Erin Doman on May 16, 2016 0 Comments When the cold winds of winter have subsided and it’s finally time to enjoy your backyard again, you may be looking at purchasing outdoor furniture. But not all outdoor furniture is created equal, and depending on your environment, different materials may not work well in your backyard. Most outdoor furniture is made from one of the following seven materials, and included alongside is a short list of the pros and cons for each material: Materials Pros Cons Aluminum Affordable, durable, lightweight and low maintenance Can retain heat, easily blown over in high winds, can rust if not maintained Plastic, Polymer, and Resin Inexpensive, lightweight, low maintenance, many colors and styles to choose from Not as durable as other options, can fade and crack easily, not as sturdy Steel Long-lasting, sturdy, contemporary look Expensive, heavy, can become hot in the sun, vulnerable to rust Wicker/Rattan Aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, lightweight Can fade easily, not as durable as other materials, must be protected in winter Wood Durable, sturdy, pleasant to look at, natural style Vulnerable to weather, intensive upkeep, can be expensive Wrought Iron Aesthetically pleasing, durable, many styles available Expensive, heavy, susceptible to rust and corrosion, uncomfortable Cast Aluminum Inexpensive, durable, weather-resistant, rust-proof Uncomfortable in the heat, can blow away in heavy wind While each material has its own strengths, it also has its own weaknesses as well. You may need to weigh certain options against one another and compare the pros and cons in order to help you decide which material will work best for your home and your environment. If you are considering purchasing outdoor furniture for your backyard, here are 6 tips to choosing the best material for outdoor furniture. 1. Comfortable Outdoor Furniture If you want an outdoor space where you can relax and greet the morning with a cup of coffee or perhaps unwind after a long day, you’re going to want outdoor furniture that is actually comfortable to sit or lounge in. When it comes to comfort, certain materials are just more comfortable than others. Metal furniture, such as wrought iron, aluminum and cast aluminum, is not going to be all that comfortable on its own, and because it can heat up quickly in the sunshine, it may be too hot of an option for warmer, sunnier climates. Wood, on the other hand, can serve as a fairly comfortable seat with or without cushions, and wicker is also a fairly comfortable seating option for indoor as well as outdoor spaces. Many plastic, polymer, or resin outdoor furniture items are also good options when comfort is a deciding factor. More Comfortable Options Less Comfortable Options Wood, wicker, rattan, plastic, polymer, resin Wrought iron, aluminum, steel, cast aluminum 2. Consider Typical Weather Conditions Click Here to Shop for Outdoor Furniture Depending on your local climate, certain materials may be more susceptible to wear and tear than others. If you live in a rainy climate, wrought iron or steel outdoor furniture may not be the best option as it is vulnerable to rust if not protected properly. Wood furniture is also a difficult option in humid and wet environments, as the wood is vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot. For those in windy areas, you’ll need furniture that can withstand high winds from time to time, which is where aluminum and plastic furniture fall short. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the sunshine often, you’ll need outdoor furniture that can endure long days in the bright sun and resist cracking, fading, or warping due to heat. Incompatible with Rainy Weather Incompatible with Windy Weather Wood, steel, wrought iron, wicker, rattan Plastic, resin, wicker, rattan, aluminum 3. Remember Durability and Upkeep If you are willing to spend your hard-earned money on outdoor furniture, you are going to want that furniture to last. Some materials, woods such as teak, jarrah, and shorea, for example, can last for up to 50 years, but they do require some intensive upkeep. Other woods such as cedar and pressure treated pine are also durable, but they need to be treated, painted, or sealed and stored indoors during the winter in order to withstand harsh conditions. Materials such as wrought iron, steel, or aluminum can last for a long time as well, and they require little upkeep. Plastic resin requires little to no upkeep, but the durability in this material is sorely lacking, as plastic chairs tend to crack, fade, and weaken in spots quickly. Less Durable Options More Durable Options Wood, wicker, rattan, plastic, polymer, resin Wrought iron, aluminum, steel, cast aluminum 4. Stay on Budget While teak is often touted as the best wood material for outdoor furniture, it is also among the most expensive. Steel is a great option for heavy-duty patio furniture, but it also comes with a heavy-duty price tag. Plastic resin is a fairly inexpensive material, but plastic resin furniture is also known to be flimsy and not very durable. However, plastic, polymer, and resin furniture can be a good option for those who want outdoor furniture at a lower price point and are willing to replace it in a few years’ time. Cheaper Options More Expensive Options Plastic, resin Wood, steel, wrought iron 5. Aesthetics and Overall Visual Appeal Not only do you want your patio furniture to be comfortable, durable, and affordable, you also want a set that you enjoy looking at. The beauty of furniture such as wrought iron or teak is unmatched, and these materials can quickly elevate the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space. Steel and aluminum can bring a more modern and minimal style to your patio, whereas wicker or rattan furniture has more of a laid-back country feel. “Modern” Styles “Country” Styles Wrought iron, aluminum, steel, cast aluminum Rattan, wicker, wood 6. Convenience and Adaptability If you tend to rearrange your outdoor furniture frequently, or simply want the option in case of gatherings or other social events, you will also want to consider purchasing outdoor furniture that is easy to move and adjust, which is where heavy furniture such as stainless steel or wrought iron may be an issue. Wicker, aluminum, and plastic furniture are all fairly lightweight, easy for one person to move alone, and convenient to rearrange as often as needed. Lighter Outdoor Furniture Heavier Outdoor Furniture Wicker, rattan, plastic, polymer, resin, aluminum Wrought iron, steel, wood Make sure to weigh your options and learn all you can about the different outdoor furniture materials when you are shopping around for outdoor furniture. You should also carefully consider what outdoor furniture would work best for you, your climate, your outdoor space, and the way you will most likely use your furniture before you invest your money. Then, when you do pick out the perfect set, you will know that you have chosen outdoor furniture that will work with your lifestyle and that you can enjoy for years to come.