Winter weather is upon us, which means it’s time to winterize your home and property. But do you really need to pack all the outdoor furniture away? What about that beautiful glass table that you just bought for the patio? Is a glass table safe outdoors in the cold?
If you have a tempered glass table and you don’t get harsh winters where you live, then you can leave the table outside. But there are potential drawbacks; for example, it might crack or shatter from wind and hailstones. If you opt to leave the table outdoors, wrap it with a cover for protection.
Leaving a glass table outside during winter can be a risky decision. Nonetheless, there are some ways to protect your furniture and ensure it stays in good condition. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know before leaving a glass table outside during winter.
Can You Leave a Glass Table Outside During Winter?
Since glass is an inert material, it doesn’t corrode or stain when exposed to elements like rain, snow, or sun. In addition, outdoor furniture is normally made with tempered glass, which is heat-treated to make it stronger and more durable.
So, technically, you can leave a glass table outside during winter. It’ll withstand the plummeting temperature and moisture changes just fine.
However, just because you can leave a glass table outside during winter doesn’t mean you should. Many other factors, like the thickness & strength of glass, wind, ice, hailstorms, etc., play a role in determining whether your glass table will make it through the winter unscathed.
Potential Threats to Glass Furniture During Winter
Although tempered glass is generally quite strong, it comes in different strength levels — and it’s often the case that people don’t actually know how strong their glass table is.
So, if you experience frequent freeze-thaw cycles, your glass may not be able to withstand the constant expansion and contraction. It can crack or shatter as a result.
Hailstones can fall at speeds of up to 70 mph during severe storms. This speed is enough to break glass, especially if the hail is large enough, or if the glass is already weakened from exposure to cold weather.
While wind might not seem like a big deal, it can actually be very damaging if your glass table isn’t secured properly. High winds can knock over furniture, blow debris onto glass surfaces, and even brake entire tables.
Warping of Frame Around Glass
Even if the glass itself withstands the elements, the frame that holds it in place might not be as lucky. Warping is a common issue with wood and metal (except aluminum) outdoor furniture during winter.
If the frame warps, it can put stress on the glass. As a result, the glass might either pop out of the frame or crack.
Falling Snow and Icicles
If your glass table is placed under a tree or near a building, there’s a high chance it’ll be hit by falling snow or ice. If the impact is hard enough, it can easily shatter the glass.
Keeping all these potential threats in mind, it’s pretty clear that leaving a glass table outside during winter is not the best idea. It’s best to err on the side of caution and take your glass table inside for the winter.
But if you must leave it outside for whatever reason, take some precautions to protect it from the elements.
How to Wrap Outdoor Furniture for Winter
If you can’t take your glass table inside, the next best option is to protect it by wrapping it up for winter. For the wrap, you’ll need something tough and durable, like tarpaulin or plastic sheets. But don’t go for cheap materials as they will tear easily and won’t provide much protection.
Another option is to purchase a furniture cover made specifically for outdoor furniture, like this waterproof cover (on Amazon). Outdoor covers are made with breathable mesh venting to prevent condensation and mildew buildup.
Either way, measure your table or furniture set before buying a cover. You’ll want something big enough to cover the furniture and drape over the sides, but make sure the hem is a few inches above the ground on all sides. This will help with airflow and prevent the fabric from getting moldy or wet.
Here’s how to properly wrap outdoor furniture for winter:
- Start by cleaning your furniture to remove any dirt, dust, or pollen. Doing this now will make it easier to clean it again when spring comes.
- If your furniture has loose parts, like cushions or umbrellas, take them inside for the winter.
- If your furniture has cushioned seats or backrests, cover them with waterproof bags or plastic wrap. This will prevent them from getting ruined if they get wet.
- For an added layer of protection, you can place a layer of bubble wrap over the furniture or put a towel over the glass top.
- Once everything is ready, bring all the pieces as close together as possible. Then drape the tarp or furniture cover over the entire set. Make sure to secure the cover with rope or bungee cords (on Amazon).
- Most tarps come with grommets or eyelets already sewn in. If your tarp doesn’t have any, you can make some holes with a knife or sharp object. Then tie the rope through the holes to secure the tarp.
- Place a few heavy objects on top of the tarp, like bricks or plywood pieces. This will hold the tarp in place and prevent it from blowing away in the wind.
Keep an eye on your furniture during the winter. If you can, brush off the snow or ice every few days. And if you see any condensation or water buildup, remove it immediately.
What’s the Safest Type of Glass for Outdoor Furniture?
Tempered glass is the safest type of glass to use for outdoor furniture. It’s a type of safety glass that is treated with heat during manufacturing to make it stronger and more durable. It’s less likely to shatter, can withstand higher temperatures, and is almost four times stronger than regular glass.
Most outdoor furniture is made with tempered glass. However, the best result is achieved when the glass is at least ⅜-½” thick.
Another great option for outdoor furniture is laminated glass. It’s made by bonding two or more sheets of glass together with a plastic interlayer. This makes the glass less likely to shatter, even if broken. Car windshields are made with laminated glass.
Polycarbonate and acrylic are two other materials that can be used for outdoor furniture. Technically, these aren’t considered glass because they’re made from plastic materials. However, they have similar properties to glass and are often used as a glass substitute. They’re both clear, durable, and impact resistant.
Polycarbonate is about 250 times stronger than regular glass, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. Acrylic is a bit less durable but still a good option.