Outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements […]
Outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements. However, some outdoor furniture materials may hold up better in warm, dry climates rather than cold, wet climates. Read on to consider the full range of patio furniture’s most popular materials – and each one’s style, durability, strength, maintenance level, and performance in particular climates – so you can choose the best outdoor furniture material for your outdoor space.
Aluminum is by far the most popular contemporary patio furniture material (even resin wicker is typically woven over an aluminum frame). It resists rust and moisture damage better than other metals and a powder coated finish will offer added protection against the elements. Aluminum is strong yet relatively lightweight, making it easy to rearrange and store. Tubular aluminum, made with cylindrical aluminum tubes, is the most lightweight option. Wrought and cast aluminum are heavy enough to withstand wind and weather conditions but still manageable to rearrange and store.
Also known as all-weather wicker, resin wicker is a longer-lasting, weather-resistant synthetic fiber weave wrapped over a metal frame. While plant material such as cane and rattan are the traditional materials used to make wicker furniture, the term “wicker” actually refers to the woven style in which the furniture is made, not the material used. Resin wicker is typically made with thin strands of PVC, nylon, polyethylene, or high-density polyethylene.
Not all woods are created equal, but if there’s one common benefit to all wood patio furniture, it’s the ageless appeal of its natural beauty. Pine, cedar, or fir are softer woods with some degree of natural weather resistance; hardwoods such as shorea and teak boast exceptional durability and performance.
In both style and performance, recycled plastic patio furniture ranks at or near the top. Recycled plastic is extraordinarily strong and extremely durable. It’s resistant to moisture, rotting, and cracking and is impervious to salt water and stains. It also resists fading, because its color is intrinsic to the material. And best of all, most recycled plastic is made to resemble wood but requires none of the care wood does.
Wrought iron is prized for its distinctive appearance and wind-resistant sturdiness and strength. It’s heavier than aluminum, and in its natural state is more vulnerable to the elements. However, the best contemporary wrought iron patio furniture is specially treated with weather-resistant finishes that help seal out moisture and prevent rust.
Lighter than wrought iron but heavier than aluminum, steel provides strength, stability, and endurance in extreme temperatures. Powder-coated finishes aid in rust resistance. Typically used for framing high-end modern chairs and bistro-style seats, steel is also often used for retro designs and zero-gravity loungers.
Mosaic patio dining sets feature decorative tabletop patterns created using hand-laid tiles of slate, terra cotta, marble, or other natural materials. Incredibly heavy yet beautifully delicate, mosaics bring rich color and intricate designs to outdoor living and dining.