What Is The Best Material For Outdoor Furniture?
When end consumers consider outdoor furniture, they think about all the characteristics they already value in their indoor sets. They will look for durability, beauty, resistance, comfort, and style.
However, as they think about these characteristics, they also consider the many threats outdoor furniture could face. The weather outside can be unforgiving, plus there is the threat of insect and animal damage.
Therefore, end consumers will go to retailers looking for outdoor furniture materials to withstand these threats. Before you decide what options you’re going to give them, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various materials. Thus, you can determine the best one.
The information below gives a detailed breakdown of these materials, their strengths, and their shortcomings.
Factors That Affect The Choice Of Outdoor Furniture Materials
End consumers have to think about moisture exposure because of rain, snow, and humidity. Moisture can adversely affect some materials and trigger other processes that further destroy the furniture.
For starters, moisture exposure will promote mold growth in some materials. Organic materials are susceptible to mold growth after moisture exposure and favorable temperatures. Mold weakens the materials by sourcing them for nutrients.
When the mold spores detach, they travel through the air and latch onto the respiratory system. This will cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Additionally, moisture can promote rot, which triggers biodegradation of the materials.
Moisture also affects metal susceptible to oxidation. Exposure to water and oxygen triggers oxidation, forming rust on the surfaces, which slowly weakens the metals. Salty air hastens the process, so people in coastal regions are more concerned about rust.
Sun exposure seems harmless at first, but end consumers have realized that they need furniture that can withstand harsh UV rays and increased temperatures. Plus, the fluctuations from heat to cold affect some materials.
Consistent sun exposure first triggers fading as some materials lose their luster. This change is aesthetically unpleasing as the furniture has less vibrancy or irregular spotting.
Some materials are also susceptible to differences in temperatures. They expand due to sun exposure then contract unevenly when temperatures drop. This triggers cracking, splitting, and warping.
Similarly, some materials retain a lot of heat when left in the sun. This makes them unsafe for use.
Extreme wind can, unfortunately, carry outdoor furniture. And if not, it can make the tip of the item over, and they can sustain damage due to the impact. Therefore, end consumers who live in areas with a lot of wind will need heavy furniture that does not easily bow to passing and consistent winds.
Moving away from the effects of the weather, price is a significant influence on how end consumers pick outdoor furniture. They want to stay within the budget and gain the long-run benefits of value over price.
Different furniture materials have varying prices rooted in the manufacturing process, raw materials acquisition, and even durability. End consumers also consider how expensive or affordable it will be to maintain the material.
You should be able to provide options for various budgets. But the ultimate goal is an affordable choice that does not cost much to maintain and will go years without needing replacements.
Care and Maintenance
End consumers do not want to spend their weekends cleaning, vanishing, and maintaining their outdoor furniture. Most people want to have it effortless to keep outdoor furniture in the best condition.
Different materials have various maintenance and care demands. You need to provide multiple options and outline the maintenance and care demands. Wood, for example, demands a little more to keep it moisture-free.
Other materials are almost effortless to maintain, such as plastic. Providing options and information ensures you serve the needs of various end consumers.
Some outdoor materials can last years while others need replacing and repairs after every season. Usage also affects how outdoor furniture materials age. Therefore, end consumers put this into consideration before settling for one material.
Most outdoor furniture materials are durable, and some consumers don’t mind replacing them every season. However, it is always best to provide the most durable material option because this is a financially practical choice.
And finally, the need for eco-friendly products is steadily becoming a determining factor for how end consumers pick outdoor furniture. Most people prefer to be ecologically responsible and look for materials that are good for the environment.
Therefore, as you offer various types of outdoor furniture, ensure that you outline the eco-friendliness of each material to serve end consumers better.
So now that you understand some of the consumers’ considerations when selecting good outdoor furniture, you can go through the following guide, comparing the most popular materials for outdoor furniture.
Outdoor Furniture Material Comparison
Wood has been a popular material for all types of furniture for years. Natural beauty is what draws consumers in. Additionally, manufacturers love it because it is easy to work with. It can create benches, chairs, and frameworks for outdoor furniture.
There are many types of woods manufacturers use to make high-quality outdoor furniture. Softwoods such as pine and cedar are suitable, but they will not withstand the weather. Hardwoods are heartier and resistant to damage. With proper maintenance, they can last years. The following are some of the hardwoods used in outdoor furniture.
Experts consider teak the best wood for outdoor furniture. It has all-weather strength and a beautiful finish that gives outdoor furniture a desirable luster. Teak repels water and does not expand and contract while drying. Its high oil content makes it resistant to mold growth and insect damage. This makes teak a very durable option for outdoor furniture that is also easy to maintain. But because of its beautiful features, teak furniture is often pricier.
This is a solid and fast-growing hardwood, making it an ideal option for outdoor furniture. When manufacturers use eucalyptus to create furniture, it maintains a whitewash look which many end consumers find attractive. It has good oil content that makes it resistant to weather and insect damage. However, it will require a sealant for maintenance; otherwise, it will crack. But it is an excellent affordable option.
This strong and readily available wood creates durable furniture, ideal for outdoor use. Manufacturers initially used it to build boats, proving its natural resistance to moisture, rot, and mold. But it does not have a lot of natural oil and will require a sealant to retain its durability. But it has an attractive patina even as it ages.
Ironwood or ipe is native to central and South America, notable through its deep rich colored grain. End consumers love it because it retains this grain even with aging. It has high oil content that adequately repels moisture and insects. However, this wood requires a lot of preparation to create furniture; hence many manufacturers avoid it. So if you find ironwood furniture, you have a durable gem.
And finally, this is a stronger and heavier wood than teak, with a unique property that makes it stronger with exposure to heat. It has a high oil content that repels moisture and insects. Plus, it has a beautiful aging patina and is very affordable. Unfortunately, harvesting this wood is regulated, so few retailers sell Shorea furniture.
Plastic And Resin
Technological advancements ensure that manufacturers never run out of ideas. And these advancements have encouraged manufacturers to mold plastic and other synthetic materials into functional and durable furniture.
More manufacturers are producing plastic and resin outdoor furniture after realizing the properties that make these materials durable and highly resistant to weather and other outdoor threats. The most popular choice for this category is HDPE (High-density polyethylene) furniture.
HDPE is a high-quality and resistant type of plastic. It is primarily used in manufacturing food containers, detergent and chemical bottles, and other products that require heavy and resistant plastic.
Manufacturers love HDPE because it is easy to create and mold into various shapes. Those who produce HDPE furniture have an easy time making the lumber, then cutting and shaping it into multiple forms.
One of the best features of HDPE furniture is eco-friendliness. The material is 100% recyclable, and you can recycle it endlessly. It is why many manufacturers skip the raw material-making process and instead make poly furniture from recycled HDPE.
Resistance to moisture and sun exposure
On top of that, end consumers love HDPE furniture because of its resistance to moisture and sun exposure. This material does not rot, support mold growth, nor expand and contract to temperature fluctuations.
Easy to care for and maintenance
HDPE furniture also wins in care and maintenance. It requires simple washing with soap and water; no special treatment or oils are needed to retain the luster. And it is a pretty affordable option for consumers who want a long-lasting set.
HDPE comes in many colors, winning favor in choice and meshing themes. And manufacturers can give the material a unique finish to look like wood or other materials. It also shines in heat and impacts endurance and resistance to corrosion.
Manufacturers can make this outdoor furniture with metal frames to keep them grounded against the wind. But even without the framework, HDPE furniture can be pretty solid, easily resisting solid winds.
The only shortcoming of HDPE furniture is the mentality of a cheaper feel for a new price. Some end consumers are not comfortable paying the total cost for recycled plastic. Thus they may avoid this option.
Metal has been an outdoor furniture material for a long time. Most people love it because it is strong, durable, and some are even resistant to corrosion. Manufacturers can easily shape metal into thinner or thicker shapes. They also combine them with other materials to create durable furniture. Retailers can get metal furniture made from:
This material has been making outdoor furniture for a long time. This is because it offers unmatched strength and durability. Manufacturers love it because it is easily malleable when heated thus can create various shapes and designs. Wrought iron furniture is strong, stylish, and heavy enough to resist strong winds. Unfortunately, it can rust easily under neglect and retain heat or cold.
Stainless steel has a lot of carbon content that helps the metal resist corrosion. It is the strongest metal, and its resistance to rust makes it the best for outdoor furniture. It can endure temperatures better than other metals, and consumers love it for its sleek and classy finish. Stainless steel doesn’t need a lot of maintenance as it is relatively easy to clean, and consumers only need to apply a powder coat every once in a while. This material also makes heavy furniture that can resist strong winds. It is also the most expensive but worth every penny.
Aluminum is surprisingly the most popular metal for outdoor furniture. Manufacturers love it because it is easy to work into various shapes. End consumers like outdoor aluminum furniture because it is affordable, demands low maintenance, and is adequately resistant to the weather. Most aluminum requires a polyester powder coating to keep it resistant to rust. Unfortunately, it is not as heavy and can easily tip over. But it also makes it easy to move the furniture items. The only real problem is heat retention.
So What Is The Best Outdoor Furniture Material?
So there you have it. A deep dive into the woods, metal, and plastic materials that make the best outdoor furniture. Each with notable strengths and some with deal-breaking weaknesses. So which is the best outdoor furniture material?
We and other experts concur that HDPE plastic furniture is the best outdoor furniture. This furniture material checks all the boxes for manufacturers and end consumers. It is easy to mold into different shapes, and the material is readily available through recycling or manufacture.
HDPE comes in multiple colors, best servicing consumer needs. It is also highly resistant to the weather and requires little maintenance. Additionally, it is affordable and an ideal option for all types of weather.
We make high-quality HDPE furniture ideal for all weather. Through our careful craftsmanship, you can become a trusted supplier of HDPE furniture. Give us a call today!