Five Material Options for Outdoor Furniture

Posted on: 29 January 2021

If you are shopping for new outdoor furniture, it's important to weigh the different options when it comes to the materials that make up the furniture.

1. Wood

There are many choices when it comes to wood. Look for weather and rot-resistant wood varieties, like teak or cedar, to ensure that the furniture has a long and useful life. All wood furniture does require some annual maintenance, but some types require less than others. Teak, for example, only needs to be oiled annually. Other woods may need to be sanded down or painted with a sealer or finish.

2. Metal

When looking at metal options, opt for aluminum or stainless steel as these are less likely to rust or corrode. Aluminum is especially popular because it is also lightweight. Powder-coated metal provides options in a variety of colors, and the powder coating further protects against damage. Wrought iron is another option, but keep in mind it will need to be periodically sanded down and repainted. It is also heavy, so best for benches and other stationary furniture items.

3. Resin

Resin or plastic furniture is popular because it is lightweight and easily available in a range of types and styles. It can become scratched and dingy looking over time. The least expensive options are also prone to cracking and breaking, particularly if they are exposed to a lot of UV light. The main benefit of resin and plastic, beyond cost, is that they can be cleaned easily with a garden hose. Many designs are also made to stack, so storage doesn't take up too much room.

4. Wicker

Wicker furniture, whether painted or natural, can look beautiful, but there are some downsides. Painted wicker will eventually begin to flake and crack, so periodic repainting is necessary. Wicker can also be prone to moisture damage, primarily in the form of mold and rot. Wicker is best used in sunrooms or under covered patios. It should be brought in before winter and only left out during the dry season. It also should never be left in direct sun for prolonged periods of time.

5. Glass

Glass is a common material for table tops—both outdoor dining tables and smaller side tables. Always opt for tempered glass to prevent breakage from impacts or temperature stresses. It's usually best to choose a frosted glass with a smooth surface. The frost helps hide any small abrasions that can occur outside, while the smooth surface makes it simple to clean.

Contact a furniture store to learn more about your options.