Outdoor Furniture Frame Materials
Types of Metals
Molten aluminum is poured into molds and solid pieces are welded together.
Pros: Detailed designs, does not rust, minimal maintenance, sturdy
Cons: Typically more expensive than extruded aluminum (but also more heavy-duty)
A solid aluminum billet is forced through a die, creating a hollow tube.
Pros: Lightweight and easy to move, affordable, does not rust, minimal maintenance
Cons: Styles will have less detail, not suitable for extremely windy areas
Iron is hammered, forged, and welded into desired design.
Pros: Multiple design styles, superior strength and durability
Cons: Heavy, waxing and resealing is recommended on an annual basis, scratches must be repainted as quickly as possible to prevent rusting
Steel is a combination of iron and other elements known for its strength and durability
Pros: Extremely strong, less likely than aluminum to dent, able to withstand extreme temperatures, classic design lends a sophisticated look
Cons: Heavier than aluminum, will become hot to the touch if sitting in direct sunlight, scratches to finish can cause furniture to rust
Types of Wood
A tropical hardwood species with a naturally high oil content, often used on boat decks.
Pros: Incomparable durability, strong, naturally resistant to insects, moisture and rot resistant
Cons: While also desirable, teak will turn a silver-gray over time if left untreated
A tropical hardwood comparable to teak.
Pros: More affordable than teak, naturally resistant to insects, moisture and rot resistant
Cons: Will need to be treated/regularly maintained if silver-gray patina is not desired
Northern white and western red cedar are valued for their interesting grain patterns.
Pros: Lightweight, can be left unfinished, not prone to warping or sagging, naturally resistant to insects/moisture/rot
Cons: More expensive than woods like oak but a great investment
A member of the pine family, larch is a lighter wood with a reddish color and a straight grain.
Pros: Naturally resistant to decay and moisture, sustainable, high density, durable
Cons: Typically has a slightly higher price point (though less than teak)
A moderately heavy, dense wood with varying grain patterns.
Pros: Long-term durability, affordable, more lightweight than teak or shorea, resistant to rot
Cons: Will need occasional oiling/staining unless weathering to a dark gray is desired
Extremely dense, eucalyptus is a beautiful reddish-brown and will darken as it ages.
Pros: Versatile, naturally resistant to moisture and insects, minimal maintenance, sustainably harvested
Cons: Will need occasional oiling/staining to maintain its rich tones
Types of Plastic
Recycled plastic is a wonderful material to add to your patio if you're looking for durable, stylish furniture.
Pros:This material is very eco-friendly, and has the look and feel of real wood without the maintenance of real wood. It is also extremely durable
Cons: This material is lighter weight than cast aluminum and other metal materials. Consider this if you live in a very windy environment
Resin wicker is generally made of polyethylene. Wicker is not actually a material but a method of weaving.
Pros: Weather resistant, does not absorb moisture, easy cleaning, does not split or crack
Cons: Inexpensive resin wicker may not closely resemble real rattan wicker
A thermoplastic, meaning it can be melted, remolded, and then returned to a solid state.
Pros: Affordable. lightweight, can withstand harsh weather conditions, low maintenance, many design and color variations
Cons: Lacks longevity, may not give the same elegant look as wood or cast aluminum
Outdoor Furniture Fabrics
100% acrylic fibers that have been dyed before being woven vs. woven and then dyed.
Pros: Water repellent, fade resistant (provides up to 98% protection from UV rays), mold and mildew resistant, easy to clean, minimal shrinking/stretching, large color selection
Cons: With higher quality comes a higher price tag
A synthetic, solution-dyed material with a smooth texture.
Pros: Water repellent, resistant to weathering/stains/mildew, quick drying, provides better fade resistance than polyester and cotton for a lower price point than solution-dyed acrylic
Cons: Less detail, not suitable for extremely windy areas, prone to stretching
A synthetic fabric made from plastic-based fibers.
Pros: Strong, resistant to stretching/shrinking, quick drying, lower price, typically the most decorative (can be screen printed), fewer wrinkles
Cons: Do not expose to chlorine, only a 2-3 year lifespan compared to higher quality fabrics
A fabric woven of polyester with a PVC coating, this material is typically used for sling furniture.
Pros: Waterproof, sunscreen proof, fade and mold resistant, flame retardant, easy to clean
Cons: May begin to fray over time
Usually made using a blend of cotton or linen.
Pros:Heavy-duty, relatively inexpensive
Cons: Susceptible to mold and mildew