Having a patio or BBQ area can allow for a lot of design options. You can convert it into a mini-kitchen and dining region. Or get a full-fledged outdoor rangehood and host BBQ parties. Apart from choosing the right outdoor fridge and BBQ set, one also needs to get outdoor furniture. The right patio furniture will not only match the decor of your home but remain so for a long time!
The Right Materials
Outdoor furniture remains exposed to weather conditions. Even if they are under an umbrella, they receive more reflected light than indoor furniture. They can also gather dust and show scratches easily.
How Can Materials Help
It is important to find the right kind of sturdy material that will last long. Here are some of the common problems that materials undergo when placed in an outdoor environment:
● Cracking and Peeling
Harsh sunlight or temperature changes can result in warping. Plastic is especially susceptible to this. The color may fade out in the sun. You might also notice that the top layer peels off or gets flaky in places.
Metals, especially iron, can catch rust. Even with anodizing, rust can hardly be avoided. One can go for alternatives like aluminum that do not rust.
Water seepage or rain can especially affect wood. Even with hardwoods that do not absorb water much, long-time exposure can be detrimental. Water also speeds up rusting of metals.
Some items can absorb sun rays and get extremely hot. You can sit on it and end up with a scald! The right material will have a low heat-absorbing property. Or will give off said heat very fast.
Along with this, the furniture should be durable and heavy enough to not tip over. It should also not have intricate paneling that makes it difficult to clean.
The Best Materials And Their Uses
There are only a handful of materials and most of them have been in use for centuries. Newer composites and rattan-like plastic are also gaining popularity. Here’s a list of some common materials you can consider.
Wood is naturally used to make furniture. It is available in both softwood and hardwood. Softwood comes from trees like pine. They are softer, can carry less weight, and are more permeable. This means they can absorb water and undergo warping and swelling.
For outdoor furniture, it is best to go for hardwoods. Hardwoods come from various trees. Teak is a great example of wood used for outdoor furniture. It is strong, durable, and can resist temperature and weather changes. It also has a naturally high oil content. This means it is more water repellant than other options.
Hardwood is also not affected by insects. However, teak can be quite pricey. Another option is using the reddish-gold shorea tree. Like teak, they are insect and water-resistant and can last a long time. However, sho rea trees are only native to some parts of Asia. While they are cheaper than teak, they may or may not be available in your area.
In Australia, Eucalyptus is possibly the best choice for hardwood outdoor furniture. It is cheap and easily available. Like teak and sho rea, it is insect and water-resistant. The high oil content helps. However, eucalyptus works best when it is coated over with a sealant.
Some of the other hardwoods one can consider include mahogany, which is generally more expensive. White oak is also a great choice for those looking for furniture in lighter shades. But it will require a sealant like a eucalyptus.
Metal is the most durable choice. However, it gets hot very easily and can rust too. Aluminum is generally the most popular choice. It is lightweight and does not rust. You can also get one with different coatings on top like a polymer coating.
Wrought iron is not much in use anymore. It includes furniture made from 100% iron without any additives or alloys. It is extremely heavy and lends an elegant look. However, it must be coated over or can rust very easily.
No matter the metal, they will absorb heat quickly and get hot. Hence, it is best to get cushioned metal furniture. White fabrics can remain cool for a long time. Alternatively, you can get Shelta Umbrellas to place on top of the patio furniture.
Wicker furniture made from plastic composites is another great choice. It usually contains synthetic polyethylene resin or HDPE. The wickers can be colored and made to look like bamboo shoots or grass. Polyethylene can form solid furniture by molding.
If you are an environment-conscious person, you can enjoy furniture made from recycled plastic. This generally uses plastic from discarded bottles, compresses, and melts them. They are then reformed into solid furniture pieces.
Some plastics can emit a certain smell when exposed to sunlight for a long time. If this is a matter of contention to you, then it is best to choose other materials.
This is possibly the easiest type of furniture to obtain. Over the years, concrete has gained a huge following. It is now used in various interior decorative items from lamps to chandeliers. Concrete gives one the freedom to design a flowing shape with no restrictions.
Concrete furniture can be extremely heavy and durable. With good coatings on top, concrete can last a long time. Without a final finish like stucco, it can develop cracks and moss. You can buy concrete furniture from shops or cast one yourself by creating a mold.
Either way, remember to keep it thin. Thick furniture can result in unequal heating on the inside and outside. This will cause it to develop cracks even faster.
These only form the base materials. Apart from this, you might also come across composites of various materials. For example, tables that use metal and wood in the legs and glass at the top. Different types of fabrics are also available. You can indulge in cotton, acrylic, olefin, and more. Getting Shelta Umbrellas can protect your furniture in the long run.