Whether it’s your patio, your balcony, your poolside, or anywhere in your backyard, outdoor furniture is an important part of these settings. Finding the right type of furniture can help improve the overall ambiance but it must also be durable to withstand different elements.
The longest-lasting outdoor furniture tends to be made from wrought iron. However, to ensure its longevity, it must be properly cared for. Maintaining your outdoor furniture is a vital role in preventing rust and corrosion from forming. This includes frequent cleaning but you may need to apply some wax at some point for extra protection.
Although wrought iron is extremely durable, other materials can also last a long time outdoors. Newer recycled plastics and protected woods can last many years but when it comes to the material alone, not much comes close to wrought iron.
There are some factors to take into account when considering which material lasts the longest outdoors. These are your location, the furniture’s overall quality, its ease of maintenance, and what it will cost.
If you live in an area where it rains a lot, other materials such as teak or aluminum may be the better option. On the other hand, you may live in a very sunny location where UV rays can damage different materials easily. In this instance, materials such as HDPE lumber or teak wood are best.
What can I use for garden furniture?
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing different materials for garden furniture. Unlike household furniture, the outdoor variety requires various traits in order to survive the different environmental conditions each year.
Some of the best long-lasting garden furniture materials are:
- Wrought iron
- Cast aluminum
- Teak wood
- Extruded aluminum
- Shorea wood
- All-weather wicker
- Cast iron
Wrought iron looks elegant and can add a subtle charm to your outdoor space. Although heavy and sturdy, wrought iron is considerably easy to clean.
Cast aluminum is rust-resistant, easy to maintain, and very durable. This is lightweight and can be switched to indoor settings if required.
Certain plastics such as Polypropylene can make vibrant and attractive garden furniture. Most are highly durable and long-lasting such as the recycled form, Polywood. Made from high-density polyethylene, this is UV-resistant.
There are many kinds of wood that can be used for garden furniture including ultra-durable and high-quality teak wood. Teak remains in excellent condition for years and is a popular choice for outdoor items. Shorea wood is another form of wood but it’s supremely dense and resistant to pests, water decay, mold, and fungus.
Extruded aluminum is more affordable than cast iron but can still be of excellent quality. Cast iron is corrosion and rust-resistant giving it the two most important properties for outdoor use.
All-weather wicker is, you guessed it, ideal for all weather conditions. It can be stylish, charming, and very simple which is why it’s a favorite choice for garden furniture.
Glass is typically used for tabletops or coffee tables and can add a touch of luxury to the furniture. However, glass requires more maintenance than other materials to ensure it keeps its quality appearance.
What fabric is best for outdoor furniture?
Choosing the best fabric for garden furniture is no easy task. The material needs to withstand your region’s weather conditions. For instance, you should avoid dark color vinyl if you’re lucky enough to live in a sunny area.
Outdoor fabrics are woven textiles made from a wide range of synthetic fibers, polyester, acrylic, and sometimes cotton blends. This helps the fabric repel water, preventing mold and mildew. Most of these fabrics are also treated with UV protection so they don’t fade over time.
Some fabrics you can choose from include:
- Cotton canvas
- Duck cloth
When considering the factors that make up the best outdoor fabric such as comfort, durability, and ease of maintenance, olefin comes out on top. One main reason why this is considered the best wearing outdoor fabric is that it can resist stains and fade. Another bonus is that it dries easily and quickly which is ideal for outdoor use.
Furthermore, olefin fabrics tend to cost less than acrylic fabrics and they generally have more interesting textures. Olefin may not be the softest but the properties that help it dry rapidly and protect it from discoloring from the sun’s rays make it the top choice.
What is the best material for outdoor furniture?
We have looked at which material lasts the longest for garden furniture but which is the best overall? Well, the best material has to live up to certain expectations. It has to stand up to the elements thrown its way outside. It has to be stylish, comfortable, and easy to clean.
When we look at the most popular material for contemporary outdoor furniture, aluminum comes out on top. It resists rust as well as moisture damage better than most materials. And when you add an extra powder-coated finish on its surface, it gets another level of protection against the elements.
Aluminum is very strong but somewhat lightweight. This makes it easy to rearrange and store when needed. The lightest option is tubular aluminum. This is made with cylindrical aluminum tubes and is easy to move around. Wrought and cast aluminum are heavyweight enough to withstand wind and harsh weather conditions but still remain manageable to rearrange and store indoors.
Another worthy mention is resin wicker. Also known as all-weather wicker, this material is longer-lasting than most materials and comes in the form of weather-resistant synthetic weaving wrapped over a metal frame.
The most common materials used for wicker furniture are cane and rattle but the term wicker actually refers to the style of a weave on the furniture and not the material used. Resin wicker is usually made with thin strands of PVC, polyethylene (or high-density polyethylene), and nylon.
Which is better? Wicker or metal patio furniture?
Two of the best available options for upgrading your patio furniture are wicker and metal. Both have unique qualities and offer versatility for your outdoor space.
Wicker furniture comes in many different styles, colors, and is generally quite easy to maintain. Manufacturers often use synthetics such as vinyl and resin for outdoor wicker furniture as these are better at resisting different weather conditions and water damage.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to metal patio furniture. These metals include stainless steel, wrought iron, and aluminum. With proper care, stainless steel can be rust-resistant and always looks very sleek. Wrought iron is probably the sturdiest metal and is best for windy conditions. It tends to require frequent upkeep to prevent corrosion, however.
Aluminum is the most affordable and comes in many colors and styles. This is usually more lightweight but dents and damage have a higher likelihood to occur to this material.
The durability of both wicker and metal patio furniture varies. Both need regular upkeep to prevent decay or corrosion. They each have distinct benefits to bring to outdoor furniture but the final decision on which is best should come down to what suits your tastes and lifestyle best.
With upkeep, wicker and different metals have water-resistant qualities and are long-lasting options.