There are different types of wood, metal, cloth fabrics and plastics. But what patio furniture material is best for outdoor use?
Let’s start with wood.
Teak Patio Furniture is the most sought after wood for outdoor use because it resists rotting, mold and insects. Teak comes from all over the world, primarily Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Teak Patio Furniture will age beautifully in the outdoors without any coating or stain needed. In fact, most people want the Teak aged look over finishing oils that will eventually need to be redone.
An alternative to Teak is Acacia wood. Acacia looks a lot like Teak but it will need attention from time to time to keep it looking new. Acacia wood is not as weather resistant as Teak but comes at a lower cost. You get what you pay for – If you like long lasting, weather resistant patio furniture, get real Teak Patio Furniture.
Metal Patio Furniture comes in steel or aluminum.
Aluminum will not rust but make sure you buy powder coated aluminum. Powder coating will seal the aluminum preventing oxidation from occurring. Oxidized aluminum will get a carbon black film as it ages and that carbon black will get all over everything. Powder coating keeps the finish looking good for years.
Steel comes in a variety of forms. There is Stainless Steel which remains clean looking and shiny because it will not rust in the weather.
Carbon steel and COR-TEN® Steel will rust and turn reddish-brown over time. This rusting is aging that is also a sought after look for some metal features. Fire pits often come in this ‘bare’ steel for that reason, the aging look is wanted. Carbon steel is also known as cast iron.
There is copper, and hammered copper. Copper is a preferred metal in outdoor patio furniture. Hammered copper has a sculpting indented look that is charming and is often the preferred copper look.
With Rattan patio furniture you’ll find that most are made of plastics. Plastics are often referred to as polymers. This is why many plastics begin with “poly,” such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride known as PVC. Polymers often are made of carbon and hydrogen and sometimes oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, fluorine, phosphorous, or silicon. The issue here is that some plastics yellow and/or get brittle over time especially when exposed to the outdoors. White and bright colored polymer patio furniture are more susceptible to yellowing than dark colors.
As for fabric seat covers, awnings and umbrellas, there are a number of brands that hold up well, the most well known is the Sunbrella® brand cushion fabric. Sunbrella® is an all-weather fabric. Then there is Phifertex® vinyl mesh, there’s TonyBahama® and a few more name brands. The important thing is to buy a name brand that is known to stand up to the outdoor exposure.