Guide to Outdoor Furniture Materials
When buying outdoor furniture, you may think that cloth cushions and plush pillows are out of the question, but with the right outdoor kitchen and patio area, this dream can easily become a reality; you just have to know how to make it work.
The Many Materials of Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture can be made from many different materials. What used to be only iron or wicker is now wooden, plastic, and steel. Let’s take a look at each of these materials and explain what they have to offer and what kind of outdoor kitchen they are best for.
Iron is affordable, durable, and strong, making it an ideal material for outdoor furniture that will have constant exposure to all of the elements of the outdoors. Iron is low-maintenance and heavy, so it can easily stay outside during strong winds, rain, and excessive heat.
Iron has the tendency to rust if the iron frame has been scratched, so you will need to make sure that any cracks are quickly sealed and repainted so that rust does not onset.
Aluminum - Cast, and Extruded
Aluminum outdoor furniture will be cast or extruded.
Cast aluminum is aluminum that has been poured into molds and cast to hold a shape. Cast aluminum can be painted a variety of colors and will typically never rust. Cast aluminum is low-maintenance and can last a lifetime.
The downside to cast aluminum is the cost. Cast aluminum is generally more expensive than most of its competition; however, the good news is that cast aluminum may be a one-time purchase and requires little maintenance during its lifespan.
Extruded aluminum is hollow and lightweight. Extruded aluminum can be painted and easily moved from one location to another. Because extruded aluminum is so lightweight, it should be brought inside during the potential for heavy winds.
Plastic can be designed to appear with a wood-like design. It can give the appearance of a material that is more luxurious than it actually is. Plastic is affordable, lightweight, and environmentally friendly. Plastic is also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about bringing the furniture indoors or moving it to a covered area if it rains. The downside to plastic is that it is not durable, so it can be easily broken, cracked, and difficult to clean.
Wooden outdoor furniture can be made from cedar, pine, teak, eucalyptus, oak, and many more. The advantages of wood are its strength, design, and appearance. Wood also does not hold heat as much as iron or aluminum, which is another one of its advantages. The disadvantage of wood, however, is its high maintenance.
Wood must be sealed with a finisher so that it can keep as much moisture out as possible, as wood is a very porous material. If wet, the wood can rot, warp, or lose its color. For this reason, wood furniture should be stored indoors and out of the elements as much as possible.
Today, wicker furniture is a method of weaving polyethylene strands to create a piece of furniture. Because these strands are polyethylene, which is a type of plastic, they are very durable in the outdoor elements and will last a long time. Wicker is resistant to weather, waterproof, and low-maintenance. The tighter the weave, the better the furniture will hold up over time.
Is Your Outdoor Kitchen/Patio Covered?
Now that you know the many types of material that you can choose from when purchasing outdoor furniture, you will need to consider the area of your outdoor kitchen or patio in order to make the final decision.
If you have a covered outdoor kitchen or patio area, you will have more options for the type of outdoor furniture material you can have. With a covered outdoor kitchen or patio, you are not limited to having to choose weather-resistant furniture material. You can essentially choose any furniture material you want.
If your outdoor kitchen or patio area is not covered, you will have to choose an outdoor furniture material that can withstand the elements and not deteriorate quickly. Otherwise, you will have to replace your outdoor furniture much more quickly than you should.
Store the Cushions and Pillows
The last thing to remember with outdoor furniture is that you will need to store any fabric cushions or pillows in a dry place when they are not in use. Leaving cloth cushions and fabric pillows in the elements, especially rain, will cause them to mold, mildew, and even become ruined. You can store cushions or pillows in outdoor storage benches or bring them inside when they are not being used.
Outdoor furniture material can be completely weatherproof or have weather-resistant components that make them ideal for the outdoors. If your outdoor kitchen or patio area is covered, you will likely be able to choose any outdoor material of your choosing.
If your outdoor kitchen or patio area is uncovered, you will be limited to the type of material you choose for your outdoor furniture as you will not want to choose a material that will deteriorate quickly if left out in the elements.