Which Type of Outdoor Furniture Material Should You Get?

Outdoor furniture is available in numerous styles and colors. While there are many factors to consider when selecting pieces for your pool, patio, or other exterior space, one element is critical: material.

Today’s homeowners have near-endless options regarding which material will best meet their outdoor furniture wants and needs. To help you make the most informed decision, here’s a roundup of four of the most popular outdoor furniture materials, along with a closer look at the advantages of each.

1. Wood

Wood has long been one of the most popular raw materials for outdoor furniture sets because of its natural beauty, warmth, and sturdiness. However, not all wood types are suitable for outdoor furniture. Pressure-treated pine, fir, cedar, and other softwoods do not hold up well to exposure to the elements and, therefore, require significant protection. Conversely, hardwoods are known for their strength and durability – especially if treated properly.

Not all hardwoods are created equal when it comes to outdoor wood patio furniture. At the top of the list? Teak. While this handsome, fine-grained hardwood is on the more expensive side, it is also uniquely suited for outdoor furniture. Known for its strength and beauty, teak isn’t subject to warping, cracking, or becoming brittle like alternate types of woods. This is because it’s largely water repellant and doesn’t expand or contract when exposed to moisture.

Meanwhile, teak’s high natural oil content makes it resistant to issues like decay, rot, and insects. It’s also an excellent choice for homeowners looking for outdoor furniture that’s easy to clean and care for; mild soap and water are all that’s needed to keep teak looking its best for years to come.

Other popular types of wood for outdoor furniture include shorea, eucalyptus, ipe (or ironwood), and white oak.

2. Metal

Widely regarded as the most durable material for outdoor furniture thanks to its extraordinary strength, which allows for significant style flexibility in terms of thinness and shape. Additionally, today’s advanced production techniques enhance both the functional and aesthetic benefits of metal. For example, metal outdoor patio furniture can now be made without screws, bolts, and fasteners that might make them more prone to breaking down.

As with all outdoor furniture materials, metal does have some downsides. For starters, it can get very hot – and uncomfortable to the touch – in the sun. Metal is also more susceptible to rust and corrosion. Lastly, some types of metal can be very heavy and hard to move.

There are many types of metal to choose from. Aluminum tends to be the most popular pick for outdoor furniture because it is lightweight, durable, low-maintenance, and relatively inexpensive. When you factor in polyester powder coating, the advantages of aluminum patio furniture grow. Not only does this process add protection from scratching and fading, but it also means homeowners have their pick of hues. Because it’s so lightweight, aluminum furniture can blow away in high winds, so this may be a downside for homeowners in weather-prone regions. Like all metals, it can also retain heat – although seat cushions are a simple way to stay cool and comfortable.

Other popular metals for outdoor furniture include stainless steel and wrought iron.

3. All-Weather Wicker

While natural wicker derived from rattan, seagrass, bamboo, banana leaves, willow, and other organic courses is beautiful to look at, it can be vulnerable to moisture and humidity. Those looking for the distinctive charm of wicker furniture without these downsides may find synthetic polyethylene resin, also known as all-weather wicker, to be the perfect choice for Adirondack chairs, tables, deep seating, and other furniture.

When we say all-weather wicker is resistant to weather, we mean it: Even after years of exposure to the sun’s rays, it won’t experience any fading or degradation. It’s also strong, lightweight, easy to clean, and available in a variety of colors. Like aluminum, all-weather wicker may not be suitable for areas with high winds.

4. Plastic

Plastic is also having a major moment in outdoor furniture. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), and acrylic (also known as polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA) all offer unique appeals for outdoor applications. Depending on your specific goals, plastic furniture may be a wise choice.

For example, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) furniture is durable, weather-resistant, and inexpensive, while polypropylene is extremely resistant to heat and chemical degradation. Impact-resistant polycarbonate is a popular choice for those looking for a transparent aesthetic, but it is also vulnerable to scratching. While acrylic also offers a clear appearance, it lacks the strength and durability of polycarbonate.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Outdoor Furniture

The best way to find the right outdoor furniture? Understand your needs and your options. This is where Porch & Patio comes in. In addition to offering an extensive catalog of outdoor furniture from the best patio furniture brands, we also lay claim to an expert sales team committed to helping you make the most informed selections. Whether you’re looking for outdoor furniture ideas, need information about the types of outdoor furniture materials, or have questions about how to clean teak outdoor furniture, what outdoor furniture lasts the longest, or how to clean aluminum patio furniture, our team members are eager to offer assistance.

To begin upgrading your porch, patio, or deck to the outdoor living space of your dreams, visit the Porch & Patio showroom today!


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