Furniture is an integral part of an outdoor setting, from your patio, balcony, poolside, to anywhere in your backyard. The right kind of furniture can improve the way a specific outdoor setting looks and feels.
Speaking of the right type of furniture, the question is, what’s best? How could you determine if a certain piece or set of furniture is suitable for your outdoors? I wrote this article to talk about what outdoor furniture lasts the longest, and below I add 9 long-lasting furniture materials which your outdoor furniture should be made out of.
But what furniture lasts the longest?
Wrought Iron furniture is the longest-lasting outdoor furniture, it must be properly cared for to ensure its longevity. Maintenance including regular cleaning will help prevent rust and corrosion, but at some point, you may need to buff and apply wax.
However, that’s not to say that other outdoor furniture doesn’t last long. With newer recycled plastics, protected wood, and many new furniture designs coming out every few years, other options are still available.
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Material Considerations before buying outdoor furniture?
Think about a time you went shopping for outdoor furniture, even if it was something small. If you found a table or couch that caught your eye, there might have been a couple of things you would have considered as you took a closer look at it. One of the first things you would consider is the material the furniture is made from. It’s the key thing, and if you think it isn’t suitable, it wouldn’t make sense looking any further, right?
The material can tell you how long the furniture is likely to last, how easy or difficult it can be when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, and how safe it is for your particular setting. When it comes to design and style, again, the range of choices available depends on the material it’s made from. Some material is versatile and can be easily molded into beautiful designs, while others may not have this feature.
Overall, focusing on the material is very important and these 4 material considerations are something you must keep in mind. Think about the location where the furniture will be, its overall quality, how difficult it is to maintain, and finally what will it cost you?
Where You Live Matters
To determine if a particular material is suitable for your outdoor area, you first need to think about your location.
The location of your residence plays a major role. Do you live where it rains a lot or is it always dry? Are the temperatures consistent or constantly changing? Do you live beside the ocean? Is it windy where you?
If you live in a location where it rains a lot take a look at our article on what is best outdoor furniture for rainy weather. Or if you live in a desert-like climate check out the best outdoor furniture for full sun.
These factors are very important when buying outdoor furniture because they will determine what type of furniture will last best in your area.
Location may also refer to the specific area of your outdoor space. Think about a poolside for instance. This, in most cases at least, is likely to be completely exposed to sun and rain directly, and let’s not forget the pool chemicals. In this case, you might want to opt for the strongest and most durable material for your furniture, so it can last through all the exposure.
While style and design are important elements to look for in your furniture, you would want to prioritize durability and leave the rest of the criteria as secondary. But don’t worry you can find lots of stylish high-quality furniture online (check out some of our articles), and if there is anything you are looking for specifically ask me in the comments below!
Similarly, your outdoor spaces might be protected by pergolas, blinds, and other types of shade. If this is the case, you needn’t overly stress about your furniture being super durable even though it is still highly recommended.
Quality and Durability
As mentioned previously, quality and durability are the topmost requirements where outdoor furniture is concerned. The furniture is going to be more exposed to various environmental conditions unlike pieces used indoors, so, you don’t want to compromise on durability and quality if you want your outdoor furniture to last long.
You can check out our guide of the 10 Most Durable Outdoor Furniture Materials to see what outdoor furniture is most durable.
Strong material with special properties is likely to last longer, as well as maintaining its initial quality for years. If your outdoor area is subjected to bad weather, you might want to opt for the best in terms of quality, durability, and resistance levels.
Sometimes, the weather may not be the only reason why you need strong furniture. Think about your family and lifestyle. You may have big families with kids and teenagers, even pets that occupy every corner of your house. Kids aren’t always easy to control and can be destructive.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that your teenage kids bring over their friends and spend time partying or chilling outdoors. In these cases, you will need to make sure you’ve got strong furniture to withstand wear and tear.
The maintenance aspect is quite a crucial one, too. For one, It’s important to think about how easy it’s going to be to maintain the furniture. Once again, this depends on what material the furniture is made from. Material like wrought iron and aluminum, for instance, are easy to maintain and take care of, which also means they’re likely to last longer. Some material, however, might require a little work where maintenance is concerned.
How frequently maintenance is required is another important concern. It might seem impractical if you have to be cleaning and scrubbing your furniture frequently to maintain its appearance and quality. This isn’t always possible, and when not done correctly, it’s less likely to last long and look good. That’s why opting for super-strong, high resistance, and low maintenance material might be just the right thing for outdoors.
Maintenance needs to be less costly, too. Some furniture, or material for that matter, is easy to clean only when you have certain specific tools and products, instead of regular soap and water. Sometimes, these tools can be quite costly, and may not be practical when you think about long term maintenance. On the other hand, there are cases where you may need to take your furniture to specific services or have professionals come over to your place to have your furniture cleaned. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if you could do it occasionally, but if not, it may be a little too costly over and over.
It’s important to be clear about your budget when you want to purchase furniture. One thing you must keep in mind is that the cost of furniture does not apply to purchase alone. It’s not just the one time cost that counts, but also maintenance, as mentioned above.
If you look at the options for outdoor furniture, you will see that some material may be a little higher price to purchase, but are highly durable and low maintenance, which means you won’t need to bear major costs for a lifetime. However, in other cases, you will find that even though the furniture is less costly to buy, you may have to deal with maintenance and damage repair more often than you should. Thus, you must have enough insight to decide which would be the most practical, and of course, pocket-friendly option for your specific outdoor area.
9 Long-Lasting Outdoor Furniture Materials
After reading about the most important considerations when buying outdoor furniture, let’s get into the list of 9 long-lasting outdoor furniture materials.
- Wrought Iron
- Cast Aluminum
- Teak Wood
- Extruded Aluminum
- All-Weather Wicker
- Shorea Wood
- Cast Iron
1. Wrought Iron
If you want to create a classic, elegant look for your outdoor area such as the patio, opt for wrought iron furniture. This is the go-to type when it comes to adding subtle charm to your area.
Wrought iron furniture is metal furniture that is carved, molded, and styled by heating. Metals are long-lasting, durable, and most importantly, weather-resistant. They are considerably heavy and sturdy too. This type is easy to clean and maintain, which is a huge plus where outdoors are concerned.
Lastly, they are incredibly stylish, with a range of designs and colors available in the market. Wrought iron furniture is versatile in terms of appearance, and can suit any outdoor setting. Thus, it is one of the most preferred options, not only because of appearance but because they are great for outdoor environments in every way!
When wondering what outdoor furniture lasts longest people probably wouldn’t think of plastic. However, they can be quite the competitor nowadays.
Certain plastics such as Polyethylene and Polypropylene are used to make colorful and attractive furniture. Some of them may be quite durable and long-lasting. Many pieces of outdoor furniture today are made of high-quality recycled plastics, one of the most popular ones known is called POLYWOOD.
POLYWOOD is made from recycled plastic called HDPE, meaning high-density polyethylene. But most importantly they include UV-inhibitors which help protect against the sun.
Some plastic furniture is very junk and is not as high quality or resistant as other options. When buying plastic stay away from the cheap stuff, ordinary cheap plastics will crack and fade quickly. These plastics are not long-lasting outdoor options.
3. Cast Aluminum
Being a metal, this again is a great option when it comes to outdoor furniture. Cast aluminum is resistant to rust, is very durable, and easy to clean and maintain. This furniture is sturdy, and at the same time, light enough to move about as you like.
Your furniture and décor in the outdoors aren’t supposed to have fixed arrangements. Instead, you need to move them around to suit the occasion and circumstance. There are also times when you’d need to get rid of your furniture temporarily and have them kept indoors until you can take them out again. When you think of such a situation, you might find cast aluminum convenient. I know from living in Canada during the winter it is highly recommended that you store outdoor furniture in the winter season.
Cast aluminum is also the top option when buying furniture for oceanfront homes!
4. Teak Wood
One of the best things about teak wood, according to homeowners, is its durability and quality. Teak has always been known for these properties, irrespective of the type of product. As a strong and durable wood, it becomes ideal for outdoor furniture manufacturing. Teak wood is not just durable and strong but is also easy to maintain and to preserve. This is why furniture made from teak remains in excellent condition for years and is ideal for outdoor environments.
5. Extruded Aluminum
More affordable than cast aluminum but not as durable, extruded aluminum is still a great option. The price is typically lower, but make sure what you are buying isn’t junk. When browsing extruded aluminum, the lighter the frame the worse the quality resulting in the likeliness to dent.
Constantly changing weather is always a worry. However, if you’ve got furniture and decor made from aluminum, you’d have fewer worries about too much rain or sunshine. Aluminum furniture is highly resistant to rust, which is great. If you live close to the beach or any place prone to weather issues, this might be just the right type for your outdoors. They are also lightweight and affordable, which makes it a practical choice altogether.
6. All-Weather Wicker
As the name suggests, this furniture is great in so many ways. Most people believe that wicker furniture is highly opted for because they are stylish, simple, and charming. Something about their appearance makes them just the perfect type for the outdoors. However, they are light and easy to move around too. They are also easy to clean and maintain, unlike many other materials. As far as costs are concerned, these may be one of the most affordable pieces that come with many great properties.
7. Shorea Wood
Shorea is a dense type of wood. What makes it special is that it’s naturally resistant to pests, water decay, as well as damage from mold and fungus. It is one of the longest-lasting woods where furniture is concerned, which is why you can find plenty of outdoor furniture made from it. They usually have a gorgeous appearance, but require careful maintenance if you want its glowing color to last. Shorea wood is also a relatively affordable option.
8. Cast Iron
Just like other metal furniture, cast iron is resistant to corrosion and rust. These are two important properties where outdoor furniture is concerned. They are easy to maintain too and can be found in unique designs and patterns because iron is versatile. They may be slightly heavy compared to some, otherwise, they are ideal for patios and open spaces.
Glass is often used as a top for tables or coffee tables. People pick this option when they are more focused on the appearance of the piece. Glass adds a natural touch of class and luxury, and might make the place look more spacious, as well. The weight of the furniture would depend on the thickness of the glass used.
When buying glass furniture make sure any other materials used are also of high-quality. Do not buy cheap steel with a glass insert to only have it rust the following year.
Glass outdoor furniture can be custom made and when properly cared for can last a significant amount of time. However, glass needs cleaning to keep its appearance best.
I hope this article helped with finding a solution for what outdoor furniture lasts longest.
As you can see, picking out appropriate furniture, and making the right choice involves quite a bit of consideration. The bottom line, however, is that you should focus on your specific outdoor setting, particularly the physical aspects. This should give you a clear idea about factors such as maintenance, convenience, and help you decide what type of furniture is most suitable for your outdoor area.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.