There is no better way to enjoy the glorious rays of sunshine than by lounging on good quality, comfortable outdoor furniture. But how do you choose the most durable, hard-wearing and long-lasting outdoor furniture? Is it wood, teak, wicker, or aluminium?
Here at VAVOOM we have created a simple guide to the most popular and long-lasting materials. Sit back and relax, and let us guide you.
Aluminium, or Aluminum as the Americans call it, is by far the most modern and popular contemporary patio furniture material (even resin wicker is typically woven over an aluminum frame). The reason for aluminium’s acclaim? It’s strong yet relatively lightweight, and unlike other metals, it just won’t rust.
The Nitty Gritty:
- Lightweight construction makes it easy to rearrange and store
- Resists rust and moisture damage better than other metals
- Powder coating offers added protection against the elements
- Tubular aluminum, made with cylindrical aluminum tubes, is the most lightweight option
- Cast and wrought aluminum are heavy enough to withstand wind and weather conditions but still manageable to rearrange and store
How to Love your Aluminium:
- Spray with clear water or a mild soapy mixture to remove dust and dirt
- Maintain the finish by touching up chips in the paint to avoid oxidation
Care Level: Minimal
The ultimate earthy and natural option, while plant material such as cane and rattan are the traditional materials used to make wicker furniture, the term “wicker” actually refers to the woven style in which the furniture is made, not the material used. Resin wicker is a longer-lasting, weather-resistant synthetic fiber weave wrapped over a metal frame.
- Lends a traditional, comforting, homely feel to your outdoor area
- Much more durable than traditional wicker material
- Made with thin strands of PVC, nylon, polyethylene, or high-density polyethylene
- Most high-end resin wicker is UV-resistant, so it won’t fade or crack
How to Love Synthetic Wicker:
- Remove pollen and dirt by spraying with water
- Let air dry
- If unsure about your furniture’s resistance to sunlight, keep in shaded area when not in use
Care Level: Minimal
The true embodiment of the great outdoors, wood is a timeless option for your outdoor space, from classic to modern it meets many style options. But not all woods are created equal, there’s one common benefit to all wooden patio furniture; and that is the ageless appeal of its natural beauty. Pine, cedar, or fir are softer woods with some degree of natural weather resistance; hardwoods such as teak boast exceptional durability and performance, but may come at a cost.
The Low Down:
- Creates an earthy, warm and natural atmosphere. Allows for a casual feel to any outdoor space that blends well with its natural surroundings
- Acacia and cedar offer some natural weather resistance at a great value
- Teak provides incomparable durability that will last a lifetime if cared for properly
How to Care for Your Wood:
- Always use coasters, pads or felt to avoid the appearance of moisture rings and heat marks
- Sealing with varnishes or stains can help prevent warping in humid climates
- If sealed wood, clean with a mild soapy water mixture to remove dirt, dust and pollen
- If painted wood, avoid exposure to moisture, clean with a damp cloth
- For untreated wood, keep out of rain and direct sunlight to preserve quality – clean with lightly damp cloth
Care Level: Medium
Recycled Plastic Outdoor Furniture
In both style and performance and styling, recycled plastic patio furniture ranks at or near the top. Recycled plastic is extraordinarily strong and durable. It’s resistant to moisture, rotting, and cracking and is impervious to salt water and stains. It also resists fading, because its color is intrinsic to the material. And best of all, most recycled plastic is made to resemble wood but requires none of the care wood does.
- Stands up to outdoor elements with no need for sealants and varnish
- Resistant to moisture – won’t produce mildew or rot
- Eco-friendly – many types made from plastic milk jugs and similar containers
How to Love your Recycled Plastic Furniture:
- Spray with clear water or a mild soapy mixture to remove dust, dirt and pollen
Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture
Wrought iron is prized for its distinctive appearance and wind-resistant sturdiness and strength. It’s heavier than aluminum, and in its natural state is more vulnerable to the elements. However, the best contemporary wrought iron furniture is specially treated with weather-resistant finishes that help seal out moisture and prevent rust.
- Heavy weight keeps it firmly in place with no threat of being blown over
- Provides long-lasting stability
- Now being powder coated to further protect from moisture
How to Love Wrought Iron Furniture:
- Clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust
- If you spot rust, clean with mild soapy water, sand the area, then seal with similarly colored paint
Lighter than wrought iron but heavier than aluminum, steel provides strength, stability, and endurance in extreme temperatures. Powder-coated finishes aid in rust resistance. Typically used for framing high-end modern chairs and bistro-style seats, steel is also often used for retro designs and zero-gravity loungers.
The Big Picture:
- Its hefty weight gives it a sturdy, long-lasting construction
- Will not dent as quickly as a lightweight aluminum
- Powder coating helps protect from moisture to prevent rust
- Classic look lends a clean, sophisticated look to your space
How to Care for Your Steel Furniture:
- Spray down frame with clear or soapy water to wash away dust and pollen
- Immediately treat chips in the finish to limit exposure to the elements
- Apply a clear coat of liquid car wax at least once a year to protect finish
Care Level: Medium
It all depends on how much care you want to put into the maintenance of your outdoor furniture. But if you're like us and like it simple we suggest aluminium all the way. But we still adore the wicker, wood and steel options.