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care and maintenance


Modern Outdoor Materials

One of the highest points of distinction for the Modern Outdoor Collections is the materials we use. We use sustainably harvested Ipe – a beautiful South American hardwood that is three times as dense as Teak, Red Balau (Kenji) – another extremely dense and durable exterior hardwood, Electro-polished Stainless Steel or Powder Coated Steel, Marine-Grade Anodized Aluminum (Luma), a Marine-Grade High Density Polyboard, and a Natural Composite Resin infused paper based product (Kenji). With minimal care, your Modern Outdoor furniture will deliver a lifetime of enjoyment.

Ipe – Ipe is a South American hardwood that is one of, if not, the best hardwoods for outdoor use (we use sustainably harvested Ipe). It is naturally resistant to rot, insects, ice, salt, abrasion and splintering – it is Class-A fire rated (the same as concrete and steel). Even with all of these wonderful characteristics, Ipe is still a natural wood and is therefore subject to environmental conditions. One of the most noticeable aspects of this is the color change that Ipe experiences when exposed to the sun. Like other natural woods, if left un-oiled, Ipe will gradually age to a silver-gray patina.

To help prolong the rich-reddish brown natural tones inherent in the wood, the Ipe should be oiled with a hardwood oil that contains UV inhibitors – brands that are readily available are Penofin for Exotic Hardwoods (clear version) and Watco Teak Oil. How often to oil is dependent on how much of the color is desired to be maintained. Once a month is usually sufficient, but it does vary by climate and weather conditions. When the wood appears to dull, it is a good indication that it is time to re-oil. Even with oiling on a regular basis, it should be noted that the wood will still silver-gray over time – the oil delays this process, it does not halt it.

The oiling process is a simple one – evenly wipe Ipe on the oil with a non-linting rag, then wipe Ipe off the excess with a clean rag. As Ipe is a natural product, variations in the color of each board will occur. In addition, checking (small fissures along the grain) may appear in the Ipe as well as some small end cracking – this is a natural process that occurs as the Ipe continues to dry over the months and years.

A thorough bi-annual cleaning should be performed. This involves removing all of the oil buildup and environmental deposits with a mild soap (i.e. dish soap) and water solution. Use a soft nylon bristle brush to scrub all pieces. Hose off until the water runs clean. Re-oil after each thorough cleaning. In instances where actual damage occurs, please contact us for assistance. In addition, when the Ipe fades to the point that you are no longer pleased with the color, there are steps you can take to bring back the color.

If the furniture goes without any care for over a year, you will probably have to sand down the Ipe to get back more of the color. You should clean the Ipe first with warm soapy water (dish soap will work) and then hose down the Ipe until the water runs clear of soap (let the Ipe completely dry). Then evenly sand the Ipe with 60-80 grit paper using an orbital sander. The color in the wood should appear quickly when sanding. Next, hose down to remove the Ipe dust and let the Ipe completely dry. Finish sand using 180-220 grit paper – make sure to sand evenly at all times. Hose down the Ipe to remove the dust and let completely dry. Once completely dry, and then oil the Ipe using an exterior hardwood oil with a UV inhibitor. A couple of brands that you can find in most hardwore stores are Penofin Oil for Exotic Hardwoods (use the clear version) or Watco Teak Oil.

Marine-Grade Polyboard

For clients that want a look other than Ipe or want to have a virtually maintenance free product, this is the perfect option. It is a UV stabilized high density material that is non-corrosive, non-conductive, and chip resistant. To clean everyday dirt and stains, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a cleaner such as Soft Scrub and a nylon scrubby or stiff nylon brush. Scrub lightly; excess force can mar the finish. To clean a petroleum stain such as grease or oil, use a citrus cleaner, alcohol or mineral spirits. In severe cases, spray petroleum-based stains with WD40. Then use toluene or acetone and a white nylon scrub pad (colored pads release staining dyes when combined with acetone). Do not use MEK, turpentine or naphtha solvent. Furniture polish or products such as Armor-All can add an attractive luster to the finish of the Polyboard. These products will also hide small surface blemishes.

Natural Fiber Composite Tops

Our Kenji Collection uses a product that is made of cellulose fibers infused with resin for its table and bench tops. This material is produced from product harvested from FSC certified forests in North America, recycled paper, and phenolic resin. Because of the materials used, it is environmentally friendly and “green”. This product is easy and relatively carefree to maintain. Soap and water, or a non-ammonia type household cleaner is recommended for normal routine maintenance. Countertop Magic is also a brand name product to use for cleaning. Depending on what look is desired, matte or polished, surface treatments are easily applied. If a polished look is desired, hardwood oil, mineral oil and wax oil are all suitable products to use to achieve this look. Do not use harsh abrasives on the surface.

Powder Coated Steel

The steel we use has been treated to withstand outdoor applications – it has been sandblasted, phosphated, primed, powder coated, and finish coated. As this is not a refined structural steel, there may be slight imperfections in the steel, such as small pits and wrinkles, but they are slight in appearance. The frames of your Modern Outdoor furniture will gleam for years to come with simple regular maintenance (soapy water cleaning with a non-abrasive towel) – do not use abrasive cleaners.

Electro-Polished Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is at its best, both aesthetically and functionally, when it has been Electro-polished. Electro-polished Stainless Steel has a lustrous finish and remains unblemished under outdoor conditions of exposure that would quickly tarnish, corrode, or rust most other metals. Electro-polishing of stainless steel is commonly used in the marine, medical, and aerospace industries. The process cleans, smoothes, polishes, and deburrs the product surface. This leads to improved levels of hygiene and cleanability. In addition to these reasons, we choose to Electro-polish our stainless steel products because of its ultimate benefits for our customers: corrosion resistance, resistance to contamination and bacteria growth, micro smoothness, and improved appearance.

Even with Electro-polishing, we recommend regular cleaning of stainless steel frames on at least a monthly basis to remove any environmental deposits on the material that may lead to damage to the frame over time – in coastal environments this should be done on at least a weekly basis. Cleaning should be done using only fresh water or a mild soap/water solution. Stainless steel cleaner is also an appropriate cleaner – this can be found in cans, pastes and in “wipes” form at most hardware, home improvement, and larger drug stores. Natural citrus based cleaners are an environmentally conscious way to keep your stainless steel frames clean as well. Do not use abrasive cleaning products or industrial strength water pressure machines.

Marine-Grade Anodized Aluminum

Our Luma line features marine-grade anodized aluminum for the framing system. There is a slight brush in the finish of the aluminum for an enhanced look. Simple regular maintenance (soapy water cleaning with a non-abrasive towel) will keep the frames in good condition. Do not use abrasive cleaners.


We offer six standard colors for the cushions and upholstery of our Collections. Our fabric is 100% solution dyed acrylic. The material is treated for outdoor use in a manner to provide resistance to the natural buildup of dirt, oil and water repellency. In addition, we work with COM materials (no upcharge if provided by the client), as well as offer a palette of custom fabric choices for client design needs for an upcharge.

To keep the fabric in good condition, remove dust periodically with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner, wash with clean water no hotter than 86 degrees fahrenheit when dirt is persistent, use a common dry cleaning product for grease stains – never use any other chemical products, and of course, move your cushions indoors during inclement weather conditions. A complete stain removal chart can be found on the Sunbrella website.


Modern Outdoor standard cushions are made with flexible polyurethane foam. In order to maximize the life of the cushions, they should be stored inside during periods of inclement weather or be covered with appropriate furniture covers. In addition, when cushions are used with freshly oiled Ipe, the cushion may absorb the oils and be stained – as our cushions are not reversible, this will only appear on the underside of the cushion.

Umbrella Canopies

Fabric should be cleaned regularly before substances such as dirt, soot, roof particles, etc. are allowed to accumulate and become embedded in the fabric. The fabric can be easily cleaned without being removed from the umbrella – simply brush off any loose dirt particles, hose down and clean with a mild solution of natural soap in lukewarm water (no more than 100°f/35°c) and rinse thoroughly to remove soap. Open the umbrella and allow to air dry. At the end of the season, the umbrella canopy should be thoroughly cleaned before storing. Strictly follow washing instructions indicated above. Never store the umbrella in damp condition. Make sure the fabric is absolutely dry when putting into winter storage.

Any additional questions regarding the maintenance of your Modern Outdoor products, please feel free to contact us at (818) 785-0171 or e-mail us at