Outdoor Furniture Materials Guide

What is the best material for outdoor furniture?
When evaluating outdoor furniture, you’re probably going to look for many of the same characteristics that you value in indoor tables, chairs and sofas – durability, comfort and style (and of course price). The primary difference, however, is that patio furniture has to endure exposure to the weather outside. While there is virtually no 100% weatherproof patio furniture, there are big differences based on the materials used.
Before you decide, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various material options. Determine how well each aligns with the requirements of your residential or commercial environment, as well as your personal preferences and priorities. Choosing the “best” material for outdoor patio furniture is dependent on matching your specific needs with the inherent qualities of each substance since each situation is unique.

Wood
Wood has been a popular raw material for furniture for millennia. It has a natural beauty, is generally easy to work with and provides a sturdy framework for tables, chairs, benches and other furnishings. However, not all woods are created equal when it comes to outdoor usage. Many softwoods, such as pressure-treated pine, cedar and fir are inexpensive and widely used for indoor furnishings, but do not stand up well to the elements and need constant protection when not in use. Hardwoods, on the other hand, are much heartier, resist weather damage and can last decades if treated properly. On the downside, they are often more difficult to shape and are typically more expensive than softwoods. But there are major differences between hardwoods too.

Metal
Metal is typically the strongest and most durable material for outdoor garden furniture. Because of its strength, metallic frames can be thinner and shaped into more complex designs than other options, giving manufacturers greater style flexibility. Metal is also a great choice when used in combination with other materials that have their own functional and aesthetic benefits. Various production techniques can create metal chairs and tables that don’t require bolts, screws or other fasteners that make other types of furniture more susceptible to break down. However, metal has its drawbacks as well. It heats up in the sun, making it uncomfortable to touch. Certain metals are very heavy and hard to move, while all metals are vulnerable to rust and corrosion to some degree. But each type metal has its own unique set of characteristics.

Resin & Plastic
Man-made synthetic materials, such as resin and plastic, are becoming more and more prevalent in the world of outdoor furniture. New manufacturing processes and hybrid compositions enable these polymers to take on shapes and sizes previously unattainable. Synthetics are typically lightweight, inexpensive and can be molded into any decor style imaginable. Because color is inherent in the chemical make-up, they are fade-resistant and don’t require paint or sealants used by other materials. They’re also a breeze to clean and maintain. There is a growing number of plastics and resins, but here are a few of the more common ones currently in use.

Fabrics
Outdoor furniture cushions, slings and accent pillows require fabrics that can withstand the stringent demands of constant exposure to the elements. Natural fibers tend to lose vibrancy and break down over time. Consequently, fabrics made from synthetic thread, infused with plastic, are much better options for outdoor upholstery covers. They are more resistant to climate issues and hold their color longer. Each synthetic fabric has its own set of benefits, drawbacks and ideal usage.

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