Top 5 Reasons to Cover

Covers are SMART,

So much
More than a tarp,
Aesthetically-pleasing,
Ready-to-protect,
Textile-time-saver (long run)

Covers Protect

This week, we’re throwing down some reasons for you to be as excited about covers as we are, our top 5 reasons to cover your outdoor products. Next week, we’ll be releasing a longer post that goes into more depth about the reasons to cover, as well as some graphics to help you find the perfect size cover for your products.

Top 5 Reasons to Cover Your Gear

previous arrow
next arrow
Cleaning Speed - Overall, covers help limit the exposure your gear has to the more annoying elements, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time making memories you want to hold on to.
Slider

But covers take time to put on…

One of the biggest downsides to covering is having to put the covers on. Covers are not as hard as you would think to put on, although the process can be time consuming. While we recommend a slow and steady pace for putting on covers as well as using the buddy system for larger covers, we’ve developed some techniques to speed up product photoshoots here.

 

Note that while you putting on the cover takes 45 seconds to 30 minutes (RVs and Boats are trickier),  it only takes a few minutes to take it off when you actually want to use your vehicle, grill or golf cart and you don’t have to spend an additional 30-120 minutes cleaning/drying said item.
Also, we may be biased but we think that a covered yard looks great!
Check out all of our covers and keep your outdoor gear covered with a SMART cover.
Top 5 Reasons to Cover

All About Patio Furniture

It’s August, and while it may seem like summer is winding down, it’s really just getting started. There is still plenty of time left for patio lounging and cookouts, making it the perfect time to take a look at your patio and make some choices regarding your style and furniture. We’re doing a deep dive into everything you need to know about patio furniture materials and tips on what you can do to protect your patio furniture, Classic Accessories’ guide to “all-things patio furniture,” if you will.

Know The Material

In the patio furniture world, seven main types of material exist for your patio furniture, each one differing from the others in aesthetics, movability, durability, ease of maintenance, and comfort, as well as what climates/regions they’re best suited for:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Resin Wicker
  • Wood
  • Wrought Iron
  • PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
  • Plastic

Note: Mosaic is sometimes included in common patio furniture materials lists. It is not a material, but rather a construction pattern. Mosaic surfaces are common on tables and chairs, and often combine elements of other materials in its creation. If you are interested in mosaic patio furniture you can check out Patio, Home, and Garden’s product page for mosaic furniture.

For this post we decided to use a scoring system for each one of the factors listed above to give each material a total score. At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to decide what material you like best, but keep in mind the climate of where you live, as some materials are better suited for some climates than others.

Grilling Climates

 

Aluminum

Image by Didricks, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/17347384434


Aesthetics

Aluminum patio furniture comes in a variety of styles and can be as basic or as elegant as you would like. With aluminum patio furniture, you have the option of selecting from three different builds: tubular, cast, or wrought. Tubular aluminum furniture is made from hollow pieces of aluminum bent into shape, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Wrought and cast aluminum differ in their construction processes, as wrought material is welded by hand, whereas cast material is made from a cast without manual welding or handling.

Cast aluminum furniture is growing in popularity, according to this HGTV article, due to its contemporary style. Unlike cast iron patio furniture, which traditionally has more classic and elegant aesthetics, cast aluminum furniture can take on any style you desire. You can also purchase aluminum furniture in in a variety color schemes, whereas wrought iron and wood, for instance, generally do not have this option. Check out these products for great cast aluminum outdoor furniture.

Score: 18/20


Movability

The second major selling point for cast aluminum furniture, or really any aluminum outdoor furniture, is its movability. Aluminum is both lightweight and strong. Thus, it can easily be rearranged and fit into small spaces, as opposed to its bulky cast iron and steel counterparts. Full sets including tables are also easy to rearrange to your liking. Here are some great sets of cast aluminum patio furniture.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is another fantastic feature of aluminum patio furniture. Since aluminum naturally does not rust, it is perfect for hot and humid regions and climates. Aluminum can corrode. Corrosion is a form of oxidation similar to rusting that leaves a light coating on the aluminum that protects the material from future corrosion, according to theruststore.com. To limit corrosion, though, as it fades the material’s color over time, most aluminum patio furniture comes with a powder coating that adds extra protection.

One downside to aluminum patio furniture is that it less likely to be durable enough to withstand heavy winds, especially because of its light weight, making aluminum patio furniture not the best selection for very windy environments or regions.

Score: 18/20


Maintenance

Aluminum patio furniture maintenance is quick, easy, and less frequent (compared to other types of patio furniture). The Home Depot recommends using car wax or mineral oil on the surface for added protection, as well as regularly cleaning with mild soap and water. When your aluminum patio furniture has corroded, though, here’s an article for caring for the furniture, as well as a more patio-specific article.

Score: 18/20


Comfort

Tubular aluminum patio furniture will most likely not need cushions for comfort and extra support, as they are already built to be comfortable and ready to use. Some cast aluminum sets have built-in mesh seating, like these options. Other sets of aluminum patio furniture, like these Crosley sets, will need cushions (which can add a fun, creative element to your patio furnishing process).

For this type of furniture, our Mushroom or Spice Ravenna cushions, pictured above, are  great color options.

Score: 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weigh-In: Aluminum

Steel


Aesthetics

Steel has a sleek and modern look, but but less variety in build, style, and color than aluminum. Steel patio furniture works well with residential apartments and more modern spaces (cafes and restaurant patios often use steel furniture). Steel is also widely used as the foundation and/or frame for patio furniture with other materials making up the surface and seats. I give steel then a 16 for aesthetics since it doesn’t have much variety or capacity for build, style, or color on its own, but does look nice when paired with other materials. Here are some examples of steel patio furniture, or furniture using steel as a foundational component.

Score: 16/20


Movability

Movability is a concern when it comes to steel patio furniture. Because steel furniture is built for added strength and reinforcement, transporting it or rearranging it can quickly become a hassle. Fortunately, most steel patio furniture comes assembled, at least according to The Home Depot, so the main hassle is getting it to where it needs to be.

Score: 14.5/20


Durability

Steel’s strong suit comes in the form of durability. While steel is a rustable metal, it often comes with a powder coating similar to aluminum, according to Better Homes & Gardens, which can resist rusting. Steel, given its weight and sturdiness, is great for windy environments, and is especially well-suited for a cold and snowy climate, like the northern United States.

Score: 19/20


Maintenance

Caring for steel patio furniture requires a little bit more time than aluminum patio furniture because of steel’s potential to rust. Some companies, such as Target, confirm their steel patio furniture is rust-resistant, but Lowes suggests applying a protective coat of paste wax or naval jelly if the product is not rust-free or rust-resistant. Also, washing occasionally with water and mild soap is good practice for steel patio furniture.

Score: 16.5/20


Comfort

Steel furniture can be constructed in a way to be comfortable alone. For those pieces that are more aesthetic than functional however, cushions can come in handy. For steel furniture, try Empire Blue Ravenna cushions, shown to the right.

Score: 16/20

The Weigh-In: steel

Resin Wicker


Aesthetics

Wicker furniture has a variety of designs and colors, both in cushions and in the actual material. A trending material, resin wicker has been a popular choice in patio furniture since the 2000’s.

Score: 19.5/20


Movability

While it appears large and cumbersome, resin wicker patio furniture is surprisingly movable because of how lightweight it is, which makes for easy arrangement and/or rearrangement on the patio.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is an aspect of wicker that is often underestimated and misunderstood. There is a difference between natural wicker and synthetic wicker, natural wicker being made from rattan, a reed-like material, and synthetic wicker being made from resin (liquids extracted from plant matter) according to patioproductions.com. The term “wicker” is also a term used in reference to a type of weave and the actual material is rattan or resin.

Natural wicker should not be used as outdoor patio furniture due to its susceptibility to most any weather condition, such as rain, sleet, or snow. Any form of moisture can damage it. However, synthetic wicker, or resin wicker, is the perfect material for all weather conditions. There are several types of synthetic resin wicker: PVC wicker, nylon, polyethylene, and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker. According to Patio Productions, HDPE resin wicker is the most commonly recommended type as it is infused with UV inhibitors and made with a high density compound to protect its surface.

Score: 19.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain your resin wicker furniture, simply dust it occasionally and, if looking to do a deep clean of the wicker, use mild detergent and water. Here’s a helpful article that looks into more cleaning specifics for resin wicker furniture.

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Even though resin wicker furniture is all-weather, it’s still a good idea to invest in a patio furniture cover (something we recommend). While covers really protect rustable steel and iron, covering your patio furniture regardless of furniture material is an investment that will increase the longevity of your furniture and patio greatly. Adding a cover to your resin wicker furniture will keep harsh weather and storms from weathering and doing incremental damage to the material, which is bound to happen–no material is indestructible. Furthermore, our covers provide protection from UV rays to avoid fading and also have built-in vents so condensation on your chairs and tables is ventilated.

Pro-tip: Never leave your cushions out on your furniture while it’s covered, even if your cushions are all-weather. Having cushions underneath your furniture can lead to mildew and mold, even with vents in the cover.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Most popular Resin Wicker styles typically come with cushions of some kind, making them comfortable. Others don’t necessarily come with cushions but make use of the curvature of the furniture form and the natural give in the materials for comfort. If you’re looking to up the comfort on up your resin wicker furniture, we recommend Mallard Green Ravenna cushions, shown below.

Score: 20/20 with cushions

The Weigh-In: Resin Wicker

 

 

Wood


Aesthetics

Wood patio furniture is aesthetically pleasing, particularly teak hardwood. Other types of wood for patio furniture include cedar, cypress, pine, oak, acacia, and eucalyptus. According to Better Homes & Gardens, teak, cedar, and ipe are a few of the strongest, most weather-resistant types. Teak is particularly commended for its beauty, and is one of the most popular patio furniture materials out there.

While wood does not give the owner/buyer as much freedom to personalize their patio furniture without cushions, wood can be painted and stained, which gives some room for custom flare and refinishing.

Score: 19/20


Movability

Wood patio furniture is a split between aluminum and steel in terms of movability. Some pieces of wood furniture will, of course, be easier to move than others (a chair can be light while a dining table will require at least two people). The material itself, though, is significantly heavier than aluminum or plastic.

Score: 16/20


Durability

Wood furniture, especially teak, is sturdy and durable against most weather. Teak produces a natural oil that prevents water and moisture from seeping into the wood and causing dry rot, a wood-destroying fungus. Here’s an article on how to treat dry rot, if that’s a current problem for your patio furniture.

During the winter months, it’s advised for most wood furniture to be stored indoors to avoid damage. Teak is an exception mainly because of its natural oil that prevents water seepage, but keep in mind that a silvery patina fading will occur on your wooden patio furniture, even teak, if you keep any type of wooden patio furniture outside. Some like this accent on their wood furniture, but if you want to retain the original, honey color, consider using a cover.

UV rays also deal damage to wood patio furniture, causing fading, and humidity is known to cause warping in the wood, which makes one of our covers perfect to help keep UV rays at bay and excess moisture out.

Score: 16/20


Maintenance

As mentioned above, one of the best things you can do if you own or are looking to invest in wood patio furniture is purchase a cover or a cover set. Since teak is one of the few types of wood that you could leave outside year-round (and that is a stretch considering the silvery patina fading that can occur), wood patio furniture should definitely be covered.

Other useful tips to caring for your wood furniture are:

  • Scrub with a brush and mild soap
  • Dust off occasionally
  • Use teak sealer to preserve color and reduce greying

Score: 16/20


Comfort

Wood patio furniture alone can be less than comfortable given its solid nature and rigidity, but can be improved with the addition of cushions. Cushions can be a way to add a personal touch to the great, rustic look of your wood furniture on your patio.

We recommend a soft accent of color for your cushion assortment on wood furniture. Check out the Mushroom color way in the Ravenna cushion collection for your wood patio furniture.

 

Score: 18/20

The Weigh-In: Wood

 

 

Wrought Iron


Aesthetics

Wrought iron is probably one of the best patio furniture selections for a classic aesthetic look, since it can come in a wide variety of designs and has historically been a very elegant and beautiful choice for an outdoor patio and/or garden. Wrought iron patio furniture is normally seen in bistro sets, benches, chairs, and tables. One setback to the aesthetic appeal of wrought iron patio furniture is that it normally only comes in black or grey and therefore does not have much variety in color. Here are some wrought iron pieces if you’re interested in purchasing or upgrading your patio furniture.

Score: 17.5/20


Movability

Wrought iron is far heavier than aluminum, and is probably on or below par with the movability of wood furniture. Since wrought iron is commonly seen in bistro sets and not full dining sets, movability is more manageable, but moving a bulky bench or table can be a hassle.

Score: 14/20


Durability

Wrought iron is durable because of its strength and weight, which makes it perfect for windy regions. However, iron can rust and while, according to Lowes, “many modern metal frames are rust-resistant and rust-free,” it’s probably a good idea to apply paste wax or naval jelly, as referenced for steel furniture, to prevent rusting if you’re furniture is not rust-free or rust-resistant.

Score: 15.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain wrought iron furniture, use the aforementioned rust-preventative measures, and also try sanding over rust spots that appear. Basic cleaning can be done with mild soap and water, but one caveat is that wrought iron furniture has a tendency to develop cracks after some time of use. To deal with these cracks, it’s recommended to apply a paint coat, which may not resolve the issue totally.

Score: 15.5/20


Comfort

Wrought iron chairs, while aesthetically pleasing, are somewhat uncomfortable without the addition of cushions. For wrought iron, dark taupe cushions make for a subtle color accent.

Score: 15.5/20

The Weigh-In: Wrought Iron

Plastic


Aesthetics

While plastic furniture comes in a variety of colors, one of its main drawbacks is that its less aesthetically pleasing. It does not look as upscale or great as some of the other options we’ve looked at so far. Plastic furniture does, though, give the owner some flexibility location-wise. Since plastic is waterproof, putting plastic furniture poolside is a common spot, and because of its low price, restaurants and businesses tend to use plastic furniture outdoors. Some outdoor plastic furniture is also made of recyclable material, an added bonus if you’re conscientious about the environment.

Score: 12/20


Movability

Plastic chairs and tables are lightweight and easy to move to suit the owner’s needs. They are also normally constructed so that you can stack them easily.

Score: 20/20


Durability

Another setback for plastic furniture is its (lack of) durability against wind. While waterproof, the odds of your plastic furniture staying in place (or intact, for that matter) are low when dealing with serious weather.

Score: 10/20


Maintenance

Maintenance is a breeze if your plastic furniture is intact. Simply wash with a mild soap and rinse with water to clean these pieces.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Plastic does not make for the most comfortable chairs out there, and while we reference cushions as a great way to add some comfort to your seating, cushions aren’t normally used on plastic chairs. Plastic furniture can be great if you’re using it for short periods or need to be able to sit relatively comfortably and relocate placement often.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: Plastic

 

PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)


Aesthetics

PVC patio furniture, like plastic, is not as aesthetically pleasing or of comparable quality to some of the other materials we’ve looked at. That said, PVC patio furniture is great for poolside lounging since it’s waterproof. Common PVC furniture uses rubber, mesh, or cushioned seating between the PVC foundation, but there is not often a wide variety of colors to be explored as far as the furniture goes.

Score: 10.5/20


Movability

PVC is pretty movable since it’s lightweight, but not as movable or lightweight as plastic furniture.

Score: 19.5/20


Durability

PVC won’t rust, but UV exposure will begin to cause browning on its surface. While it’s more durable than plastic when it comes to wind resistance, PVC patio furniture should still be stored indoors during the off-season or covered.

Score: 11/20


Maintenance

Easy to maintain by washing with soap and rinsing with water. May need additional maintenance with UV discoloration.

Score: 19/20


Comfort

On par with plastic furniture.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: PVC

Final Standings

Overall


Aesthetics

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Wood – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wrought Iron – 17.5
  5. Steel – 16
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 10.5


Movability

  1. Plastic – 20
  2. PVC – 19.5
  3. Resin Wicker (tie) – 19
  4. Aluminum (tie) – 19
  5. Wood – 16
  6. Steel – 14.5
  7. Wrought Iron – 14


Durability

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Steel – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wood – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. PVC – 11
  7. Plastic – 10


Maintenance

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Plastic (tie) – 20
  3. PVC – 19
  4. Aluminum – 18
  5. Steel – 16.5
  6. Wood – 16
  7. Wrought Iron – 15.5


Comfort

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Aluminum (tie) – 20
  3. Wood – 18
  4. Steel – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 12

 

Most First Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Resin Wicker (98)

 

Most Last Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Wrought Iron and PVC

Median pick:

 

 

 

 

Steel

Solid Investments:

 

 

 

 

Aluminum, Wood

All About Patio Furniture

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Introducing: Ravenna cushions

It’s nearly August, and the patio season is in full swing. There are barbecues, pool parties, family gatherings and long evenings galore. The patio is getting more use and you may have the desire to refresh, renew, or redecorate. Add a few notes of color or a new element to spice things up. Nothing is more satisfying than making the area you’re spending more and more time in a haven. However, your patio furniture may be well-loved (or expensive) and not quite in need of replacement. To enliven your patio without a full redesign and achieve a level of patio perfection and satisfaction, we recommend taking a look at replacing your cushions, switching out your umbrella or adding a hammock or frameless bean bag chair.

Ravenna cushions

Our Ravenna cushions offer a wide variety of colors and features, perfect for any patio furniture material or style, including benches/loveseats, chaises, and dining or lounge chairs. An addition to the Ravenna cover collection, which includes covers for patio furniture and other outdoor gear, our new Ravenna cushions use a color palette based on the original colors of the Ravenna line. Delina Wells, our Designer and Market Trend Analyst notes that:

“With the decision to add cushions under our existing Ravenna line, I wanted to make sure the new colors felt right moving forward with our existing Ravenna color palette: Dark Taupe, Espresso and Mushroom.”

The result was the creation of an inviting color palette that pulls it colors from familiar and naturally found hues. Here are all the great color options for Ravenna cushions:

Dark Taupe
Empire Blue
Espresso
Mallard Green
Mushroom
Spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake Sornsin, our Product Development Merchandiser (and the fantastic spokesman featured in the video above), reinforces that the goal of the Ravenna cushions is to “stay true to the Ravenna aesthetic,” while also being an affordable option for cushions.

One great feature that came from the nod to the Ravenna aesthetic is the introduction of waterfall seams, which increases comfortability and durability.

“Sitting on a cushion without piped seams at the front helps prevent any annoying scratches or lumps under your legs as you sit. Since there’s no seam at the front of the Ravenna cushions, there’s also a lower chance of water sitting on the cushion and seeping into the foam.”

-Delina Wells

We mention that Ravenna cushions are feature-rich in our introductory video, and we believe that. Some of the other thoughtful features included in the cushion design are shown below:

 

  • Gardelle One Fabric System: Gardelle One is a solution-dyed durable woven polyester fabric with a protective water repellent coating and water-resistant laminated backing
  • Water-Repellent Coating: Resists stains and helps keep rain out and your cushion foam protected
  • Patented Attachment System: Adjustable belted hem with click-close straps provides a tight, customizable fit to keep your cushion where you want it
  • Durable Stitching: Bound interior seams are engineered to provide strength and durability at the most demanding joints
  • Locking Zippers: Zippers lock to keep a tight closure and make stuffing the cushion easier
  • 3-Layered Seat Foam and Solid-Core Back Foam: Foam is designed for comfort and support, with outer layers of open-cell foam enclosing a high-density core that is resilient but conforms to your shape
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

Delina is a particular fan of the click-close straps, one feature from the covers we thought would have a great impact on the functionality and usability of the cushions. Jake agrees that the click-close straps “steal the show,” but points out that one underrated feature of the cushion is the locking zipper, which “makes switching out covers much easier as the zipper helps keep your place as you stuff the cushion.”

For more information on our Ravenna cushions, check out the collection on our site.

covers

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Our Ravenna cushions were developed as an extension of the Ravenna cover collection and adhere to a warm, inviting color palatte that while gorgeous,, may not quite suit everyone’s taste. For someone looking for a more intense and modern pop of color, we recommend our Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Our Montlake patio furniture collection.

The Montlake FadeSafe collection adds a classic look to your patio and ensures a strong resistance to fading. It is also water-repellent and utilizes hooded air vents to ventilate condensation out from underneath the cover.

Click-close straps to secure your Montlake cover on windy days.
Air vent to keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and product details, see our Montlake and Ravenna collection pages on our patio furniture covers page on our website.

Hammocks

Hammocks can make a great addition to any patio. A comfortable, durable, and beautiful option, adding a hammock to your patio will create a more homey, relaxing environment. Our hammocks come in two different styles: Brazilian and quilted. Note the difference in style and build below!

Montlake FadeSafe Quilted Hammock – Heather Indigo Blue
Montlake FadeSafe Brazilian Hammock – Heather Indigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We offer a variety of color options in two stripe pattern, a 2-tone Stripe (right) and a Mutli-Color stripe pattern (left). Check out the full selection on our site.

Happy hammocking!

Umbrellas

Montlake FadeSafe Umbrella in Heather Indigo.

Finally, adding an umbrella to your patio will complete your patio perfection process by giving your backyard shading for those exceptionally sunny days, as well as by providing an additional aesthetic element to your setup.

We offer both aluminum and natural bamboo umbrellas. Learn more about each material, as well as color options on our Montlake FadeSafe Patio Umbrellas main page.


We hope you consider these options to perfecting your patio and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

All About Grills

Image: Salimfadhley at Wikipedia

Since it’s National Grilling Month, we decided to focus on everything you need to know to care for your grill, and what you need to know if you’re in the market for a new grill or are curious as to the advantages and disadvantages to other types of grills (combo, wood-pellet, electric, and portable grills, as well as smokers). Without further ado, let the grilling commence!

Knowing/Choosing Your Grill

A prominent debate among grill enthusiasts is whether charcoal grills or gas grills are superior. Check out this blog post for more information about the debate. We did some research and came up with some concrete advantages and disadvantages to both charcoal and gas grills to help provide some transparency as to which one is best for you as well as profiles on a variety of gas and charcoal grill types you may be interested in this grill season. If you already own either a charcoal or gas grill, there are some notes on how to optimize it and achieve the best end result to your grilling.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are all about flavor. Owners commend the smoky, chargrilled flavor from the grill in the food they cook. Charcoal grills are the most common type of outdoor grill, according to The Home Depot. This stat includes both backyards, parks, and other areas, whereas, gas grills are the most popular backyard grill exclusively. Here are the different types of charcoal grills out there:

Image: lightfusegetaway at en.wikipedia
Damper on top of a kettle grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kettle Charcoal Grills

The kettle is one of the most common types of charcoal grill, created in 1951 by George Stephen Sr., who founded Weber-Stephen Products Co. (you may know the brand today simply as Weber). Kettle grills are portable, easy to use, and simple in their anatomy with a bowl and lid, cooking grate, charcoal grate, damper to control the heat, and a cleaning system (for Weber it’s a one-touch cleaning system).

Furthermore, the cleaning system acts as ventilation; if you open the vents, more oxygen will enter your grill, causing the coals to heat faster, which will speed up the grilling process. By closing them you’re cutting off the oxygen for slower cooking time. Check out Weber’s article on the anatomy of a common Weber kettle grill for more information.

 

Offset Charcoal Grills AKA Offset Smoker

The offset grill is a versatile charcoal grill that allows you to grill or smoke your food. These grills tend to be for people who are willing to tend to and monitor their cooking (and pay into a higher price point for a good model). There is a chamber dedicated to producing heat and smoke which holds your choice of charcoal and smoke wood off to the side that feeds into the main cooking chamber which holds shelves that can hold a variety of foods. You can control the flow between the firebox and the cooking chamber using the intake and exhaust vents on the grill. You can modify these to cook directly by adding a grill grate in the chamber holding the charcoal/wood chips. A good offset smoker will be made of thick materials for heat stability (ideally some form of steel)  and will likely be heavier than your typical grill. Learn more about these grills on the Barbecue Bible Site.

Big Green Egg Grill
Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, on his Kamado Joe grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamado Charcoal Grills

The kamado grill is a ceramic charcoal grill designed to trap heat and smoke for maximum absorption into the food. While not as portable as a kettle, the kamado still maintains temperature and air flow like a kettle through vents in the top and bottom. Some common brands of kamado grills are Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg. This article outlines the differences between the brands, including prices. Dorik Downing, our senior graphic designer, uses a Kamado Joe grill and recommends 100% Natural Lump Charcoal. Check out our vlog from last August featuring Dorik on the grill whipping up one of his tasty and healthy burgers (recipe included and perfect for national grilling month).

Our Ravenna Kamado Ceramic Grill Cover.

We recommend investing in one of our kamado grill covers to keep your Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe grill clean and ready for use during grill season, as well as safely secured during the offseason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Style Charcoal Grills

The park style charcoal grill is a common charcoal grill often found in parks and campgrounds. You can also buy them for use in your own yard, as a simple grill option. These grills are fairly durable, easy to maintain and allow for quick cooking and experimentation with charcoal and wood chip types. Here’s a helpful article on tips for using this grill if you’re taking your cookout to a public venue or have one set up in your backyard.

If you’re interested further in charcoal grills, here’s a Home Depot guide on how to use them.

_______________________________

Charcoal Grill Advantages:

  • Rich, smoky chargrilled flavor
  • Inexpensive grill
  • Can reach higher heat levels than a gas grill – 700 degrees Fahrenheit

Disadvantages:

  • Added expense to buy new charcoal after each grill
  • Slower heat-up time – makes for longer grill process
  • More cleanup than other grills to get rid of charcoal ash

Gas (Natural gas or Propane) Grills

Gas grills, as mentioned earlier, are the most popular type of backyard grill. Gas grills can either use natural gas or propane (propane typically involves a tank, as shown peeking out at the lower right of the image of the grill above). Both are cost-effective; although, if you’re using a natural gas line running from your house, you’ll be restricted as to where you can put your grill, whereas with propane grills (and charcoal grills) you can typically pick any safe spot on or off your patio. There aren’t many variations in style for gas grills, but there is capacity for added accessories, such as side burners, lights, and integrated food thermometers.

Advantages:

  • Gas grills heat up faster than charcoal grills
  • Wider variety of accessory options such as side burners, lights, and food thermometers built in to the grill
  • Natural gas or propane can be used for fuel
    • Propane tanks are easy to find, don’t cost much, and are refillable
  • Easier to regulate heat with built-in control knobs
    • Different heat zones can be created for searing, cooking, or warming food on the grill
  • Easier cleanup than a charcoal grill

Disadvantages:

  • Smoky, charcoal flavor is lost since propane burns cleaner than charcoal
  • Does not reach the same levels of heat that a charcoal grill does, but still reaches up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Not as portable as a kettle grill, for instance
  • A bit pricier than a kettle

If you’re interested in gas grills, here’s Home Depot’s guide on how to use one.

Combo Grills

Another type of grill is the combo grill, which is essentially a grill with one side dedicated to charcoal grilling and the other to gas grilling. Some combo grills even have a smoker integrated. Be careful, though: not all combo grills allow you to simultaneously use the charcoal and gas grills, so make sure the combo grill you’re investing in has this feature if you want it.

Main Advantage:

  • Has the ability to function as a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • May not be able to use these functions simultaneously

Wood pellet Grills

Similar to the offset charcoal grill, this type of grill generally has multiple chambers, although the fire chamber tends to be smaller. A wood pellet grill gives you the opportunity to grill your food over a real wood fire. To use such a grill, you’ll have to invest in wood pellets, which come in different types such as hickory or cherry, and then feed them into a hopper attached to the side of the grill. As you continue grilling, you’ll have to add more pellets in. Here’s an article on how to properly care and maintain your pellet grill.

 

Main Advantage:

  • Natural grilling taste reminiscent of a campfire

Main Disadvantage:

  • You have to tend to and keep up the supply of wood chips more regularly than a gas or charcoal grill

Smokers

 

Smoking is the act of slowly cooking food at low temperatures over a longer period of time. The result is rich, smoky, flavor-filled food that a grill simply could not replicate. Smokers can be fueled by propane, charcoal, or electricity. Here’s The Home Depot’s in-depth guide into the world of smoking and how it’s done.

Main Advantage:

  • Deep, rich flavors

Main Disadvantage:

  • Long cooking process

Electric Grills

Electric grills are perfect for situations in apartments or condominiums as these places sometimes do not allow charcoal or gas grills. All you need is to be near an electrical outlet to begin grilling. Electric grills cook food evenly and require very little set up or cleanup afterwards, however they do miss out on capturing any kind of flavor during the cooking process. Perhaps their strongest trait, though, is their portability, as tabletop electric grills can be taken anywhere with an outlet.

Main Advantage:

  • Great for apartments and places where you can’t have a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • Aren’t typically able to add the same flavor nuances as charcoal, wood, or even gas grills

Portable Grills

Portable grills come in charcoal, gas, and electric types and can be used essentially anywhere, predominately at tailgates and camping trips, but could certainly be used for backyard grilling. Unfortunately, though, its portability results in less square footage to grill for a big group of people or a large family gathering. On the same token, however, if you’re dealing with a patient bunch, who says you can’t take a little bit extra time to cook everyone’s food?

Main Advantage:

  • Very portable

Main Disadvantage:

  • Size restrictive as well as a long cooking process

Grill Cleaning and Maintenance

Charcoal grill

For cleaning charcoal grills, it’s important to clean the grill grate with a brush and then clean the charcoal grate. Make sure to clean out the ash in the grill as well. According to amazingribs.com, “ash holds moisture and can chemically attack steel.” They also add that ashes should always go in a metal can since “embers can glow far longer than you think.” For kettle grills, as mentioned in our 12 grill tips/tricks blog post, line the basin of the kettle below the charcoal grate with aluminum foil so that you can easily dispose of the ash once you’re done grilling without much of a hassle.

Gas Grill

This video has instructions on how to maintain and clean your gas grill.

General Maintenance

For all grills, it’s important to have cleanings and to check that all of the connections and pathways are clean, clear and functioning correctly for safety. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help your grill work better and last longer.

We recommend taking the following steps minimally:

  1.  If you haven’t used your grill for a while, or plan to not use it for a while, make sure to double check your hoses and connections to ensure that everything is whole and stable. If you have a gas grill, double check the propane connection and tank. Please.
  2. Clean your grates of excessive debris at least twice a season and right before you winterize (go for every time you cook if you can).
  3. Do check your grease trap seasonally if you have one and clean it out so it can continue doing its job next season.
  4. Clean the whole grill at the end of the season if you’re going to store it or not use it for a season

One additional tip we have for you to maintain your grill, no matter the type, is to throw a grill cover on. Why cover your grill, you may ask? First and foremost, a cover is a way limit your grill’s exposure to natural elements, such as rainfall, dust, leaves, etc. It can help prevent dirt and debris from getting stuck in catch pans where fires could start. While some worry that covers mean that your grill is at risk of rusting from condensation, our grill and BBQ covers are designed to combat that particular issue with air vents, as pictured below. Check out one of our earlier blog posts for more detailed information about why you should cover your grill.

Ravenna BBQ grill cover. Link below.

 

A vent on the side of a Ravenna cover.

Ravenna BBQ Grill Cover

Happy grilling for the rest of this summer!

Sources:
The Home Depot
Living Direct
Wikipedia: Weber-Stephen Products

All About Grills

Spring Patio Protection

Spring Protection Seems that this Spring in particular has come in like a lion for all of us.
With small bursts of blue sky between showers, it may feel a little early to be thinking about warm afternoons outdoors. It’s not too early to be thinking about protecting your patios though. With Spring Specials popping up all over the internet and at your local retailers, reminders are everywhere that Patio Season is right around the corner.

With the warming weather and unpredictable rain squalls, protection should be top of mind after your initial deep clean of your patio’s furniture and grills.

Spring Time Patios
Our friends over at The Home Depot just posted a How-To get your patio ready for Spring:

“Patio furniture provides more than just a place to eat or relax outside—it’s also an extension of your indoor decorating style. The right outdoor furniture should be comfortable and durable and add beauty to your exterior space.

Here’s how to find outdoor patio furniture that you and your family can enjoy:

•  Assess Your Space. An expansive deck can be broken up into sections. Try an outdoor sectional on one end and a picnic table on the other. Break up a large lawn with a cozy nook complete with a fire-pit and a comfy conversation set. For a small deck or patio, consider a bistro set, porch swing or rocking chair. Even the most compact outdoor space can be turned into a gathering place with small patio furniture.
• Think About Style. Continue the vibe of your indoor decor outside. A wooden patio table and chairs bring that rustic look outdoors. Add a splash of color with vibrant cushions. For a modern style, select metal outdoor lounge chairs with clean lines and neutral accents. Consider a patio set with coordinating pieces to take the guesswork out of designing the space.
• Consider Comfort. Look for patio chairs and sofas with outdoor cushions made from fade- and mildew-resistant fabric. Adirondack chairs have classic style and offer comfortable seating to admire a beautiful backyard view. Hammocks are a family favorite and provide the ultimate summer relaxation.
• Be Ready for Day and Night, Rain and Shine. A large patio umbrella will provide plenty of shade on those hot, sunny days. For areas with chilly nights, add an outdoor heater to your seating area to maximize its use.

Caring for Outdoor Furniture

Patio furniture sets made from aluminum, all-weather wicker, teak or resin are tough and easy to care for. For a rainy region, resin furniture holds up well and comes in multiple designs to match any style. Wrought iron is also low-maintenance and can withstand a hot, humid climate.

To extend the life of your outdoor furniture set, use patio furniture covers.”

The need for protection doesn’t stop at our patio furniture covers only. We also recommend any cover from our collection for your grill as well as Brad Dorcik blogged about in our Grill series of blog posts: http://blog.classicaccessories.com/rust-is-actually-a-lot-like-fire-but-with-metal/Rust on grills
and a look at grills by climate in our regional look:
http://blog.classicaccessories.com/why-cover-your-grill/
Grilling Climates
NEW to our site is our SALE section with Patio and Grill Covers that will take 30% OFF all items at checkout. (no code needed)

Have a great weekend!

Spring Patio Protection

Snow Sale Forecast

If last week wasn’t enough of a blow … we are still pushing our Snow Thrower Cab and Cover Sale through March 20th with discount code: MarchSnow at checkout on clasicaccessories.com Hopefully our East Coast friends won’t need it much longer than that! The new threat comes after the second nor’easter in a week bringing another round of freezing temperatures and snowfall to the region.

1.  Deluxe Snow Thrower Cab  |  2. Snow Thrower Cab  |  3. Snow Thrower Cover

Our roomy and rugged snow thrower cabs protect against the worst weather and snow blow-back. Our Weather-X fabrics are designed to not shrink or stretch and resist both water and snow with freeze resistant SUPER clear vinyl windows.

The cabs easily install with simple hand tools (no drilling required) and come with quick-release springs that allow the cab to be easily removed for transport and/or storage.

End the snow season with our snow thrower covers that provide excellent protection against any mood mother nature is in. Heavy duty weather protected fabric provides all season protection. The fabric is coated for water resistance, repellency and mildew protection. The cover will not shrink, stretch, or crack in the cold.

For best off-season storage tips, here is what Nearsay suggests:

1. Add Fuel Stabilizer

Before filling up your blower with gas, add a fuel stabilizer. This prevents the fuel from degrading with time, keeping it fresh and clean. Without this stabilizer, the gas can degrade, allowing dirt, debris, and other contaminants to damage the engine. After adding the stabilizer, run the engine for a few minutes to ensure it circulates throughout the internal components.

2. Tighten Loose Ends

Throughout its seasonal use, some parts of the snowblower may become loose or worn. To prevent such a small issue from causing major problems, perform minor maintenance at the end of the season. Before storing the equipment, tighten any loose nuts, bolts, and fasteners. Replace worn-out parts and mechanisms, as they may corrode or degrade during the off-season.

3. Limit Exposure

Store your blower in a secure location free from exposure to the elements. Sunlight, rain, wind, and other types of weather can cause damage to your power tool. We suggest placing  a specialized cover over it, which will further prevent moisture from accumulating in the machine.

Stay warm, and stay safe friends.

Sources:
nearsay.com
www.clickondetroit.com
www.cnn.com
abcnews.go.com

 

Snow Sale Forecast

Dreaming of Spring?

Snow Sale

Dreaming of Spring while the forecast is snowing on your parade? Take advantage of our late Winter Snow Sale on NOW through the first day of Spring with discount code: MarchSnow at checkout. Good on ALL of our Snow Thrower products.

Stay warm, stay dry and stay covered with Classic Accessories.

Dreaming of Spring?

Match made in Heaven

Veranda Matches

Author Dr. Seuss once said, “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” This Valentine’s Day, show not only your significant other the love they deserve but to the investments sitting in your backyard.

Surely to put your mind at ease while providing your furniture and grills with durable, all-weather protection, Classic Accessories introduces the Ravenna & Veranda Bundles.

Ravenna Matches

1 cover, 2 covers, taupe covers, pebble covers…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Match made in Heaven

Rust is Actually a lot like Fire, but with Metal

Rust on grills

In last week’s post, Why Cover Your Grill?, we talked about how Mother Nature dishes out a wide variety of weather across the U.S. Humid and coastal climates become highly rust-prone due to paint corrosion from salt, high levels of moisture in the air and rapid changes in temperature. Put simply, warmer climates, rather than cool ones, are where rust likes to kick things into high gear.  Especially unique to coastal residents, salt water brings an additional threat to the finish of your metal furniture, grills and other outdoor accessories. Salt solution acts as an electrolyte, increasing the rate material rusts, much like how water molecules speed up the reaction, transforming your beloved barbecue into a rust bucket.

Damaging rust to your grill

Some metal objects, when exposed to oxygen in the air, combine very slowly and create iron oxide, or rust. Leah Raeder, author and self-proclaimed “unabashed nerd” of Good Reads explains, “This is the same oxidation process as fire believe it or not. Isn’t that weird? So really, rust is the slowest fire ever.”2

If someone told you, ‘water causes something to burn2,‘ you would think they’re crazy.  But that is not far from the truth in describing water’s impact on accelerating the oxidation of your outdoor metal pieces and implements.  The more you can do to keep water from resting and accumulating on your items, the better.

In addition to keeping water from standing on your outdoor items, it’s important to clean them periodically.  Cleaning can remove rust that may accumulate over time and accelerate the oxidation of perfectly functional portions of metal.   Remember to regularly inspect and maintain the exterior as well as interior sections of your grill. Check out Consumer Reports Video for a quick guide to cleaning your grill:

Look for any signs of rusting so proper steps can be taken to delay or prevent the process from happening. Rust prevention methods can vary. The metal can be coated with a number of ‘ailments’ to help deter rust or rejuvenate the metal much like how grease or oil helps draw out moisture. Even zinc is a viable choice when rust-proofing. In fact, nearly one half of all zinc produced is used in zinc galvanizing processes to protect steel and iron from rusting3. Zinc is commonly known as the ‘sacrificial metal.’ – for reasons you can see below:
Barbecue grills left un-maintained and uncovered against the elements can create quite the eye sore in your yard. We recommend the use of a grill cover and regular inspections and cleanings to prolong the life of your grill and keep it performing at a high level.

We are taking 20% OFF our grill covers on classicaccessories.com until August 31st, 2017
with discount code: RUST at checkout.

Keep the “fires” to your fire-pit this season with a grill cover from Classic Accessories.

Sources:
Leah Raeder, Cam Girl of Good Reads
sharrettsplating.com

Photos:  fluoramics /  struckdumb  /  Rustic Farms  /  Nei Corporation

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Rust is Actually a lot like Fire, but with Metal

Why cover your grill?

Why Cover Your Grill

When people talk about BBQ in America, the discussion typically takes a turn towards location. Grilling and smoking are time-honored traditions that have many roots. Some states are divided by sauces, some by smoke, some by rubs and so on. As much as we can chat about the best recipe or our favorite pit to grab a bite, here at Classic Accessories, we take location a little more seriously than a sauce debate. We know the elements can vary drastically just in our lower 48. Since we are in the cover business, we look at what mother nature is serving up season after season if broken down by three of her favorite styles:
Grilling Climates
When we think of humidity, we think hot, tropical days and nights with moisture in the air that feels heavy and thick. Napoleon Grills reminds us that, “humid can also mean damp, like a foggy day in London,” which we may see more than our fair share of in the Pacific Northwest. Our grill covers are designed with air vents that keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation. Our covers are also designed to not cover wheel or leg bottoms that hang to the ground. This prevents the cover from sitting in any standing water that is common in coastal climates where heavy rain and snow can be a seasonal detriment. Water, in any form, is a damaging element to outdoor kitchens and we have introduced taped seams into our NEW Madrona RainProof Grill Covers to further keep moisture from barbecues and grills

Water on patios, metals and decks
Dry climates pose another threat to your grill over time with damaging UV exposure and lack of moisture. A cover will prevent dust and debris from coating the grill and finding its way into catch pans where fires can easily be started. When we say our covers are designed for all elements, we took these environments into consideration.

Here are some quotes from various BBQ forums on covering grills:

Grill Cover Reviews

One of the best things about grills is that they are meant to be used outdoors, so they are built with some of the toughest materials. Even though price tags vary by brand, style and size, all grills have their weaker points as well. This is where a cover can come in to extend the life of cheaper metals and help keep some of the accessories like side tables, tank doors and controls working like new.

steel, enamel, cast iron, wood and porcelain

From harsh weather to daily use of your grill, you always want to have it ready to fire up at a moment’s notice. There are many tips and tricks to cleaning your grills between parties or between seasons. From informative videos to how-to articles, the last step is always the same no matter if it’s for the day or for the Winter … put a cover on it.
75 % of all Americans own a grill
75% of all us adults, or just big kids, own a grill or smoker. That’s a lot when you think about all the different regions. That’s also a lot when you think about all the different kinds of styles of BBQ and grills out there. What’s more is the style of outdoor kitchens and rooms we have to think about too. From small balconies to lavish outdoor kitchens, we know style is one thing you think about when purchasing a cover. Sure the features of the cover are instrumental to how the cover will perform for you, but we know that your grill is just as much a part of your outdoor decor as your furniture is.

Grill and BBQ Cover Collections by Classic Accessories

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12

We have over 10 different collections of covers, all with unique designer colorways to features. A big part of the design process here at Classic Accessories is keeping our ideas fresh and on trend. One of the biggest we see is the need for design and function have never been more apparent. We are seeing grills with numerous handle, color and finish options. Ryan Bloom, of Urban Bonfire, states that designers that choose to combine “raw cooking power with beauty see the winning combination.” We like to think that our designs nod to both camps. We have the strength and durability built into our covers with the designer features that compliment any outdoor space. Making the choice to cover you grill, barbecue or smoker should be an easy one. Finding the right size and style should be just as easy, and that’s where Classic Accessories can be a part of the solution.

Here’s to gathering around the grill this August with friends and family.
We hope you end the day, or season, with Classic Accessories.

Sources:
Pixabay
Mercury News
Napoleon Grills
BBQ Bretheren  |  The Smoke Ring  |  The BBQ Forum  |  Smoking Meats

Contest is now over

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Why cover your grill?