An Overview of Materials for Outdoor Furniture

When looking for the best material for outdoor furniture, you might be looking for almost the same characteristics in the material as you will in material for indoor furniture. You want the material to be durable, affordable, comfortable, and stylish. However, an outdoor furniture material should have the strength to endure harsh weather. While no furniture material can provide 100% resistance from weather, some materials can be better than others.

Before you decide on a particular material, it is important to compare each material to understand what material will work best for you. Your choice of the best outdoor furniture material will depend on its endurance to weather conditions and how well the material will match your building environment.

To make the best possible investment for outdoor furniture, compare the pros and cons of various material options available for outdoor furniture. Here is a comparison between different materials to help you make a sound decision:

1.     Teak

Teak is the most popular choice for outdoor furniture if you are looking for wooden material. Its all-weather capabilities, warmth, richness, and natural beauty make it the most commonly used material for outdoor furniture. It is extremely strong and doesn’t crack, warp or get brittle like other types of wood because it is impermeable to water and doesn’t expand and contract. The high natural resin and oil content of teak makes the material resistant to rot and insects.

All this provides more durability to teak, and furniture made of teak can last for about fifty years. The elegant honey brown texture of the fresh teak may turn into patina gray if it is not maintained properly. Hence, make sure to apply a good quality teak sealant periodically to extend its lifespan.

Pros

·       Easy to maintain

·       Long-lasting

·       Strong and durable

·       Weather resistant

·       Resistant to insect and decay

Cons

·       Requires regular maintenance

·       Color may fade if not maintained properly

·       Expensive

2.     Wrought Iron

Because of its durability and strength, iron has been widely used for making outdoor furniture. The term wrought means “worked by hand,” and it differs from cast iron, which is crafted using molds. Being heavy, wrought iron cannot be easily blown away by the wind, making it a good option for outdoor furniture material in areas with heavy winds. Wrought iron can provide uniqueness, and you can get handcrafted designs for your outdoor furniture. However, iron is prone to rust, and you would require to give the furniture an anti-rust treatment.

Furniture made of wrought iron has a weather-resistant finish to protect against moisture. Moreover, iron will match the prevailing temperature – gets too hot during summer and freezing cold during winter, making it uncomfortable to use without a cushion for seats, backrests, and armrests.

Pros

·       Durable and strong

·       Great for areas with heavy winds

·       Stylish looks

·       Long-lasting

Cons

·       Heavy and difficult to move

·       Requires frequent maintenance to protect from rust and corrosion

·       Tends to get extremely hot or cold with weather conditions

·       Expensive

3.     Aluminum

The durability and light weightiness of aluminum makes it the most popular metal used for outdoor furniture. If you are looking for outdoor material for chairs or dining tables, aluminum can be the best option because chairs are often moved in and out while sitting. Being made of a lightweight material like aluminum, moving chairs around becomes easier. However, aluminum furniture should not be installed in areas with high wind.

Despite being a lightweight material, aluminum is durable, strong, and provides great design flexibility. It is less expensive than other materials and requires less maintenance. Although aluminum has higher weather resistance and doesn’t rust, it is recommended to add polyester powder coating for extra protection. Like any metal material, aluminum also heats up in summer and gets freezing cold during winters. Hence, it is better to use cushions for seats, armrests, and backrests for comfort.

Pros

·       Light-weighted

·       Durable

·       Weather resistant

·       Requires low maintenance  

·       Inexpensive

Cons

·       Lightweight furniture may blow away in the wind

·       Gets extremely cold or hot like any other metal surface

4.     Steel

This durable metal alloy can provide a contemporary look. Steel is heavy-duty, strong, durable, and long-lasting, making it another great metal option for outdoor furniture. The high density of the material prevents scratches and dents. While regular steel is susceptible to rust, galvanized or stainless steel is resistant to rust. Steel can also endure extreme temperatures better than other metals. While it is highly immune to rust, it is recommended to add powder coating, especially when used around the pool as exposure to chlorine can result in corrosion.

Outdoor furniture made of steel will not blow over with wind because of its heavy weight, making it suitable for areas with heavy wind. The material is also long-lasting, easy to clean, and easy to maintain. Steel is often made of recycled metal, making the material an environment-friendly choice.

Pros

·       Easy to clean

·       Strong and durable

·       Better resistance against harsh weather environment

·       Wide range of color options

Cons

·       Heavy

·       Tends to get extremely cold or hot like any other metal surface

5.     Plastic and Resin

Synthetic resin and plastic are one of the best materials for outdoor furniture, and these materials are becoming an extremely popular option. Hybrid compositions combined with advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to craft these materials into any shape and size. Synthetic materials are usually cost-effective, light-weighted, and weather-resistant while providing unlimited styling options. As color is inherited into the chemical composition, the material is fade-resistant and doesn’t require paints or sealants.

These materials are stain-resistant, UV-resistant, and also resistant to mold and mildew. Synthetic resin is often confused with wicker rattan, an indoor material that can fade easily when exposed to sunlight. Some common types of the synthetic resin include PVC, polyethylene, and nylon. Make sure to get High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) wicker material, which is a higher-grade material with high durability, strength, and heat endurance than other types of material.

Pros

·       Durable and long-lasting

·       Extremely weather-resistant

·       Easy to clean

·       Cost-effective

Cons

·       Light-weighted

Conclusion

While all these materials can provide you durability and long life, choosing the best material can depend on your personal choice, weather conditions, and the surroundings where the furniture is to be installed. If you want a look and feel of wood, teak can be the best choice. For a metal look, you can choose aluminum or wrought iron, and if you want a low-maintenance and more affordable option, you can opt for synthetic resin. You can also mix and match different materials to get a more personalized look.

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