How to Keep Water From Pooling on Covered Patio Furniture

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Patio furniture is near-essential in any outdoor space. These items are often paired with a matching cover. A common issue is, when these covers don’t fit well water can pool on the cover, causing mold, cover damage, furniture damage and more issues. Luckily, there are ways to keep water from pooling on covered patio furniture.

What causes pooling water?

The reason water is pooling on your patio furniture cover typically has to do with the overall shape of the cover. The images below show covers with a shape that will likely have this issue.

Flat tops

Covered table with a flat top
A covered table with a flat top

Flat areas, typically seen on table covers, are a common cause of water pools. Without an angled top, the water will have a tendency to sit stagnantly on top. Furthermore, if the flat section of the cover has wrinkles these can act as barriers, trapping water in between.

Low points

Covered chair with low points
A covered chair with low points between the arms

Your outdoor furniture cover shouldn’t have low points, as these can also collect and hold water. Often times, low points can occur in a handful of situations:

Cover is too large

Cover is too large for chair
A chair with a cover that is too large and sags on the ground

Prefabricated covers with a universal design are not usually a tight fit. In fact, they are typically quite the opposite; and fit loosely.

If your cover ‘drags’ on the ground, like in the image above, chances are this will create wrinkled flat spots at the bottom, even on an angled cover.

Why you should try to keep water from pooling on your covered patio furniture

Although water pools on your outdoor furniture covers may not seem like anything more than an aesthetic problem, it can lead to damage to both your cover and underlying furniture.

Damage to your cover

Leaving stagnant water pools on your cover can, in fact, be devastating to it. Even though these covers are designed to repel water, depending on who produced your cover it may or may not be waterproof. These covers are usually labeled as water-resistant, not waterproof.

Chances are your cover is made of a fabric that will not allow water to penetrate your cover, such as vinyl canvas.

However, this does not mean your cover is safe from the effects of water pools. If the issue is not resolved in a timely manner, you may notice water beginning to seep through.

Additionally, if your cover has sharp corners, and there is a large, heavy water pool formed on the cover, this tension can actually cause the fabric to tear. This is especially true in cold weather. A torn cover, obviously, will not provide ample (if any) water resistance, defeating its purpose.

Mold and mildew formation

Mold forming on canvas
A canvas cover with mold formation

Leaving your water pooling issue unresolved for a long time can also lead to mold and mildew forming on your cover, both inside and outside.

The mold will barely be noticeable at first. The longer it sits, the more mold will form. Consequently, mold and mildew will result in discoloration of your cover, and possibly your furniture.

Removing the mold is usually an easy process, completed with a quality fabric cleaner. Be sure to choose the right cleaner depending on what your cover is made of.

Damage to your patio furniture

The fact that you purchased a cover clearly indicates that you want your furniture to be sheltered from the elements.

If there is extensive damage to your cover, or if your cover is not completely waterproof, water will often find its way through it, exposing your furniture to the same elements the cover was supposed to protect it from.

According to Watson’s Fireplace and Patio blog, water is one of the most common causes of rust, mold, mildew and other types of damage to your patio furniture, second only to sun-related fading and damage.

How to prevent water from pooling on your patio furniture cover

Generally, if your cover is a certain shape you will not experience issues with water pooling.

Ideal cover shapes to keep water from pooling on your covered patio furniture

Even if your cover does not have a good shape out of the box, you still have options to keep water from pooling on it:

Ways to keep water from pooling on your cover

Solution 1: Household items

The most practical way to prevent water pools is by making use of items you may already have. For example, a simple bucket may be the perfect solution.

Let’s use a table as an example. Your table cover likely has a completely flat top, and it’s also possible this top gets wrinkled. By placing a bucket upside-down in the center of the table before covering, you will totally change the shape of the cover.

This will raise the top, only in the center, which will angle the rest of the cover’s top. Water will then run down the angle, and drip off the sides.

A bucket may also be a fantastic solution if you have a chair cover that sags between the arms, and water normally pools over the seat.

By raising the cover over the seat, you will again be creating an angle, allowing the water to flow off the arms onto the ground.

Of course, you aren’t limited to only buckets to solve this issue. Other items that may work just as well include flower pots, small traffic cones, or anything that can remain stationary under your cover.

Choosing the right item to place under your cover depends on both the shape of your furniture and the fit of your cover.

Solution 2: Water-Shedding Products

Many patio furniture cover manufacturers, in addition to the covers, sell airbags as well. These airbags are not like the ones you can find in a car, they’re made specifically to solve the issue of pooling water on your cover.

If you cannot locate any items you already have that may be able to solve the problem, or if you’re running a high-end establishment with many covered items; air bags may be a good fit for you, as they are relatively low cost.

There are, however, some drawbacks to using air bags. For example; depending on the use case, they usually need to be inflated and deflated. Not only does this mean you will also need to purchase a pump, but also if you have many items this can quickly become an extremely time consuming process.

You may not need to inflate/deflate your air bags that often, depending on how much storage space you have available.

You also have the option of a water-shedding pole. These are mainly just designed for tables, but if your cover is too large it can kill two birds with one stone. On the other hand, if your cover is a tight fit, this option may not work for you.

Solution 3: Choosing the right cover from the start

The best way to prevent water pooling is doing your homework before you buy. Of course, if you already have purchased your cover this is probably not a very viable option for you.

However, if you have not already purchased your cover or are about to replace your existing one, we cannot stress enough the importance of a custom-made cover.

When you go to a custom-fabricator, rather than buying a prefab cover, it’s typically guaranteed to prevent these pooling issues. Be sure to inquire whether or not that’s true, as it’s not always the case.

There are four major drawbacks with choosing a custom cover rather than a prefab.

However, there are also advantages to a custom cover, hence the increased price. First, the covered item will look much better, opposed to a wrinkled, baggy cover. Additionally, these custom covers are usually more durable, since they are designed for your item. Assuming you chose the right canvas shop, there won’t be any points of high tension, which can cause the cover to rip. Moreover, custom covers are generally available in more colors and patterns than prefab covers.

But the main advantage is that a custom manufacturer, if you ask, will be sure to design the cover in a way that water will not pool on it.


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