Having an outdoor seating area where you can spend fun times with your friends and family is superb. But how do you know what material to choose for your furniture? When shopping for outdoor furniture, you should look for durable and weather-resistant materials.
Durable outdoor furniture materials include:
- Stainless steel
- Synthetic resin
Although each material has its unique features, your choice should depend on the climate where you live, your budget, and your favored aesthetics. In this article, we’ll walk you through a detailed guide to help you find the best material for outdoor furniture.
Materials for Outdoor Furniture
Below is a detailed guide to help you choose suitable outdoor furniture materials.
When it comes to outdoor furniture, hardwood is preferred over softwood, and we’ll tell you why
Hardwood can resist damage from several elements, and if properly treated, it can last for decades. The best hardwood to use outdoors is teak. It contains natural resin and oils that protect it from rot, water, and insect attack.
With a little oiling, the teak will maintain its honey-brown color for many decades. And even if you don’t have the time to treat it, it’ll take on a patina and turn into a fine silver-gray color.
Another suitable hardwood is eucalyptus. It’s eco-friendly and resistant to rot and insects. While it’s susceptible to pinhole borers, it can be treated with insect repellants. Other hardwood options are shorea, white oak, ipe, mahogany, and iroko.
When exposed to direct sunlight, wood fades over time. However, you can protect it using treatment options like oiling or sealing.
Concrete is a construction material, but it’s now used in designing outdoor furniture. It’s strong and can last for years. However, despite its strong nature, it’s susceptible to stains. Also, chemicals from rain, lemon juice, and vinegar can disintegrate its base material, which is cement.
To improve its characteristics, modern concrete designs are mixed with other materials. For instance, concrete can be used as a tabletop with metal stands at the base. It can also serve as the base of lounge tables. Additionally, concrete can be reinforced with steel, organic or synthetic materials, or fiberglass to help it withstand stains, frost, and water.
Overall, it’s an elegant and sturdy choice that goes perfectly with contemporary decor. But if you choose it, you’ll have to install umbrellas to prevent rain from ruining it.
Stainless steel is a metal alloy with high density that can protect it from damage due to frequent use. Its contemporary appearance makes it ideal for high-end outdoor furniture.
The material is high-quality and strong, making it suitable for outdoor furniture that bears heavy weight, such as sofas and dining tables. Although you can’t move it around easily, you can rest assured that strong wind won’t blow it away.
Stainless steel becomes hot when the sun is up, but it endures harsh weather compared to other metals. Also, it’s resistant to corrosion and rust, which makes it safe in coastal locations where there’s salt water. However, the material will corrode when it’s exposed to chlorine. So ensure you give it an extra coating for additional resistance.
Aluminum is lightweight, durable, and strong, which makes it a popular metal and an attractive outdoor furniture material. Because of its versatility, many shapes and designs can be made with it. Also, it’s relatively cheap and requires low maintenance.
Aluminum doesn’t rust like steel or iron, and it doesn’t crack or dry out like wood when it stays outdoors for a long time. However, it can be blown away by strong winds. Also, it heats up like stainless steel, so ensure you fix seat cushions that are cool and cozy.
Although the material is resistant to most weather elements, you should consider adding a powder coating. It’ll serve as extra protection from harsh weather and scratches and add more color.
Powder coating is preferred over painted aluminum because it won’t fade quickly. Also, if you’ll keep the furniture by the poolside or on a deck, salt air can erode the paint as well as the untreated metal.
Synthetic resin is an excellent outdoor furniture material because it’s lightweight, all-weather, and low maintenance. To give it a classic outdoor appearance, the material is woven to look like natural wicker, which is made from organic materials like banana leaf, bamboo, and rattan.
Natural wicker adds to the aesthetics of your home but isn’t an ideal choice of material for outdoor furniture. This is because it can’t withstand weather conditions like humidity and rain.
Synthetic wicker furniture is usually designed with aluminum to increase the weight it can accommodate. It can also be painted to look like organic wicker or given a vibrant tone to match your deck.
When choosing synthetic resin, ensure it’s high-density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s a high-quality thermoplastic that’s resistant to harsh weather conditions. Also, it doesn’t emit chemicals when exposed to heat. It can take years of beatings from ultraviolet rays and won’t degrade, which makes it an eco-friendly furniture material.
Low-quality synthetic resins are made from PVC, nylon, or polyethylene. They become frail and crack when exposed to direct sunlight.
Fabric outdoor furniture provides a lounging experience during summer, as it brings the snug indoor nature to the great outdoors.
Outdoor fabrics are made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic, vinyl, and polyester. They’re water-resistant, breathable, and can withstand prolonged exposure to weather elements. Natural fibers will lose their color and may even disintegrate when left outdoors.
Each synthetic fiber has its pros and cons. For instance, acrylic is easy to clean and resistant to mildew and mold but is expensive. Meanwhile, polyester is flexible and resistant to stains and water damage, but it won’t last if exposed to the sun. Whichever fabric you choose, it’s important to store away your furniture during winter.
Choosing a suitable material for your outdoor furniture should depend on your personal preference regarding design, the weather where you live, and your budget. If you want a natural material that blends with the contemporary feel of your patio, you should go for hardwood. But if you want a sturdy, chic material and don’t mind the risk of staining, you should try concrete.
Additionally, you may consider stainless steel if you reside in a windy area. Aluminum and synthetic resin are perfect if you want an affordable, lightweight, and low-maintenance material. Finally, if you want a luxurious lounging experience, go with fabric.