When selecting the right patio furniture set, the most important component to pay attention to is the material. Patio materials play a huge part in your set’s functionality, durability, and longevity. We’ve created a list of common patio materials used in outdoor furniture to guide you through the options available, bringing you one step closer to creating your personal outdoor oasis.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is an extremely lightweight, and durable material. Highly resistant to corrosion, rust, and changes in temperature, aluminum is the perfect material for patio furniture as it can withstand the elements. The lightness of the material also makes it easy to lift, rearrange, or move. Aluminum is a great material for outdoor dining chairs because the chairs can easily be moved in and out while guests are being seated. Aluminum patio sets are easily portable, and are perfect for seat that need to be rearranged or stored often.
- Wrought Iron: An ideal material for those who value handcrafted designs, the term “wrought” means that it was “worked by hand.” Though today some wrought iron is a combination of cast iron and “machine wrought” iron, many manufacturers are still producing products hand formed by skilled craftsmen. Wrought iron pieces are extremely durable, making them a great choice for windier areas, and commercial use. Historically wrought iron has been associated with rust, however, modern powder coating and galvanizing techniques have drastically reduced rust related issues. One of the strongest patio materials, it is also one of the heaviest. Avoid purchasing wrought iron for products like outdoor dining chairs that will be moved often.
- Stainless and Galvanized Steel: Steel patio sets are typically lighter and more comfortable than iron sets. Steel weighs less than iron, yet it is very durable and is perfect for high traffic areas and frequent use.Steel products are known for their durability and versatility. Stainless and galvanized steel are both extremely resistant to rust, just make sure when buying your patio set to check if the product is either stainless or powder-coated and that any hardware used is also rust-resistant.
- Wicker: Though natural wicker is generally not suitable for outdoor use because the material is biodegradable, there are many vinyl reproductions of the “wicker look” that are perfect for the outdoors. When used for woven and wicker designs, vinyl allows for a highly durable and weather resistant piece of furniture. Vinyl wicker resists fading, making the material an excellent choice for a patio set that will be sitting fully exposed to the elements. Another option to achieve the wicker affect is resin wicker furniture. Resin wicker has its base in natural materials, however those materials have been treated in such a way with various resins or polymers that the wicker behaves more like a synthetic wicker. Resin wicker furniture is an excellent choice for covered porches or screened in porches where the exposure to the elements is indirect. Resin wicker retains many of the aesthetic qualities of natural wicker, but with increased durability.
- MGP & Recycled Plastic: Marine Grade Polymer (MGP) is a specific form of plastic that’s often similar in density and performance to a natural wood, but without the disadvantages of rotting or splintering. MGP is immune to rusting, highly resistant to fading, and is extremely tolerant of temperature changes. This makes MGP an excellent outdoor material, especially for seating around the pool.Recycled Plastic products are very similar to MGP products but they have a slightly different feel. Recycled plastic pieces are very durable just like actual lumber, and provide the look of painted wood without the maintenance. Both MGP and recycled plastic pieces are heavy-duty, able to withstand nature’s elements.
- Natural Wood: One of the oldest patio materials, wood furniture is loved for its country charm and known for its durability. Solid wood furniture will be comprised of multiple pieces of wood attached to each other, or possibly carved out of one large log for decorative pieces. Solid wood pieces can be re-stained, or re-painted as well as repaired if the need arises. Wood patio furniture is sturdy, non-heat-absorbing, and long-lasting if well cared for.