Outdoor furniture makes spending time outdoors more enjoyable. While outdoor furniture shares many of the same comfort and style characteristics as indoor furniture, outdoor furniture must be durable enough to withstand the outside elements. Torrential rains, strong winds, blazing sun, and freezing snow can all damage your furniture. Although there are no truly weatherproof outdoor furniture products, the materials used can make a big difference.
Deciding on outdoor furnishings depends on your lifestyle, budget, and location as well as an understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of the materials used in outdoor furniture. In this guide, we discuss the pros and cons of different outdoor furniture materials and how they hold up against the elements.
Outdoor furniture made from wood is popular for its strength and durability. It also offers several options for style, finish, and comfort. The natural oils found in the wood help make it resistant to weather, water, and rust. With regular maintenance and refinishing, wood furniture can last decades. The most durable wooden furniture is often constructed of hardwoods like teak, acacia, eucalyptus, and white oak.
Pros of wooden outdoor furniture:
- Resistant to weather, water, cracking, warping, and decay.
- Eucalyptus is eco-friendly, sustainable, and resistant to insects.
- Easy to maintain.
Cons of wooden outdoor furniture:
- Requires refinishing and maintenance every two years.
- Color can fade over time.
- Susceptible to insects.
- Can be expensive.
Thanks to its versatility, metal is another popular material used for outdoor furniture. Metal outdoor furniture comes in many forms, and designs can be molded into just about any shape. Depending on the type of metal used, the furniture may be heavy or lightweight, hollow or solid, painted or powder-coated. Metal outdoor furniture is commonly made from wrought aluminum, cast aluminum, stainless steel, and wrought iron.
Pros of metal outdoor furniture:
- Resistant to the wind.
- Easy to maintain.
- More design and style options are available.
Cons of metal outdoor furniture:
- Prone to rust and corrosion.
- Retains heat and cold.
- Can be heavy, if made from wrought iron or stainless steel.
- Might require cushions or other pads for comfort.
Resins and Plastics
Resins and plastics create low-maintenance, affordable, and lightweight outdoor furniture. Resin furniture, especially that made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), is a good option for those interested in the wicker or rattan style without the cost and long-term maintenance. Plastics are increasingly used for colorful and intricate pieces and in locations with high humidity and salt water.
Pros of resins and plastics:
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Lightweight and easy to store.
- Weather- and fade-resistant.
Cons of resins and plastics:
- Too lightweight for windy locations.
- Lower-quality resins are likely to crack, unravel, or become brittle.
Outdoor furniture materials aren’t limited to wood, resins, plastics, or metals. Depending on your aesthetic, lifestyle, budget, and location, furniture can be made with a combination of the four — or a completely different material. These other materials include composite, concrete, high-pressure laminate (HPL), and tempered glass. Furniture manufacturers incorporate these materials to add durability, improve design capabilities, and enhance resistance to weather.
Pros of other materials:
- Last longer than resin and natural wood.
- All weather-resistant, waterproof, and rust-proof.
- Low maintenance.
- More contemporary and modern look.
- Can be used with other materials like wood, resin, plastic, and metal.
Cons of other materials:
- Can be heavy and, in the case of concrete furniture, permanent.
- More expensive than other materials.
Fabrics and upholstery, like linen, polyester, cotton blends, acrylic, foam, and vinyl are used to make outdoor furniture, accessories, and home decor. Commonly used in pillows, cushions, hammocks, sun shades, and floor poufs, these products increase the comfort and style of your outdoor furniture.
Pros of fabrics:
- Weather- and fade-resistant.
- Easy to clean.
- Endless design and style options.
Cons of fabrics:
- Often not waterproof.
- Vulnerable to mold, moisture, and insects.
- More durable fabrics like acrylic and quick-dry foam can be expensive.
In a city as stylish and humid as Houston, your outdoor furniture should reflect your aesthetic and lifestyle and be able to endure the elements. We hope this guide helped you determine what type of material you want your outdoor furniture to be made of.
Are you in the market for new patio or outdoor furniture? Houston Home and Patio is the premier outdoor furniture store in Houston. We offer the largest selection of outdoor furniture in the Houston area. From patio furniture to home decor and furniture repairs, our experts are here to help. Contact us online today or call 281-440-7667.