A Buyer’s Guide for The Most Durable Outdoor Furniture
To keep your dream outdoor living space from turning into a maintenance nightmare, it pays to choose the most durable outdoor furniture. Paying attention to the furniture’s materials, build quality and upkeep considerations can save you time, money and headache.
Don’t let the daunting variety of materials available to consumers throw you off. Taking your budget, aesthetic aim and exposure to the elements into consideration, there’s a perfect match for your patio space waiting to be made. Let’s take a look at a some of the most durable materials for your future furniture:
Both lightweight and durable, aluminum is an attractive option for those who frequently rearrange or need to transport or store their patio furniture in the offseason. Aluminum can be coated to be more weather resistant, scratch-proof and protected against rust. The featherweight material might not be the option in areas that frequently experience high wind gusts, where you’ll need to take precautions to secure the furniture during storms. Quality of construction can also be a concern as some manufacturers are more reputable than others. Price: $
If you want the no-holds-barred, set-it-and-forget-it durability king, concrete is your choice. Since you won’t be rearranging or hauling your concrete tables or benches indoors during the winter, picking concrete requires plenty of foresight and careful planning. While it may sound un-sexy, modern designs and styling put a contemporary spin on the ancient material. Easily able to withstand the harshest weather you can throw at it, the unmatched durability comes with a high installation cost. The higher upfront cost translates into savings down the road, however, as concrete requires little maintenance. Price: $$$
Wrought iron offers a distinguished, historical aesthetic combined with a durable heft. If you want something with a higher durability than aluminum and don’t mind the extra weight, iron might be your material. Price: $$
The idea of plastic furniture might conjure childhood memories of flimsy chairs and questionable construction, but newer, high-density plastic and composite furniture resent the comparison. Polyethylene, recycled or not, can actually be very durable and requires next to no maintenance. While there are still quality issues among the cheaper brands, high-end plastic furniture can be weather resistant, easy to move due to its lightweight and can be treated with special pigments to minimize color fade. Price: $
Another heavier material, stainless steel is strong, durable and unlikely to blow away in a storm. Many customers appreciate how the material matches other outdoor appliances, such as grills, refrigerators, and countertops. Rust and stain resistance allows you to keep the furniture in the elements year-round without worry. Price: $$
If you’re looking for a fabric for outdoor upholstery, Sunbrella offers the fade-resistance and durability you need. Available in a variety of colors and prints, the UV-stable pigments in Sunbrella will easily outlast the thinner applications you find in other fabrics. Price: $$
Wicker furniture has been around for millennia, but modern manufacturing methods allow the material to withstand rain, moisture, and direct sunlight. If you love wicker’s rustic appearance but are concerned about its durability, worry not! The vast majority of modern wicker furniture is suited to outdoor use and won’t break the bank, either.. Price: $
While most people don’t think of wood furniture as a durable option, teak is a surprisingly capable outdoor furniture material option. The dense hardwood historically used in shipbuilding possesses a high natural oil content that protects against warping, moisture, and cracking. Other wood options include cedar and eucalyptus, but be wary of pine or oak. Still, teak is our favorite choice due to its century-long durability rating and insect-resistance.
What about the cushions?
When considering different materials for your outdoor seating cushions, it’s important to select a durable, fade- and water-resistant fabric. Even if the cushions are covered under an awning or other shelters, you still need to be aware of wind, humidity, sunlight and other elements that can turn your comfortable seat into a mildewed, brittle mess. Don’t forget that the internal material can be just as important as the outer material, too.
Canvas is one of the most common options… The woven fabric is generally made of cotton today. Cotton canvas is durable, cheap and available in a number of colors and prints. You can get creative with a plain canvas material by dyeing it yourself to create a custom look. Duck cloth has a tighter, smoother weave than canvas, but is otherwise similar. Textilene is a coated, woven polyester that is waterproof, flame retardant and fade-resistant. Vinyl is tough, easy to maintain and clean and easy to clean and can be recycled.
You get what you pay for, and if you paid for glue-and-staple construction, the lifespan of your furniture will be limited. When possible, check to see if the furniture is built with pegs, screws or dowels. Salespeople should be able to answer most of your questions about the build quality, but online buyers might need to look carefully at reviews to avoid a regrettable purchase.
If you’ve invested your money in quality furniture, protect that investment by maintaining it! Properly taken care of, you can extend the life of your outdoor living space furniture by years. Be sure to:
- Store your furniture in a garage or other sheltered location during the offseason. If the furniture is immobile, you can still store your cushions indoors.
- Clean or wax furniture to prevent grimy buildup and mold.
- Buy protective coverings to protect against rain and sunlight.
- Clean cushions with a soapy solution and a sponge, rinse with your hose.
- Remove unsightly rust stains by sanding the area with fine sandpaper
Ready to Get Started?
Check out our free step-by-step guide to planning your outdoor entertainment area.Download Our Planning Guide