Outside patio furniture is any furniture that we choose to use outside. It can include, but is not limited to chairs, tables, sets, rockers, swings, gliders, BBQs, umbrellas, chimeras, roman table, day beds, steamers or sun loungers.
Most outdoor patio furniture is constructed from weather resistant materials such as wood especially hardwoods, wicker using rattan, metal– mainly aluminum, wrought iron and stainless steel, plastics, glass and stone.
Any wood used for outside furniture needs to be treated – oiled, or stained or painted. Hardwoods such as teak have natural oils; other woods have less effective natural oils and need additional treatment. Not all wood is good for outside use; some wood is more prone to termites and pests than others. Pine is a soft wood and will not last long untreated outside. Kiln dried pine is being coming more popular as a sustainable wood to use for any furniture, although not as insect or water resistant as hardwoods, it is a cheaper option.
Hardwoods are very popular due to their ability to withstand the weathering outside patio furniture is exposed to. Wood is naturally resistant to water, pests, mould and mildew. The design of good outdoor patio furniture sets allows the water to drain through the furniture via slits or holes. Wood is also the most natural product to be placed in the outdoor setting, it is lovely to look at and sit on to enjoy the outdoor view, and also it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
Hardwood patio furniture is often made of teak, a very dense wood with natural oils that help to protect it from the harsh sun and wet weather. Teak came to be used for outdoor furniture when in England scrap from ship’s decks washed up on shore was salvaged, and tables made. This has been going on for over a century and the teak is never painted. In America using teak for outside furniture is a relatively recent fashion. Some newer woods to be considered are kwela and shorea. Jarrah is a hardwood from Australia that can also be used. Teak ages gracefully to a lovely silver color, but if regularly oiled maintains its golden brown shade. Teak wood patio furniture is known to last a good many years without cracking or splitting. Teak is usually harvested from ethical plantations which have strict replanting policies. Teak is used for very popular Bali style furniture, which includes the concepts of outdoor rooms and day beds.
Walnut, oak, mahogany and cedar can also be used for outdoor sets, but is not as commonly as they don’t have the longevity compared to teak. Although teak is more expensive than other hardwoods for patio furniture, it will outlast most of the other and the initial investment will prove its worth over the years. Wood furniture from ethical plantations is also more environmentally friendly than all other types of patio furniture.
Any softwood used for outside will need to be treated. Softwoods are generally significantly cheaper than hardwoods, and are therefore attractive for manufacturers and consumers. Pine is one soft wood readily available, and commonly used for modern outdoor furniture.
For wooden outdoor patio furniture, the best choice for longevity and value for money, and a natural product is teak, but other hardwoods can also be considered. It would be wise to steer clear of softwoods.