Most Durable Outdoor Furniture Material
We are going to look at some of the biggest factors when you are looking for the Most Durable Outdoor Furniture Material for your outdoor space. Several things should go into your decision before you get to a store. You need to answer the following questions to make sure that you will get the right material the first time.
Each person will have to think about the look that they want. Sometimes the design of the space will determine the material that you purchase. If you have a metal awning you may want a metal look in your furniture, same goes if you have a rich looking wooden Arbor, you may want some wooden furniture.
I will give you several ideas to ponder, when you think you have given it enough thought, you can start your search. Now lets start looking at some details.
How much do you want to spend
This is going to be the biggest question before you head out to look at some patio furniture. The range of pricing will be very large. Cheap patio furniture can start under $100, expensive teak wood furniture can cost as much as a car.
I will list the types of materials in the order of expense, this way you can stop when you get to the high end of your budget, these prices are for the smallest and cheapest items available today, it is just for comparison.
- Plastic-One of the cheapest patio furniture choices out in the market today, some chairs will go for under $20 each. If you do not mind replacing your furniture each year, this could be a good choice.
- Treated wood-Not a lot of choices, will cost under $100 for individual pieces. Good for swings and picnic tables.
- Wrought Iron-Lots of choices on seating or tables. Cost under $100 for individual pieces, sets start at under $150 for a bistro set. Have several tables and chairs of this material that has been outside for over ten years with little upkeep. Will require cushions for long term sitting.
- Aluminum framed with sling seating-Lots of choices- most pieces start close to $100, sets can be as low as under $200. Sometimes can be tricky to assemble as holes will not line up, can be used without cushions and be comfortable for long term sitting. I have several sets of chairs with this material.
- Cast Iron-Not a lot of choices, mostly seating and dining. Bistro sets or benches can start under $200. Can be very decorative in design, can add a lot of character to your patio or outdoor space.
- Cedar -Mostly swings and seating-Can get some swings under $300. Good for swings and table sets. Can get bulky if your have a large seating set. Will require cushions to be comfortable for an evening of sitting.
- Metal framed Resin Wicker-Some pieces can start under $100, sets will start at $250 and go up according to the quality of the build. Lots of resin wicker designs today. Most are made of recycled materials. Can get in several colors as the resin can be dyed in production. Metal frames will need to be watched for rust. Most of these pieces will come with cushions, they may be hard to replace when needed because of shape.
- Teak wood or other hard woods-Some of the most expensive materials, a bench can start at over $500, I have seen some sets selling for over $5000. If you are looking for long-lasting patio furniture with little care, this would be your choice. Many designs are available, the choice material for those that do not care about the initial cost.
You notice that I did not include the information on if the seating had cushions or not. Most patio furniture will not come with cushions, you will have to add to the price.
How much space do you have
The importance of this information is that some materials take up more space than others. The metal framed resin wicker or any type of wood will be more bulky than the plastic or metal pieces. The frames will take up a lot of space and if you have a balcony or small deck, you may not be able to get around your set or move it without some difficulty.
If you do not have any space limitations you can choose any material that fits your budget and taste.
How much time for upkeep of your patio furniture
Different materials will take a different maintenance schedule. I will look at the details of what it takes to keep each type of the best patio furniture material looking like new for you. This may help you determine how much time you want to spend taking care of your patio furniture.
- Plastic-Just a rinse with the hose when it is soiled is all that it takes. Sun will take its toll on the plastic material over time and break it down. Can easily be broken, not a strong material.
- Treated wood-Needs power washing every two years and then a sealant applied. Washing with hose will get rid of most debris. May warp or get splinters over time.
- Wrought Iron-Gentle washing with the hose when dirty. Will need sanding and repainted when rust starts to appear. Salty environments will shorten wrought irons life greatly.
- Aluminum Framed sling seating-Use a mild soap and water, rinse with a hose. The Fastest drying material after a rain. Frames should never rust, salty or rainy environments will still corrode the material.
- Cast Iron-Washing with a mild soap and water. Will need sanding and repaint when rust appears. My bench has broken off a couple of legs over it lifetime, had to weld them back on then repaint. Not very comfortable without cushions.
- Cedar Wood-Wash stains off with a hose. Will need power washed and sealed every two years for a longer life and to keep the color. Slower to warp than treated wood and has fewer splinters.
- Metal framed Resin Wicker-Wash with a mild soap and water mixture, rinse with hose. Do not use any harsh chemicals or glass cleaner, the powder coated frames will start to fade and rust. Resin wicker material can be re weaved if you need repairs.
- Teak Wood-Do nothing if you like the rustic patina. If you want to keep rich color of the teak, you will have to power wash and seal with a special oil. Teak wood has been known to outlast its owners.
Additional items that you may need
Shade is very important if you are on the sunny side with your patio furniture. You may need an umbrella, they come in many varieties today.
Lighting may be on your list if you use your outdoor space after dark. Low voltage or solar lighting are the most popular if you are farther away from the main house. Some umbrellas have solar lights included to combine a purchase.
Furniture covers may be needed if you leave your patio furniture outside during the winter or for long periods of time during harsh weather.
Storage for smaller items and cushions may be on your list, some decorative storage solutions are available to help you with extending the life of you accessories.
Outdoor rugs to define your space. If you want your outdoor space to remind you of your indoor decor, an outdoor rug will set your tone and give you some foot comfort.
My conclusion on Materials
Most people will make choices on what will be the Most Durable Outdoor Furniture Material for them without thinking about price or upkeep. They will say it looks good. Most patio furniture does look good, what qualities will you think will be most important to you. That is what will make a good choice for you.
I hope that you found this information helpful. If you have any additional thoughts or questions please use the forms below and I will get back to you.
Great information in a concise form that I can have open on my phone when I go shopping. Thanks!
This would be very helpful when in the store.
I love the little cast iron set you have pictured there – that’s really my style. We are building a deck – so I will keep an eye on your site for ideas for furniture!
Patio furniture will make your outdoor deck look special. Getting the right furniture will take a little work, hope this information was helpful.
Thanks John for this “fresh” post on garden furniture options, personally I like the Aluminum framed furniture as they are light weight and are easy to move around.
I used to have the cheap plastic type of furniture, and though they can last a long time, they are not as elegant as the aluminum ones.
The cast iron ones are too bulky to my taste.
Wood…I’m fussy about it for my patio…not sure about it =)
Looking forward to summer now with all this patio talk!
Cheers – Orion
I have a couple of sets of the Aluminum framed patio furniture. The cast iron is made to be left and not moved much. I think wood is great for a swing or picnic table. Ready for summer to get here.
You have offered a comprehensive guide for the consumer just starting to shop, or ready to buy. I appreciate the pricing, material and care details.
It is indeed wonderful to have such beautiful outdoor spaces!
Having an extension of you indoor space is what most work for in their outdoor spaces. I am lucky to have several outdoor areas in my own yard.
Your information on aluminum is enlightening. I knew it would not rust, but I had no idea that it would corrode in moisture and salt.
That is certainly something to know about. Thank you.
The more expensive Teak wood is about the only type of material that will last in the beach environment. Most will rust or rot with the salty air.
I picked up a fairly nice set, big cushions, fake glass top, but it became difficult to keep taking the cushions out and putting them away in the chest for safety. I am not sure I would go with the same one again. Your article is a great reference for the next time we shop.
Taking the cushions in when not using them will need to be done with most outdoor sets. This is why I like the sling material so much. It will dry quickly after a rain and does not require cushions for seating comfort.
This was a great article. You are so right – people never spend any time looking at the ‘big picture’! They just focus on one aspect – need something to sit on outside, then they buy something arbitrary and once home they realize – ‘Omg, this does not look good’ or ‘This is too small’…or the list can go on and on.
Your article breaks it down into functional pieces and it’s great.
It certainly changes my perspective on outside furniture, to say the least.
A simple guide for getting the right patio furniture the first time. Having the wrong patio furniture will tend to have people not use their outdoor space very often.