve its longevity. A UV and water-resistant top coat can also make it more durable. Apply a protective wax to plastic and metal to make it look shiny and new and prevent corrosion and rust. 

Some furniture — like bins and wooden tables — is more susceptible to insect contamination. You can purchase oils and sprays to repel them and prevent any damage.

9. Store or Cover Unused Furniture

When educational institutions close for holidays and breaks, outdoor furniture is exposed to the elements and left to accumulate dirt. To preserve outdoor school seating, invest in good-quality covers or bring them inside. All furniture must be dry and clean before you cover or store it away, as this will stop mold and stains from developing.

10. Protect Furniture From Harsh Weather

If your school is in an area that experiences high winds and powerful storms, it may be beneficial to anchor down your outdoor furniture permanently. If you still want to be able to move furniture around, cover the heavier items with a secured tarp and bring the lighter objects inside before a storm. Chairs, umbrellas and bins can easily blow away and cause further property damage.

Purchase Long-Lasting Outdoor Furniture From Wabash Valley Furnishings

When choosing furniture for your school or university, opt for durable materials that require less maintenance. In the long run, higher-quality outdoor furniture can save your staff time and repair costs while making your campus grounds look clean and inviting. 

Wabash Valley Furnishings can offer your educational intuition high-end outdoor furnishings solutions that meet your demands and requirements. We sell benches, picnic tables, bike racks and waste bins in a wide range of materials. With over 30 years of experience creating outdoor furniture, we’re confident that our pieces will withstand high traffic levels and weather damage.

No matter your school’s requirements, we can work with you to find the right pieces. Our bulk pricing offers ensure you can get the quantity you need at an affordable price. Browse our outdoor furniture range online today.