How to DIY Poly Outdoor Furniture?
If you have a knack for DIY projects, you may enjoy the challenges of building your own outdoor furniture. For years, people who know their way around tools have found creative and practical processes for making functional and long-lasting outdoor furniture.
Wood is often the easiest material to work with since it requires basic carpentry tools you probably have or can find conveniently at your local hardware store. Unlike metal, you mostly need to know your way around a hammer and drill; no welding or soldering is required. Wood is also advantageous because it is easily available, and you can repurpose old wood furniture into usable outdoor pieces.
But DIY enthusiasts are always looking for alternatives, and one popular material replacing wood is poly lumber. Poly lumber is a suitable alternative to wood, and some people have perfected the art of making outdoor furniture using this material.
If you want to take your building skills to the next level by finally making poly outdoor furniture, the following information should prove useful. It is a detailed guide on building basic outdoor furniture using poly lumber.
This guide best suits people who have done a little furniture building or at least know their way around carpentry tools. And you do not need a huge workshop or industrial-grade materials to make the poly furniture—just a well-equipped home workshop.
So keep scrolling below to learn how to make your own poly outdoor furniture. But first, we will cover some of the benefits of building your own furniture, plus some basics about using poly lumber.
Benefits Of Building Your Own Outdoor Furniture
DIYers enjoy three primary benefits when making their own outdoor furniture; personalization, saving money, and learning or improving their skills.
One of the perks of making instead of purchasing is customization and personalization. You can make the furniture to your specific desires. Sure, companies customize, but you can do more and be more creative when you do it yourself.
For example, you can make a table that fits perfectly into your deck’s weird little corner. Even manufacturing companies won’t be able to achieve this. You can add cup holders to your outdoor furniture to fit your kid’s arm length or dominant hand and even include a wide plate holder.
Customization also means adding little personalization details like engraving initials to make your future more unique. If you have trouble finding unique and vibrant styles, you will benefit from DIY furniture tutorials.
Save on costs
Sometimes, the goal of a DIY project is to save money. Buying outdoor furniture, especially high-quality customized pieces, can be expensive. If you already have the raw materials and expertise to build the furniture, it is financially practical to build the pieces.
Similarly, if you are refurbishing an old indoor piece, it is more affordable than buying a new piece. Since you will not be paying for labor, building the furniture yourself should be more affordable. It is an ideal choice if you are on a limited budget. But always do the cost analysis and ensure it will be less expensive than buying.
Adopting new skills
And lastly, DIY furniture jobs will teach you a thing or two about building things. It is always beneficial to adopt a new skill and perfect it. If you are good with your hands, you can learn new skills, and practice can turn them into a side career or hobby.
Similarly, if you are looking for ways to bond with a loved one, you can try furniture building. It could be a good bonding activity with the benefit of lovely furniture.
Benefits Of Working With Poly Lumber
Poly lumber is becoming a popular material among DIYers for multiple reasons, including:
Poly lumber is lightweight and thus easier to work with. Metal parts and wood can be bulky, especially if you want to create large furniture pieces such as a coffee table. However, since poly lumber is made from plastic, it is light and easier to move around as you work. This way, you will not give up on your project mid-way because the pieces become too heavy to move.
Resistant to water
Another major advantage of working with lumber is its water-resistance capabilities. The weather can be unpredictable. You could be expecting blue skies and sunshine only to halt your project due to sudden rainfall.
When this happens, and your poly lumber gets stuck in the rain, you do not need to worry because this material is resistant to moisture.
The problem of working with wood during such instances is that it soaks the moisture, triggering rot, mold growth, and worn fibers. It will also take some time to dry, so you cannot continue your project. Metal can be susceptible to rust and corrosion.
With poly lumber, you do not have these worries. Plus, it dries quickly, and you can be back on your project the same afternoon.
Save costs on paint
Poly lumber comes in various color choices, and the color runs through all the fibers of the lumber. Therefore, it is not a surface coat that will chip or wear with rain and sun exposure.
Manufacturers even add UV-inhibiting properties to further protect the lumber from fading under sun exposure. Therefore, you will save costs on painting and even spare yourself the job. And you will not have to wait for it to dry, so the furniture is usable.
Nails retain better
You will learn below that you need the same tools you would use to make wood furniture for poly lumber. This includes the nails and screws that join the pieces.
One of the notable advantages of poly lumber is that the nails retain better in poly lumber than traditional wood. This synthetic material is very strong; you can see it in how it retains nails and screws. Plus, there is less chance of cracking when tightening the nails.
What Poly Lumber Can I Use To Make Outdoor Furniture?
People use two main types of poly lumber to make outdoor furniture.
Wood Plastic Composite (WPC)
This lumber is a composite that consists of wood fiber and a thermoplastic or PVC. This combination aims to give the lumber a better structure by merging the pros of each material. WPC is therefore strong and hard, often appearing in decking and sometimes outdoor furniture. Besides this, WPC lumber is also an ideal fencing choice. Recycling this material can be difficult because of its composite nature.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
This is the most popular lumber for making outdoor furniture. HDPE is a type of strong and resistant plastic, which is why manufacturers use it to make containers and detergent bottles. HDPE is popular for its natural resistance to water, plus durability. It has a smooth and almost waxy feel and an orange-peel texture. The aesthetic is beloved by many DIYers.
How To Make Poly Outdoor Furniture
To make high-quality poly outdoor furniture, you must first find a tutorial for the type of item you want to make. Luckily, the internet contains helpful tutorials from reputable DIYers and handypersons. You can get a cut list for the lumber, plus the materials required to make the furniture.
However, there are a few things you can learn here about building outdoor poly furniture, specifically how to work with poly lumber. We have gathered the key pointers every DIYer needs, and we hope they will be helpful as you build the furniture.
How To Saw Poly Lumber
Sawing poly lumber is a lot like sawing wood. It is structurally sound and hard, so you do not have to worry about bending it as you stabilize it for a clean cut. You can use a regular hand-held saw to cut poly lumber or a power saw.
When using the hand-held saw, cut the lumber as you would wood. This means first marking the lumber and then holding one end onto a flat and even surface while the other end dangles to give you room for saw movements.
Apply pressure onto the end on the flat surface with your hand and knee to prevent it from moving as you cut. Bring the cut line closer to the edge, so your hands work in a natural position. Place the serrated edge of the saw at a 45-degree angle onto the cutting line, then move it back and forth.
Maintain this angle as you cut since it will ensure you get a straight cut without straining. Putting the saw in a laid position will force you to use more energy, plus you will not get the clean cut.
If you use a power saw, you must be quick and ensure the saw has sharp teeth. This is because if there is too much friction, the lumber can melt, creating uneven results.
Ensure you mark the cut line before putting the lumber in the power saw. Then pass it through the saw at speeds between 2000 and 4000 RPM to get a quick cut. If you notice too much friction with the blade, you can spray WD-40 on the blade, and the wood should pass through.
How To Drill Poly Lumber
When drilling through plastic lumber, you can use a hand-held drill. A three-mil hand drill is a good choice for making holes for adjoining screws and nails.
Ensure that you mark the drill point and always hold the opposite end of the lumber with your hand to stabilize it as you drill. A cordless drill is better than a high-speed drill because it reduces the melt-back of the poly lumber.
Similarly, ensure that you spring for the titanium-coated drill bits since they also manage melt-back. Keep the drill running at 400 to 900 RPM. Additionally, ensure the holes are at least 10mm from the edge of the profile.
Another important thing you take into account as you drill through poly lumber is expansion and contraction. The best way to work through this is by reaming as you drill.
You can easily accomplish reaming by wiggling the drill slightly from side to side as you create the hole. This motion will create a horizontal slot that will allow boards to move during expansion and contraction.
If you are using a large drill bit, ensure that you drill at a slower speed. High speeds will make the plastic melt resulting in an uneven and unsightly hole. Also, ensure that the brit is adequately sharp for a cleaner hole.
How To Screw Poly Lumber
You do not need to use any special type of screw when working with poly lumber. Passivated screws are a good choice because the electroplating treatment gives the screws better resistance against rust and corrosion. This is ideal for outdoor furniture.
For this process, you can use a standard drill, and we always recommend pre-drilling and a counter sink. Without pre-drilling and the counter sink, the crews will sit on the surface of the lumber leading to an unsightly mushroom look.
Additionally, the plastic can melt around the screw head as you drill, making it harder to remove. A screw mushrooming at the top of the lumber is also a disadvantage as cloth fibers can get caught in the screw during use, leading to tearing.
Therefore, start with pre-drilling the hole for the screw, then countersink the top. When pre-drilling, use a pilot hole one size down from the screw you choose. This way, the screw will hold better.
Now, you can drill the screw into the hole, which will hold firm while getting into the lumber for a cleaner appearance. Slower speeds are always better to prevent melt-back.
Safety Is The Priority
Remember to use safety gear as you build your outdoor furniture. Wear goggles, and use the appropriate equipment to make the furniture. And it is always advisable to work with someone to prevent injury and get the best results. Lastly, remember to follow instructions and research what you do not understand. You can find helpful tips on future building forums online.
And if the task proves challenging, get in touch with our design team for effective customized design execution. We are always looking to partner with retailers for the best wholesale prices on customized outdoor poly furniture.