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How to Choose the Best Material for Your Outdoor Furniture

Choosing the right material for your outdoor furniture can mean the difference between deterioration and durability. Here, we’ve laid out the most common material types found in outdoor furniture – and the benefits of each.

1.    Outdoor Teak Furniture. Because of its high durability, teak is one of the most popular wood types for outdoor furniture. Compared to other woods, teak is distinctive because it produces its own natural oils, making it resistant to mold, mildew and overall deterioration. Similar varieties of hardwood include acacia and oak.

2.    Outdoor Resin Wicker Furniture. Similar in appearance to rattan, resin wicker is a synthetic fiber designed specifically for use in the outdoors. Offering a natural look and feel – and little need for maintenance – resin wicker furniture is the perfect choice for creating a breezy patio or backyard ambience.

outdoor furniture material

3.    Outdoor Plastic Furniture. The sleek texture of plastic is highly sought-after for its incredible stain-, fade- and mildew-resistant properties. Plus, because it is easy to produce, plastic – along with eco-friendly recycled plastic – is also one of the most affordable options for outdoor furniture.

4.    Outdoor Iron Furniture. Heavy, long-lasting and vintage-chic, iron furniture offers a versatile, classic elegance that goes with every style. Perhaps its only downside is its susceptibility to rust – but even that can be prevented with protective coatings and routine furniture maintenance!

5.    Outdoor Aluminum Furniture. Aluminum offers the same durability, longevity and vintage-inspired aesthetic as iron, but for a fraction of the price. Because it is so light, though, aluminum furniture is often recommended in areas with little to no winds – especially if the piece is made entirely from 100% aluminum.

Best Material for Fighting Mildew

 Many woods and fabrics are porous, meaning that once moisture is absorbed into them, it’s hard to get out. When left outdoors for a while, these wood types become susceptible to mildew and mold.

 Instead of taking a risk, worrying whether or not your outdoor furniture will harbor moisture and become a factory for mildew, opt for coated metal designs – which are not porous in the least, and from which water will literally bounce off.

 If you have your heart set on wood, though, go for teak, acacia and pine, which, as mentioned above, are more mildew-resistant thanks to their natural oil-production and low porosity.

 In terms of fabric, most upholstery designed for the outdoors will feature woven polyester coated with PVC. This is also known as textilene fabric, and is water-resistant by design. Other types that stand well to moisture include cotton canvas, olefin and vinyl.  

Choose one of these fabric options, and you’re good-to-go when it comes to mildew-resistance. But remember: many designs within the outdoor furniture industry are only -resistant and not -proof. To up your insurance, keep patio furniture covers on hand, and whip them out when the weather starts to humidify – or rain is on the way.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.