Outdoor Furniture Material Comparison Guide

When end consumers consider buying outdoor furniture, the furniture’s material will likely come up as a consideration. After all, end consumers look for value and longevity for their outdoor furniture. Nobody wants to replace their furniture too soon.

Luckily, manufacturers use many materials to make outdoor furniture, from metals to plastic and classic wood. However, end consumers need to pick a suitable material based on many factors.

Outdoor furniture must endure sun exposure, rain, and other environmental factors. Therefore, picking the right materials is very important. So which is the best material for outdoor or patio furniture?

The information below gives a detailed guide on all the common materials used to make outdoor furniture. It outlines the benefits and shortcomings of all the materials. But first, look at some of the factors to consider for outdoor furniture materials.

Factors To Consider For Outdoor Furniture Materials

Several factors directly affect outdoor furniture materials. These factors are what many end consumers consider when picking outdoor furniture. They include:

1.Moisture

One of the things that affect outdoor furniture is moisture. At some point, outdoor furniture will receive exposure to moisture. It could be from the rain, sprinklers in the yard, snow, and even high humidity. Standing water is also a source. Continued exposure to moisture plus water retention can affect outdoor furniture in three main ways.

Mold and rot

Humidity or moist conditions create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. Organic materials that retain water are more likely to grow mold and mildew. The mold uses organic materials as food sources making it weak and susceptible to breaking. Mold also gives the material an unsightly appearance. Moisture retention can also encourage rot. Rot encourages biodegradation of the materials leading to breaking.

Corrosion

Materials with a metal base can sustain corrosion after consistent exposure to moisture. Water and oxygen react in an oxidative process that slowly weakens the metal. This creates visible rust that discolors the material. And if there is salt in the air, the process is quicker.

Warping

Materials that absorb moisture can also be unevenly dry, causing warping. The original shape twists and bows, loosening the fasteners that hold the parts together. Warping can also misalign seams.

Moisture exposure is unfortunately inevitable and has adverse effects.

2. Sun Exposure

When it’s not pouring, the sun is out, causing slow damage to outdoor furniture. It may be slow, but sun exposure significantly affects the furniture in the following ways:

Fading

Constant sun exposure has a bleaching effect on the furniture. The furniture will lose color and luster over time. The change in vibrancy or irregular spotting is not good for aesthetics.

Cracking

Materials expand when heated then contract upon cooling. They can crack and break during these changes because it weakens the materials. Sun exposure and dry air will have this effect on some outdoor furniture materials.

Heat

Some outdoor furniture materials also retain heat after long hours of sun exposure. This makes it uncomfortable to sit or lie on. Users can sustain burns making the furniture unsafe to touch.

Prolonged sun exposure may affect furniture slowly, but it is crucial to consider when selecting outdoor furniture. The furniture will be outdoors most of the time, so it is inevitable.

3. Wind and Hail

Areas with strong winds will affect the quality of the furniture over time. Strong winds would easily carry the furniture away if the material is too light. Or it could move a few spaces and damage something else on the property. If not, the winds can tip the furniture leading to damage.

Areas with hail storms will also affect the furniture. Hail storms can easily break or damage furniture. One hail storm could force users to replace a whole outdoor furniture set.

It is important to note that location is a significant determinant of weather. Some areas are more susceptible to high winds, temperatures, humidity, sun exposure, and rainfall. Therefore, many end consumers pick their outdoor furniture based on their location.

4. Durability

Some outdoor furniture materials can last years or even a lifetime and hold their form better, with consistent use and exposure to the elements. Others will need replacing or repairs every few months or after a bad storm.

Additionally, consumers will use some outdoor furniture pieces more than others exposing them to more wear. Therefore, some furniture will need replacing quicker than others. This should help in picking good outdoor furniture materials. The more frequent the use of the furniture, the more durable the materials should be.

5. Care

Different outdoor furniture materials require different care, maintenance, and cleaning levels. Some materials are more susceptible to dirt, requiring cleaning every week to prevent staining and loss of luster.

Other materials require medium attention. They need cleaning every few weeks. Others require minimal cleaning, such as once a month or less. Some materials require more attention during particular seasons, such as winter and summer.

Materials such as wood require regular cleaning, staining, and vanishing to keep it looking good. Some materials also need chemicals for cleaning and maintenance, while others only need soap and water.

Users may also have to invest in special cleaning and maintenance tools such as power washers to keep the materials looking good.

6. Eco-friendliness

Everyone from businesses to individuals is now more aware and active in environmental conservation. One of the ways manufacturers participate in environmental conservation is by putting out eco-friendly products.

Furniture manufacturers take steps to improve their production process by making it better for the environment. This produces eco-friendly furniture. They also monitor raw materials use by picking biodegradable or recycled items for furniture manufacture. With that in mind, different outdoor furniture materials vary in renewability and eco-friendliness.

7. Cost

And finally, the different furniture materials have varying prices depending on quality, manufacturing process, aesthetics, and durability. Some traditional outdoor furniture materials such as wood are more expensive, while others like poly lumber are more affordable. Some offer great value for money in the long run.

Outdoor Furniture Material Comparison

1. Wood

For years, wood has been a popular raw material for furniture, including outdoor furniture. It provides a sturdy framework for making furniture. And it is easy to work with. And with the many variations of wood, it is a likable choice for many.

Teak, Shorea, and Eucapltus are the most popular woods for outdoor furniture manufacture. Some of the benefits of wood as an outdoor furniture material are:

  • Aesthetics. Wood is popular because it presents a classy and timeless look. Many consumers choose wood for how well it looks in different settings. It is an ideal material choice for outdoor furniture because it blends well in natural settings.

  • Availability in variations. As mentioned, wood comes in variations, so manufacturers can choose which wood to work with based on available resources and needs. Similarly, consumers can pick wood to match a theme or different strengths.

  • Sustainability. Wood is biodegradable and renewable. It is, therefore, a sustainable, eco-friendly choice for outdoor furniture.

  • Heat. Wood does not retain heat and is, therefore, a durable choice for outdoor furniture. It does burn the user when exposed to high temperatures.

  • Corrosion resistance. And finally, wood does not undergo oxidation and is therefore highly resistant to rust and other types of corrosion. This is ideal for outdoor furniture.

Shortcomings

  • Susceptibility to mold and rot. When wood gets wet, it retains moisture making it more susceptible to mold, using organic material as a food source. Water also promotes the biodegradation of wood.
  • Insect damage. Insects can easily destroy wood by using it as a food and habitat source. Termites are notorious for destroying wooden furniture.
  • Weather damage. Sun exposure causes wood to lose luster and makes it more prone to breaking. Additionally, rain, snow, and high humidity promote water damage.
  • Regular maintenance. Wood also requires regular and extensive maintenance to keep it from damage.
  • Cost. And finally, wood is generally more expensive than most outdoor furniture materials.

regular maintenance

  • Staining. Wooden outdoor furniture needs regular staining to retain the pigment. It ensures that the furniture looks good as new.
  • Moisture sealing. Wooden furniture also needs moisture sealing. Since it’s outdoor furniture, it will require regular moisture sealing to prevent water from seeping in.

Experts also recommend insect repellent to prevent insect damage.

However, wood has some shortcomings, including:

  • Susceptibility to mold and rot. When wood gets wet, it retains moisture making it more susceptible to mold, using organic material as a food source. Water also promotes the biodegradation of wood.
  • Insect damage. Insects can easily destroy wood by using it as a food and habitat source. Termites are notorious for destroying wooden furniture.
  • Weather damage. Sun exposure causes wood to lose luster and makes it more prone to breaking. Additionally, rain, snow, and high humidity promote water damage.
  • Regular maintenance. Wood also requires regular and extensive maintenance to keep it from damage.
  • And finally, wood is generally more expensive than most outdoor furniture materials.

Wood needs regular maintenance such as:

  • Staining. Wooden outdoor furniture needs regular staining to retain the pigment. It ensures that the furniture looks good as new.
  • Moisture sealing. Wooden furniture also needs moisture sealing. Since it’s outdoor furniture, it will require regular moisture sealing to prevent water from seeping in.

Experts also recommend insect repellent to prevent insect damage.

2. Steel

Steel is a solid and heavy material ideal for making outdoor furniture. People like steel because it is strong and therefore ideal for bearing weight. Other benefits of steel include:

  • Durability. Steel is durable and robust. Steel outdoor furniture lasts longer than most without needing repairs and replacements.
  • Resistance to denting. Steel is quite strong, and it is therefore resistant to denting. Steel outdoor furniture is heavy and therefore also resistant to strong winds.
  • Value for money.Steel outdoor furniture is an excellent investment because it can last years without needing replacements.
  • Corrosion resistance. And finally, steel has a good finish that makes it resistant to corrosion.

Shortcomings of steel outdoor furniture are:

  • Heat retention.Steel absorbs and retains heat making outdoor furniture unsafe for users after sun exposure.
  • Cost. Steel furniture is also expensive upfront.

Caring for steel outdoor furniture calls for wiping off dirt with a damp cloth every once in a while. Users can use water and detergent to remove mud and stuck particles. Users can also apply liquid wax to protect the steel finish.

3.Poly Lumber

Poly lumber is made from recycled plastic bottles and containers. The shredded plastic undergoes a process to make it an ideal furniture-making material. Poly furniture is gaining popularity as a suitable replacement for wood and metal. Some of the advantages include:

  • Weather resistance. Poly furniture is resistant to many weather conditions. It does not absorb water from rain and snow. Additionally, it is heavy and therefore immune to harsh winds. Finally, it is resistant to fading and cracking due to sun exposure.
  • Durability. Poly lumber is long-lasting and robust. It is, therefore, an ideal long-term investment.
  • Corrosion resistance. Poly furniture also resists rust and other types of corrosion since it does not undergo the oxidative process.
  • Resistance to insect damage. Insects cannot penetrate poly lumber or use it as a food source.
  • Eco-friendly. Poly lumber is made from recycled plastic, an excellent environmentally-friendly option.
  • Maintenance. And finally, poly furniture does not require a lot of care.

Some of the challenges of poly furniture include:

  • Cost. Because of its production process, poly furniture is more expensive than other types of outdoor furniture.
  • Weight. Weight is a good characteristic because it makes it resistant to wind. However, if you constantly move the furniture (for example, to a display section every day), it can be a disadvantage.

However, if cost and weight are not significant problems for you, it is a smart investment.

4. Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is a popular outdoor furniture material that manufacturers use for durability and strength. Some of the other advantages of wrought iron outdoor furniture include:

  • Longevity. Manufacturers love wrought iron because iron furniture can last years with proper maintenance.
  • Resistance to strong winds. Wrought iron furniture is heavy and therefore resistant to strong winds.
  • Resistance to insect damage. Insects cannot bore wrought iron furniture.
  • Value for money. And finally, while wrought iron is expensive upfront, it will give you excellent value for money with proper maintenance.

But it also has multiple disadvantages such as:

  • Heat retention. Exposure to high temperatures leaves the furniture hot and unsafe to touch because iron retains heat.
  • Maintenance. And finally, wrought-iron requires a lot of care to keep it from rusting.

The Bottom Line

The above are the most popular outdoor furniture materials. As outlined, each has its advantages and shortcomings. One way to secure a good investment is by selecting a trustworthy manufacturer to supply you with high-quality outdoor furniture.

We are a trusted poly furniture manufacturer that serves retailers with:

Trust us for affordable poly furniture wholesale prices. Call for an effective and sustainable partnership today!

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