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Recognizing the Signs That It’s Finally Time to Retire That Old Patio Set

The day you’ve been dreading has finally come. You’ve taken a good look at your old, worn-out patio furniture and that little voice in the back of your mind is telling you that it may be time to upgrade to a new set. Like everything in life, even with the best care, patio furniture doesn’t live forever. It does, in fact, have an expiration date – and sometimes it can be difficult to accept that that time has come.

But how do you know the difference between a fixable problem, and when your beloved patio set is on its last legs and needs an upgrade? This article will explain the various signs of weathering that can’t be fixed and are a good indication that it’s time to replace your outdoor furniture.

How Long Patio Furniture Typically Lasts

High-quality patio furniture is built to last, however, there’s no firm timeline. It all depends on the condition in which you keep your furniture. As a general rule of thumb, patio furniture lasts until the elements break it down or you simply want to change the style of your space.

If your patio furniture includes cushions, these should be replaced every couple of seasons, depending on the level of wear. However, the frames are usually quite durable and can last for years. Metal patio furniture is the most durable and will last indefinitely (until it rusts or degrades) unlike wood or plastic, which degrades more quickly from exposure to the elements.

To extend the lifecycle of your patio furniture, it’s important to take good care of it, keep it clean, cover it or – even better – store it in a cool dry place for the winter. Most patio furniture comes with care instructions, which should be taken seriously in order to protect your investment. After all, good patio furniture can be expensive, and you should do everything you can to ensure you get your money’s worth.

Indications That Your Patio Furniture Is Due for an Upgrade:

Ripped, Stained, and Faded Cushions

When your patio cushions become ripped, stained or faded past the point of no return, it can be difficult to find another set that matches your furniture and patio aesthetic. Although you could probably just buy a new set of cushions, another option is to take this opportunity to invest in a whole new set of furniture.


Although metal or aluminum furniture usually lasts longer than other materials like wood and plastic, one of the pitfalls of owning this type of patio furniture is that it can rust and chip after prolonged exposure to the elements. Eventually the finish will deteriorate, and if left unchecked, this can quickly degrade the quality of your patio furniture. Minor rust spots can sometimes be repaired, but if you’re noticing large or persistent rust spots, it may be time to simply invest in a new set of furniture.

Mold and Mildew

If you spot mold and mildew growing on your patio furniture, that’s a pretty serious sign that it needs to be replaced. While mildew commonly grows on the furniture itself, mold can usually be spotted on cushions and the underside of umbrellas.

Not only can mold and mildew cause health problems, but it also degrades your furniture extremely quickly. Cleaning your patio furniture regularly and ensuring that it is completely dry before putting it away in storage are two ways to keep mold and mildew at bay almost indefinitely.

It Has Become Unstable

When patio furniture experiences too much wear and tear, it may become wobbly or unstable. Although this can usually be fixed by putting something underneath it to balance it out, instability is often a sign of a deeper problem like rust, mold or just general deterioration.

Patio furniture made of wood or wicker tends to degrade the most quickly, but metal furniture can also become unstable after years of neglect or exposure to the elements. Investing in a new set of furniture is usually a better idea than trying a temporary fix, because it’s likely that the problem will occur again.

Other Visible Signs of Wear and Tear

Although a certain amount of wear and tear is normal and can usually be repaired, there comes a time when you simply need to bite the bullet and buy new patio furniture. For wooden furniture in particular, it comes with a significant amount of upkeep and failing to keep up with this maintenance can mean your furniture will deteriorate more quickly than usual.

In order to keep your furniture looking good and protecting it from the elements, a coat or two of paint or varnish is necessary every so often. But if you find yourself having to re-sand, re-paint or re-varnish your patio furniture every season – or even multiple times a year – you should probably consider retiring it.

It No Longer Matches Your Style

If you are looking to change up the aesthetic of your outdoor space, investing in a new set of patio furniture can be just the refresher you need.

As we grow and change, our patio furniture needs to evolve with us. Maybe you want to start hosting more summer get-togethers and need additional seating, or perhaps you’re just looking for something that offers more comfort. Either way, sometimes it just comes down to needing a change.


If you look at your current patio set and can’t seem to remember where or when you got it, or if your patio furniture appears in photos that are more than 10 years old, it may be time to face the facts and invest in a new, more modern set. If you’re having an especially difficult time parting with your old patio furniture or are simply environmentally conscious, you could always recycle it.