Concrete Outdoor Furniture Care & Maintenance
As one of the most utilized materials for all sorts of applications, concrete is seen in a variety of environments. One of the settings in which concrete lives is as outdoor furniture. Whether it is used as a park bench, a picnic table, chairs, or even a full outdoor kitchen area, concrete is an established material when it comes to its utilization as furniture. In this article we will explore concrete outdoor furniture care & maintenance. As we do, we will entertain some related questions like, what kind of concrete cleaning needs to be done? Can concrete furniture be protected from stains? How often should concrete furniture be given maintenance attention?
Concrete Furniture Outdoors
It might not be the first thing you think of when someone says "concrete", but furniture is definitely one of the applications. in fact, thaere are many kinds of concrete furniture that can be found if you look hard enough. And you really don't have to look that hard.
Cast Stone Concrete Furniture
One of the kinds of concrete furniture that you have likely seen is cast stone concrete furniture. This is furniture that is made by putting concrete into a mold and shaping the concrete into a table, chair, bench, or some other piece. Cast stone concrete is lighter weight than poured concrete since it is hollow. This makes it more manageable and moveable. Thus, cast stone concrete furniture can be purchased after it is made and then transported to the location after the fact.
Furnishings From Poured Concrete
Another type of concrete furniture is poured concrete. These kind of pieces are made by an artisan or concrete fabricator and may be constructed using various kinds of concrete. One type that is used for this is GFRC. Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete is used for various purposes. It can hold lots of weight while being made lighter. Notice what its Wikipedia page says regarding this:
Glass fiber-reinforced concrete consists of high-strength, alkali-resistant glass fiber embedded in a concrete matrix. In this form, both fibers and matrix retain their physical and chemical identities, while offering a synergistic combination of properties that cannot be achieved with either of the components acting alone. In general, fibers are the principal load-carrying members, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in the desired locations and orientation, acting as a load transfer medium between the fibers and protecting them from environmental damage.
It is not hard to imagine what the benefit of having strength plus light weight is. Concrete that can hold heavy loads but made to be light is exactly what is sought in outdoor furniture.
Regardless of what type of concrete you are using or seeking to use for your furniture, you will be interested in how to care for and maintain it appropriately. We'll begin discussing this now.
Cleaning Concrete Furniture
Cleaning concrete furniture may seem like a very trivial task that does not require specific products, tools or skill. It's true that you can clean concrete furniture with a number of tools. Soap and water or a pressure washer may get the surface of the furniture clean. Yet there are other times when you need to put in some extra effort to remove stains from the furniture. Let's look at one specific type of stain remover.
Stains on concrete do occur. Since concrete is a porous material, it absorbs liquid substances that have the potential for discoloring the material inside the pores rather than on the surface. Therefore, it is beneficial to take steps to minimize the risk of this, which we will describe later in the article. Now though, we are going to look at a particular type of issue; Fungal stains.
Fungal stains are a product of outdoor concrete furniture being placed in a shaded, moist area. This kind of environment is the pefect place for fungi to grow. It comes in many forms including:
Removing mold from concrete outdoor furniture is accomplished using a mold remover for use on concrete. If you use a biodegradable option that is environmentally friendly you won't need to worry about disposing of the used cleaner in any specific manner.
Even if you are not removing mold or mildew from concrete furniture, you will still need to get it clean. How can that be done?
What to Clean Furniture With
Let's face it, outdoor furniture is subjected to many more things that can cause the need for cleaning. On the other hand, what you choose to use for the task of cleaning it needs to be something that is effective but also safe for the environment. We recommend using a biodegradable strong stain remover for cleaning outdoor concrete furniture. Using an environmentally friendly cleaner for your concrete chairs, tables, and benches means you will not have to worry about where to discard your cleaner.
Can You Protect Concrete From Stains and Dirt?
As we have seen, there are a noumber of wways outdoor concrete furniture can get dirty. It can be stained from something getting spilled on the piece. It may be in a location that makes it susceptible to the growth of mold. Or it may be something else that soils it. In any event, you want your concrete furnishings to have the best chance for resisting the various stains and discolorations. There is a technique available for working on the root cause of many of the issues with outdoor furniture.
Preventing the Root Cause
Let's start this subheading off by saying that there is no possible way to completley nullify every possible stain or discoloration. Having said that, there is a practice that you can implement which will make it easier to care for. What is it?
If you noticed along the way that the common element in most of the issues we discussed is liquid, then you are on the right track. Whether the furniture suffers a spill from a bottle of olive oil or it holds moisture and sits in a shaded area of the patio or garden and mold grows on it, the treatment is the same. Since each of these examples (and many others) stems from moisture getting into the pores of the concrete, the solution is to prevent that from happening. How can that be done? By sealing the furniture.
Sealing Outdoor Concrete Furniture
Even though it is impossible to keep 100% of the moisture out of the pores of a piece of concrete outdoor furniture, sealing the items will slow the rate of absorption of liquids that discolor discolor them. However, there is another benefit that comes from applying sealer to your concrete furniture. Keeping water out of the pores reduces the risk of cracking, chipping, and breaking. When water gets into a piece of concrete and then freezes, it expands. if the concrete is weak at any point, it can give way to the exspansion by breaking. We won't go into how to seal concrete furniture in this article. But the process is the same as the one outlined in our article entitled: How to Clean Granite Outdoor Furniture.
As we have seen in this article, care & maintenance for outdoor concrete furniture is not complicated. It is a matter of simply knowing what to use to clean specific kinds of stains and dirt along with keeping the moisture out of the concrete. If these basic practices are followed correctly, your outdoor concrete furnishings will give the best perofrmance for the longest period possible.