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Best Materials For Outdoor Furniture

Part of getting the most out of your deck or patio is the ability to sit down and relax. You might want a simple table to sit at and have a bite. Or you might want something more relaxed where you can stretch out a bit. In any case, you want to be sure that your outdoor furniture is made of a quality material that’s going to hold up over time.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Outdoor Furniture

Several factors should be considered when choosing your chairs, sofas, love seats, tables, and other pieces for the yard.

The most important is your comfort. Your yard is for enjoyment, so you don’t want to get stuck sitting in a chair that leaves you with a sore back. But you also want something that stays cool and won’t end up sticking to your skin when it’s hot. And of course, it has to come in appropriate “adult sizes.”

You also want to pick furniture that’s going to stand up to the elements. On the one hand, you want something that isn’t going to collapse simply from being used. However, that’s not the only side of durability to worry about. You’ll also want to look for materials that won’t fade under the hot sun or get a “washed-out” look when they’re left in the rain. The challenge here is finding something that’s not going to get deformed from use while it also holds the look that first caught your attention.

You might also want to consider the weight of the furniture. Why? If you live in the northern United States or another region where you face harsh winters, you’ll probably want to move the furniture to the garage or shed during the winter. The same could be true if you’re in a zone that’s prone to tornadoes or hurricane. While you might have to move indoor furniture for occasional cleaning, its outdoor counterpart is likely to have to be picked up and carried a considerable distance.

adirondack chairs bring traditional Americana to your yard

On the other hand, you don’t want furniture that’s going to get blown around easily in even moderate winds. Furniture that’s too light will end up sliding all over if your area is susceptible to these conditions.

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Ease of cleaning is another element to consider. Simply by being outdoors, your lawn furniture is bound to get dirty. Rain, dust, grass clippings, fallen leaves, and more will all leave their mark. You want to be sure that you can clean it off and have it looking new without too much effort!

Of course, aesthetics come into play, also. No matter how good a particular construction may be, it still has to look right in your yard. Its appearance should be a reflection of your taste and go well with everything else you’ve worked so hard to design.

Popular Materials For Outdoor Furniture

A variety of materials is used in outdoor furniture, each with its own pros and cons. There’s no perfect solution that will fit every situation. Be sure to weigh all the relevant factors making your selection. While there’s no one type of product that will suit everyone, you might still find the one that’s perfect for you!

Wood

We haven’t researched it, but we suspect that wood was the second material used as furniture by human beings (a nice comfy rock would probably have been first!). It’s a great choice for outdoor furniture because, well, it blends in with the trees it came from.

wooden deck chairs offer a classical look

Teak is probably the best wood for outdoors, but eucalyptus, pine, and cedar are common hardwoods that hold up well outdoors.

Pros

  • Looks natural and is aesthetically pleasing
  • Holds up well if properly cared for
  • Older pieces can often be refurbished
  • Stays cool under the hot sun
  • Moderately comfortable (but you might want to add a cushion!)

Cons

  • Can be expensive, especially teak and cedar
  • Heavy

Wicker

Wicker offers another classic. It has a rustic look; a beach house is just one place it can look fantastic.

a white wicker rocker on the porch

Wicker is made from natural plant materials. Rattan is a particularly popular version.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Looks great, especially when you want something traditional or rustic
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Can break down over time
  • Smaller or lighter pieces can get moved or overturned by the wind

Synthetic wicker is also available now. It preserves the traditional wicker look but is more durable, so it makes a better choice for many places, especially at the beach where it would be exposed to salt air.

Stainless Steel

When it comes to durability, steel is going to offer one of the strongest materials available for patio furniture. It can be designed to suit a wide variety of styles. It’s also weather-resistant, so you might even be able to leave it outdoors year-round (unless you’re expecting extremely high winds!)

stainless steel makes a great choice when you want a modern look and long-lasting material

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Rust-resistant
  • Suitable for all weather

Cons

  • Heavy; hard to store or rearrange
  • Expensive
  • Can get hot to the touch

Wrought Iron

The beautiful craftsmanship of wrought iron will look great on your patio or deck! It has a traditional look but one that presents a certain level of elegance. It offers more detail that more modern-looking designs because the designs are more complex.

wrought iron is heavy but ornate
wrought iron is heavy but ornate

Pros

Cons

  • Can rust if not properly protected or powder coated.
  • Rather heavy, making it hard to move and arrange

Aluminum

Aluminum is a multi-functional, lightweight metal that is found in everything from soda cans to, well, patio furniture. You can find aluminum furniture in two forms: hollow or cast. Cast aluminum is heavier and more durable; of course, that also makes it more expensive.

quality aluminum porch furniture is lightweight but sturdy

Pros

  • Lightweight, especially hollow aluminum
  • Rust-resistant
  • Durable, especially cast aluminum
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Hollow aluminum can get blown about in high winds
  • Can get hot – not as much as stainless steel, but still uncomfortable

Plastic

Plastic patio furniture offers great versatility. While it’s generally known for its lack of visual appeal or sturdiness, it can still serve well if you have occasional gatherings or only want to use patio furniture on a rare occasion.

plastic lawn chairs are lightweight but not durable

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Good for an occasional party when you have more guests than usual

Cons

  • Unattractive
  • Easily broken
  • Can get hot and feel sticky on bare skin

Resin/Polymer

Resin is an artificial material similar to plastic but more durable. It can be molded and colored to look like other materials, making it more attractive. Synthetic wicker, which we’ve already mentioned, is one form of resin, but it can be made to look like other materials as well.

resin furniture withstands the elements

Pros

  • More sturdy than plastic
  • A decent weight – not too hard to arrange, but won’t blow all over
  • Often made with recycled plastics

Cons

  • Not as long-lasting as stainless steel or cast iron
  • Low-quality furniture can fade

Looking for something original? Recycle your car tires into a durable patio sofa!

Add A Cushion

Any type of outdoor furniture will benefit from having a seat cushion and even a back cushion added to them. With wood or plastic furniture, you might get away without it. But with all the others it’s almost necessary.

There are a wide variety of materials available for these, too. Again, you want something that is both comfortable and durable. It’s much easier to pick up a cushion to take it inside than a whole chair, but of course, there may be times that you forget or just want to leave it in place.

Finding the right cushion is a matter of taste and comfort, but it will definitely add to your enjoyment of your patio and deck!

Conclusion

You’ll have many options when it comes to choosing furniture for your yard. Finding the right one depends on knowing how, and how often, you’ll use it. But the diversity of styles and materials means that you’ll find something in your budget that can also be appealing and comfortable!