The best outdoor furniture to leave outside is the one that can withstand the weather conditions, the sun exposure, and the wear and tear of daily use. Some of the factors that determine the durability and quality of outdoor furniture are the material, the design, the finish, and the maintenance. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular and reliable options for outdoor furniture that can last for years without losing their charm and functionality.
The material of the outdoor furniture is the most important factor that affects its longevity and performance. Different materials have different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to outdoor use. Here are some of the most common materials for outdoor furniture and their pros and cons:
- Wood: Wood is a natural and elegant material that can add warmth and character to any outdoor space. Wood is also strong and sturdy, and can support heavy weights and loads. However, wood is also susceptible to rotting, cracking, warping, and fading due to moisture, insects, and UV rays. To prevent these issues, wood furniture needs to be treated with sealants, stains, or paints, and cleaned regularly with mild soap and water. Some of the best types of wood for outdoor furniture are teak, cedar, eucalyptus, and acacia, as they have high resistance to decay and insects.
- Metal: Metal is a durable and versatile material that can create a modern and sleek look for outdoor furniture. Metal is also easy to clean and maintain, and can withstand high temperatures and humidity. However, metal is also prone to rusting, corroding, and denting due to exposure to water, salt, and oxygen. To prevent these issues, metal furniture needs to be coated with protective layers of paint, powder, or galvanization, and covered or stored indoors during harsh weather. Some of the best types of metal for outdoor furniture are aluminum, steel, and wrought iron, as they have high strength and stability.
- Plastic: Plastic is a cheap and lightweight material that can offer a variety of colors and styles for outdoor furniture. Plastic is also resistant to water, stains, and fading, and can be easily molded and shaped into different forms and designs. However, plastic is also vulnerable to cracking, breaking, and chipping due to low quality, extreme temperatures, and UV rays. To prevent these issues, plastic furniture needs to be made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), recycled plastic, or resin, and cleaned regularly with mild detergent and water. Some of the best types of plastic for outdoor furniture are polywood, trex, and rattan, as they have high durability and eco-friendliness.
The design of the outdoor furniture is another factor that affects its suitability and comfort for outdoor use. Different designs have different features and functions that can enhance or hinder the outdoor experience. Here are some of the most common designs for outdoor furniture and their pros and cons:
- Cushioned: Cushioned furniture is a comfortable and cozy option that can provide softness and support for outdoor seating. Cushioned furniture can also add color and texture to the outdoor space, and create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. However, cushioned furniture is also difficult to clean and maintain, and can harbor dirt, mold, and mildew due to moisture and spills. To prevent these issues, cushioned furniture needs to have removable and washable covers, and be made of water-resistant, fade-resistant, and mold-resistant fabrics, such as polyester, acrylic, or olefin.
- Foldable: Foldable furniture is a convenient and space-saving option that can allow for easy storage and transportation of outdoor furniture. Foldable furniture can also adapt to different needs and occasions, and create a flexible and versatile outdoor space. However, foldable furniture is also less stable and durable, and can collapse or break due to weak joints and hinges. To prevent these issues, foldable furniture needs to have sturdy and secure mechanisms, and be made of strong and lightweight materials, such as aluminum, steel, or wood.
- Sectional: Sectional furniture is a modular and customizable option that can create a personalized and stylish outdoor space. Sectional furniture can also accommodate different numbers and sizes of people, and create a spacious and comfortable outdoor seating. However, sectional furniture is also more expensive and bulky, and can take up more space and effort to set up and move. To prevent these issues, sectional furniture needs to have easy and flexible assembly, and be made of durable and weather-resistant materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic.
The finish of the outdoor furniture is the final factor that affects its appearance and protection for outdoor use. Different finishes have different effects and benefits that can enhance or diminish the outdoor furniture. Here are some of the most common finishes for outdoor furniture and their pros and cons:
- Paint: Paint is a colorful and decorative finish that can create a smooth and uniform look for outdoor furniture. Paint can also hide imperfections and flaws, and create a personal and unique outdoor space. However, paint is also susceptible to peeling, chipping, and fading due to weathering and abrasion. To prevent these issues, paint needs to be applied in multiple coats, and be made of acrylic, latex, or enamel, as they have high adhesion and resistance.
- Stain: Stain is a natural and rustic finish that can enhance the grain and texture of wood furniture. Stain can also preserve and protect the wood from moisture and insects, and create a warm and cozy outdoor space. However, stain is also vulnerable to fading and discoloring due to UV rays and oxidation. To prevent these issues, stain needs to be applied in thin coats, and be made of oil-based, water-based, or gel-based, as they have different levels of penetration and protection.
- Clear: Clear is a simple and elegant finish that can maintain the original look and feel of outdoor furniture. Clear can also seal and protect the furniture from water, stains, and scratches, and create a clean and sleek outdoor space. However, clear is also prone to cracking, yellowing, and clouding due to exposure and aging. To prevent these issues, clear needs to be applied in multiple coats, and be made of varnish, lacquer, or polyurethane, as they have different levels of gloss and durability.
The maintenance of the outdoor furniture is the ongoing factor that affects its performance and longevity for outdoor use. Different types of outdoor furniture require different levels and methods of care and cleaning to keep them in good shape and condition. Here are some of the general tips and recommendations for maintaining outdoor furniture:
- Clean regularly: Cleaning outdoor furniture regularly can prevent dirt, dust, and debris from accumulating and damaging the furniture. Cleaning can also remove stains, spills, and mildew that can affect the appearance and hygiene of the furniture. To clean outdoor furniture, use a soft cloth or brush, mild soap or detergent, and warm water, and rinse thoroughly with a hose or a bucket. Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasives, or pressure washers that can harm the furniture.
- Cover or store indoors: Covering or storing outdoor furniture indoors can protect it from harsh weather conditions, such as rain, snow, wind, and sun. Covering or storing can also prevent pests, animals, and thieves from accessing and harming the furniture. To cover or store outdoor furniture, use a waterproof, breathable, and fitted cover, and place it in a dry, cool, and shaded area. Avoid using plastic, vinyl, or tarp that can trap moisture and cause mold and mildew.
- Repair or replace: Repairing or replacing outdoor furniture can fix any damages or defects that can affect the safety and functionality of the furniture. Repairing or replacing can also restore the beauty and quality of the furniture. To repair or replace outdoor furniture, use the appropriate tools, materials, and methods, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warranty. Avoid DIY or cheap solutions that can worsen the problem or void the warranty.
The best outdoor furniture to leave outside is the one that can withstand the weather conditions, the sun exposure, and the wear and tear of daily use. The material, the design, the finish, and the maintenance are the factors that determine the durability and quality of outdoor furniture. By choosing the right options and following the proper care and cleaning, outdoor furniture can last for years without losing its charm and functionality.