Posted on January 17 2018
It’s Time to Winterize Your Outdoor Patio Space
As temperatures begin to drop to the 40s and below, it is time to start thinking about closing your outdoor patio space for the colder months. This can be overwhelming even if you’ve done it many times in the past, so we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 things to remember when winterizing your patio space.
- Get Your Grill to a Safe Space
If you’ve invested in an outdoor grill for summer barbecuing, make sure it lasts you for many seasons to come by cleaning and storing it for the winter. First, check that there aren’t any problems with the grill that need immediate attention, such as fuel line cracks, potential gas leaks, or rusted parts. Next, deep clean your grill by scrubbing the grates, burners, burner protectors, bottom tray, and body of the grill. If you have room, it’s best to store your grill indoors, but if that is not possible, a durable grill cover will work to keep it safe from the elements. Also, it is important to remember to leave the fuel tank outdoors and covered to prevent potential hazards.
The end of grilling season can bring on the cold-weather blues for some customers, so be sure to check out how you can get the smoky flavor of summer without using your grill.
- Clean and Protect Your Furniture
Your patio furniture has given customers a place to relax all summer, and while that’s great for business, it can cause serious wear and tear. Fortunately, the winter season is the perfect time to evaluate your outdoor furniture and see what you need to replace or repair. If you use metal tables and chairs, be sure to check for rust and paint scratches after you clean them. Small rust spots can be scraped and painted over, but if a piece has large rusty patches, consider replacing it.
Fabric furniture can become moldy if it is not properly cleaned for the winter. To prevent this, try vacuuming each cushion and umbrella, and then cover them for storage in a dry area. Plastic furniture can simply be washed with soap and water and stored indoors, while wicker and wood furniture should be treated with oil before storing.
- Keep Pests at Bay
Your customers aren’t the only ones who will seek the warm solace of your indoor dining area this winter. During the colder months, rodents and insects will be looking for every opportunity to get out of the freezing temperatures and into your restaurant. To prevent this, be sure to close and seal the server door to your patio, and make sure that any outdoor vents are properly covered with mesh. Also consider trimming plants and shrubbery around the patio, as small animals love to burrow in the shelter of bushes and flowerbeds.
- Power-Wash Your Patio
After all of your furniture and cooking equipment is cleaned and put away, you can wash away all of the summer grime from your patio floor with a power-washer or hose. This step will make it easier to clean again once it’s time to put the furniture back out for the spring season. Don’t forget to clear any leaves or debris from your patio’s surface whenever possible, as they can stain certain patio materials when wet from the rain and snow. After you’re finished, be sure to clear the hose of any water and turn off the outdoor tap to help keep pipes from bursting. This is also a good time to cover any exposed pipes in your building with foam insulator for the winter.
- Consider Staying Open
If you’re lucky enough to own a restaurant or bar in warmer parts of the country, you have the option to keep your outdoor patio space open into the fall, and in some climates, through the entire winter. If you wish to remain open, you should still take a day or two to deep clean your patio using the tips listed above. You should also consider placing a few patio heaters around your outdoor space to ensure that customers stay comfortable when the sun goes down.
An outdoor patio makes for a unique atmosphere that customers enjoy, so get the most out of this space by properly preparing it for the winter months. By doing a little extra cleaning and preparing in the fall, you can save yourself a lot of hassle come springtime.