Just because it rains all the time doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your backyard in those glorious moments of sunshine. And when you invest in the right patio furniture and treat it right, you won’t need to replace them every few years.
But what is the right patio furniture? In this guide, you’ll learn what frames, upholstery material, and foam to look for, how to protect your furniture and extend its life, the best furniture brands to look at, and more.
Outdoor furniture made of teak, shorea, aluminum, recycled plastic, or resin wicker stand up best against rain and coastal climates. You’ll extend the life of outdoor furniture by storing it inside, covering with weatherproof covers, or applying sealants.
- 1 What Type of Furniture Materials Are Best in Rainy Weather?
- 2 How Do You Protect Outdoor Furniture from Rain?
- 3 What Type of Outdoor Furniture Should I Not Use in Rainy Weather?
- 4 Best Outdoor Furniture Brands for Rainy Climates
- 5 Rain & Furniture FAQs
- 6 Final Thoughts
What Are The Challenges Of Rainy Weather?
Rain and humidity can cause these problems to outdoor furniture:
- Mold, mildew, and rot. Humid or wet conditions inevitably lead to mold, mildew, or even rot. The first two can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems (and aren’t too appealing to sit on), but you can clean them off. Rot damages the material, meaning you will have to replace it.
- Rust and corrosion. When metals containing iron are continually exposed to water and oxygen, they rust. Not only does rust look bad, but it weakens the metal. Salt in the air speeds up this process, so it’s particularly bad if you live near the coast.
- When water soaks through a material, the material can warp as it dries. This may be undetectable, or it can be very obvious. At worst, it loosens screws and other fasteners holding your furniture together.
What Type of Furniture Materials Are Best in Rainy Weather?
Best Frame Materials For Rainy Weather
Teak is a popular but expensive natural material. Because it’s so naturally strong, it doesn’t crack or warp. It’s high natural oil content makes it resistant to rot, decay, and insects. And it’s easy to care for. You can clean it with soap and water.
Shorea has all the pros of teak, but is much more affordable. It’s also eco-friendly, as harvesting shorea is highly regulated to ensure sustainability. The downside is that no one knows about it, so few furniture retailers stock it.
Aluminum is everywhere. It’s light-weight, inexpensive, and easy to work into different shapes. While aluminum furniture has some weather resistance on its own, a weather-resistant sealant or coating will help protect it from rain and salt, although you may still want to cover it for the winter.
However, when raindrops hit aluminum, it’s really noisy. Timpani-level noisy. If noise bothers you, go with a wood or resin set. If you have high or unpredictable winds, go with something else as strong wind can throw hollow aluminum frames into the next yard.
Recycled plastic is, as the name suggests, made of recycled plastic, like milk cartons and shampoo bottles. It’s strong, durable, and resistant to moisture, mildew, and saltwater. And it’s easy to clean off with soap and water. However, it may be too light to withstand high winds. You may hear it being termed HDPE lumber.
Resin wicker is a synthetic polyethylene fiber that’s woven around a metal frame to make wicker-style furniture. It’s UV-resistant and stands up to just about every weather you can throw at it. It’s a splendid choice for coastal climates but is too light to handle strong winds.
Invest in the more expensive high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which does not off-gas (release chemical gas in the air) and is UV-resistant. It’s also 100% recyclable. Not so with the lower-quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which will off-gas and will turn brittle and crack.
Best Upholstery Materials For Rainy Weather
Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that stands up to both weather and use. It’s mold and mildew resistant. Because manufacturers dye the threads before weaving them, they keep their colour longer. Its strong fibers resist damage. And acrylic is more breathable than other synthetic materials, so it’ll stay cooler in hot weather.
If acrylic is too expensive for you, look for Olefin fabric. Like acrylic, Olfefin is solution-dyed, durable, quick-drying, fade-resistant, and easy to clean. The downside is that it’s less soft than acrylic. Look for Etisilk’s Texsilk, which is certified safe by OEKO-TEX.
Best Foam for Rainy Weather
Open-cell foam is more expensive than other options, but you get what you pay for. This foam has pores that allow water and air to flow through, which means it dries faster and it’s cooler in hot weather. The foam contains an antimicrobial agent to protect it from mold and mildew. Urecel’s QuickDry Foam is a great open-cell foam brand.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Foam
PET foam has all the benefits you’re looking for. It’s durable, it doesn’t flatten or lose its shape, and it’s even recyclable. It dries quickly, so mildew and mold are not a problem. Dacron is a hypo-allergenic PET foam, although it can be costly.
How Do You Protect Outdoor Furniture from Rain?
Bring furniture inside — or at least the cushions
The easiest way to protect your outdoor furniture is to bring it inside. Yes, this won’t work if you’ve got a huge patio set or sectional, but if you’ve just got a couple of chairs or a bunch of cushions, bring them inside when not in use. If you want to use this method, at least in the off-season, choose items that you can stack, fold, or disassemble.
You can also pick up an outdoor storage container to keep cushions next to your outdoor furniture.
Cover furniture with waterproof covers
When you’re not using your furniture, protect it with a waterproof cover. Waterproof furniture covers are usually made of canvas, polyester, or vinyl, and if you can spend a bit more, you can pick up some relatively attractive ones. You don’t have to put it on after every use or for a light drizzle, but when you see days of rain in your future, it’s a good time to put them on.
Feel free to check out our top 10 furniture covers on our winter list, it will surely work great against the rain!
However, if you have high winds (or even an occasional wind storm), watch out. I had a furniture cover over my bistro set during a storm, and the wind picked the whole thing up and threw it across the balcony.
Apply sealants annually to weatherproof furniture
This option requires a bit more maintenance than the others, but if your dream is a beautiful patio with a beautiful patio set, then this extra step is well worth it.
For wood, rub in teak, linseed, or Tung oil. Neither of these will impact the color of your wood, and they’re a natural and eco-friendly choice. I also go into detail about how to protect wood for outdoor use here.
If you want to go for a synthetic sealant, look for a marine wood sealant. That will protect it from humidity, water, and UV rays.
If your metal outdoor furniture shows signs of rust, then sand off as much rust as you can and then apply a fish-oil-based primer. The primer will protect the metal from corrosion and make it paint-ready.
Build a roof or awning
If you have the yard space, consider building a gazebo or putting up a tent. I know, I know, half the appeal of patio furniture in a place that rains all the time is enjoying the sun during the brief glimpses you catch. But having a roof overhead will help protect your furniture the rest of the time, you can still get some sun when it’s not directly overhead — and you can even get more time outside when you don’t have to run for cover.
What Type of Outdoor Furniture Should I Not Use in Rainy Weather?
- Softwoods like pine. They may be cheaper than hardwoods, but they won’t last nearly so long. In severe rains, they may not even last a year. Softwoods are best kept inside.
- Natural wicker materials. They will biodegrade faster than you’d like. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a wicker style, though, if you go with a resin material.
- Low-grade metal. Stainless steel may cost more, but skimping on the quality of metal will come back to bite you as it’ll be much more likely to rust and corrode, especially if you’re in a coastal area with a lot of salt. If you need a budget-conscious metal, go with aluminum, preferably powder-coated for greater rust-resistance.
- Wrought iron. Wrought iron is a great choice for windy locations and will last a hundred years, but it requires a lot of maintenance to protect against rust.
- Organic materials for upholstery. Environmentally friendly, yes, but if they’re left in the rain, they will degrade quickly. Still, if you want organic materials like cotton over synthetics, bring them inside when not in use. You may need to replace them more often.
Best Outdoor Furniture Brands for Rainy Climates
Easily the best waterproof furniture on the market. They’re made of recycled HDPE plastic and powder-coated aluminum. Polywood furniture comes in two finishes, classic and vintage, and both have a variety of colors. They also have wicker-style furniture.
Keter is an affordable option with a lot of durable and weather-resistant resin products to offer for outdoor entertainment.
You can recycle their products, and their raw materials contain 41% recycled materials (they’re aiming for 80%).
GDF Studio has a wide variety of indoor and outdoor furniture to choose from, and you can filter by style and material. So whether you like teak or aluminum, modern or vintage, they’ve got something for you. They have some very classy aluminum sets.
Sunbrella makes the best upholstery fabric that stands up to rain, humidity, and sun, and will last a long time. That kind of quality comes with a hefty price tag ($50 for a cushion), but if you’re investing in a set for the long-term, they’re worth it. Because Sunbrella doesn’t sell themselves, you can either look for outdoor furniture that features Sunbrella fabric (and they will brag about it), or pick up replacement cushions separately.
Rain & Furniture FAQs
What Fabric is Best for Outdoor Furniture?
The best fabric for outdoor furniture is UV-resistant, dries quickly, and resists damage, mildew, and rot. Acrylic fabric is your best bet for all three.
If you’re aiming for sustainability, then buy the highest-quality, longest-lasting fabric you can, even if it’s synthetic. Something that will last you twenty years is more sustainable than something you have to replace every few years. You can still go with organic materials like cotton, but store them when not in use to keep them from fading or sitting wet.
Should I Cover My Furniture in The Rain?
Yes, cover your furniture in the rain. You can probably go without for light sprinkles, but if you have a day (and especially days) of rain, cover it up so it’ll last longer. Even the most rain-resistant furniture will last longer if it’s covered.
Do I Need to Put Away my Outdoor Cushions Whenever It Rains?
Your outdoor cushions will last longer if they’re protected from the rain. Whether that means covering your furniture, keeping them in a patio storage box, or bringing them inside between uses, is up to you.
Plus, this means that you don’t have to wait until everything dries to enjoy your deck again. Just whip out your dry cushions.
Picking the right outdoor furniture materials will help your patio furniture survive rainy and coastal climates. Investing in quality materials is pricey, but they will last you for decades. Cheaping out with low-quality materials just means you’ll be buying another set in a year or two. If your budget is restricted, knowing what materials work best will help you find the right budget-conscious furniture for you.
Combining the right materials with a little TLC of storing furniture in the off-season, bringing cushions inside, covering with weatherproof cover, and keeping furniture under a roof, will help keep your patio furniture looking its beautiful self.
Want to learn more about how to pick furniture that lasts the longest? We’ve got a guide for that.