Outdoor Furniture Materials Guide

What material is best for outdoor furniture?

Outdoor furniture will likely have many of the same qualities as indoor tables, chairs, and sofas. These include style, durability, comfort, and style. Patio furniture must be able to withstand the elements. There is no patio furniture that can be weatherproofed 100%, but there are significant differences in the materials.

It is important to fully understand the strengths and limitations of each material option before you make a decision. You need to determine how each material will fit into your commercial or residential environment. Also, consider your personal preferences and priorities. Because every situation is different, it is important to match your needs with the inherent characteristics of each material when choosing outdoor patio furniture.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing outdoor materials

Outdoor furniture frames, upholstery, and tabletops need to be able to maintain their structural integrity and appearance through many seasons and in a variety weather conditions. It is important to consider the cost and time required to maintain the materials over the years.
Outdoor Materials - Rain & Moisture
Rain & Moisture

You want furniture that is resistant to water damage if you live in an area with frequent rainstorms or high humidity. Retained moisture or standing water can cause physical damage to the furniture and pose health risks.
Mold, Mildew & Rot

Many fungi thrive in moist or humid environments. Mold and mildew can be a problem for organic materials that retain water. This can lead to irritation, respiratory problems, and other health issues. They don't usually cause any damage to the material and can be removed. Rot on the other side leads to biodegradation (decay), of the material.

Rust & Corrosion
When exposed to oxygen and water, metals with iron or steel can become corrosive. These metals are slowly weakened by corrosive oxygen, which causes visible rust and other discolorations. The chemical reaction is accelerated by salt in the air and water, which makes rusting more common in coastal areas.

Material that allows water penetration to dry unevenly can cause warping or bowing of the original form. Although it may not be obvious at first, it can cause distortions in the fabric, misalign seams, and loosen screws or other fasteners that hold the furniture together.

Outdoor Materials - Sun & Temperature
You should look for outdoor materials that are resistant to UV rays and extreme temperatures if you live in a sunny region.

Exposure to the sun can cause many materials over time to lose their luster. This can make a material look more appealing, such as e.g. Patina, or just a decrease in vibrancy or uneven spotting can all be attractive.

Certain materials expand or contract depending on how they are heated/cooled. Extreme temperatures and extreme fluctuations can cause them to crack, split or warp. Furniture can also crack and bend when it is dry.

Heat retention
Other logistical issues can be caused by heat. If patio furniture is left out in direct sunlight, it can heat up and become uncomfortable or unsafe to touch. No one wants to burn their skin while sitting in or trying to position a poolside lounger chair.

Outdoor Materials - Wind
It is important to ensure that outdoor furniture doesn't blow away or tip over in windy areas. A beautiful, lightweight dining table or deck chair can easily be damaged by Mother Nature. You'll have to store and secure your items whenever they aren't in use.

Outdoor Materials - Durability

Outdoor materials can last years in ideal conditions, but may need to be replaced when exposed to extreme weather. Some materials can withstand the elements for a lifetime while still looking new. Usage is another factor that affects durability. You will see less wear on patio dining tables if you only use them for a couple of times each summer than daybeds and sun loungers at upscale resorts and hotels. Materials should be more durable if they are used frequently.

Outdoor Materials - Cleaning & Care

How well you care for your patio furniture can also impact its aesthetic and functional durability. Some materials are easy to maintain year after season, and can be cleaned with soap and water. Some materials require special care and time-intensive maintenance to ensure they look great and work properly. You might choose to use lower-maintenance materials if you have limited time or don't want to deal with the hassle.

Outdoor Materials - Eco-Friendliness

Even though they may not know all the details, most people are aware of the environmental impacts of manufacturing processes and the raw materials used to make products. All things being equal, most people prefer to be environmentally responsible. Many luxury outdoor furniture brands have adopted green manufacturing methods and use materials that can be recycled or biodegradable. However, outdoor materials can be renewed in different ways.

Outdoor Materials - Cost Cost

Most people consider the financial implications when choosing furniture materials. While you need to stick to your budget, it is important to consider the cost of materials and how they compare in terms of their benefits. Is it likely to need to be replaced often? Is it difficult to maintain and takes too much time? These are important cost considerations you may not think of when considering other options.

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