Garden Furniture Materials
Think of a material or fabric and someone, somewhere, will have thought of a way to use that to make Garden Furniture. You will probably have an idea already of the type you like, but here’s a run down of the most common and what they actually are.
From complete wooden chairs, tables and benches to ornate wooden accents for design and appearance, wood is a commonly used material. Dark wood, light wood, natural, stained or painted.
When it comes to wood there are lots to choose from. Hardwood is the best for outdoor furniture as it is naturally more tolerant of weather, although with all wood some annual maintenance is required if you wish to keep it looking ‘fresh from the store’ new.
However, for those who are environment sensitive then wood might not be an ideal option, although some dining sets are made using recycled wood, or wooden off-cuts/waste pieces from other construction projects.
Metal work might form the complete garden furniture or just be a supporting frame. It can be cast (melted and molded) or extruded (think toothpaste from a tube).
Metals used in outdoor furniture include aluminium, steel, chrome and iron to name but a few.
It’s worth checking, whatever the metal, that it has been treated for outdoors use. The process commonly used for protecting outdoor furniture is described as ‘powder coating’.
To find out more about Aluminium / Aluminum furniture, and common used manufacture processes, click the green button.
Wicker / Natural Rattan
Perhaps considered more of an oldie worldie thing, wicker is still very much used in modern and high design outdoors furniture.
Wicker is a species of plant that is woven into beautiful and sturdy designs. Rattan is one type of plant that is include in the wicker family.
Modern ‘wicker’ designed garden furniture tends to be made from ‘Synthetic Rattan’ which imitates the appearance of natural Rattan but is more weather resistant and versatile. It is often described as ‘PE rattan’.
Plastic / Synthetic Rattan
These are popular materials used in outdoor furniture due to their resilience to the weather, particularly for seating.
If color is your thing, then these materials are ideal as they are easily dyed.
They tend to be maintenance free, apart from requiring an occasional wipe over.
You can also get patio furniture made from re-cycled plastic.
Table tops are quite often of glass, or a glass overlay on top of the main table material. This is because glass is rain resistant, easy to clean, fairly resilient to heat and cold and it, quite simple, it just looks really nice.
The glass can be smooth or rippled on the surface and some include a faint dye / colorant.
Look for ‘tempered’ glass which means that it is strengthened. This is an important consideration when you think of the usage it gets.
Bear in mind though that a glass top will increase the weight of your dining table, making it less easy to move around and handle.
Some tables are topped with tiles (either natural stone or artificially manufactured) which act as a weather barrier when protected with a weather-resistant sealant.
These are often arranged in beautiful patterns which can be traditional or modern in design.
Some tables are covered with a printed laminate type material that appears to be tiles instead of stone. If tiles is the look you want and you don’t mind the imitation this can be a good practical and light-weight option.
Some seat bases and backs are made of a fabric construction such as sling back chairs, deck-chairs, director chairs and sun-loungers. It is always worth checking with the manufacturer regarding weather resistance of outdoor furniture fabrics.
The cushions, if included, can also be made from a number of different fabrics.
Always check that fabrics have been treated to be weather resistant or fast drying and that interior cushions/paddings are quick drying and/or allow any rain water to drain through easily.
If an umbrella or parasol is included in your patio dining set, then it will most likely be made from fabrics. These can have a tendency to fade in long exposure to the sun. They tend to be shower-proof but not necessarily weather -proof so they are best stored indoors or under-cover.