Outdoor furniture makes it possible to enjoy the outdoors with maximum comfort. However, unlike indoor sets, patio furniture has to endure potentially harsh weather conditions constantly. Even day-to-day sun exposure can be taxing on furniture. As a result, shoppers have to be extra careful when choosing the appropriate materials for their outdoor furniture. Durability, aesthetics, practicality, and the climate of your home should be among the top factors shoppers should consider before purchasing new patio sets.
Though there are plenty of materials to choose from, most décor experts recommend metal finishes for the furniture frames. But why metal? And which metal is right for you? Here we will explore the pros, cons, and unique characteristics that make aluminum, stainless steel, and wrought iron the go-to choices for outdoor furniture frames. After reading this article, you’ll be equipped with the necessary tools to buy the best metal furniture for your patio.
Metal is renowned for its strength and ability to withstand ordinary (and extraordinary) wear and tear. This material works well with other materials to confer functional and aesthetic appeal to your natural living space. Its malleable nature allows the material to be molded into any shape to suit the client’s needs. While there are drawbacks to using metal for your patio frames, it is still an excellent choice for any outdoor furniture.
Admired for its extreme toughness, it is no wonder that stainless steel is the preferred frame material for outdoor sets. When opting for stainless steel, always consider the chromium quantity as it often determines the degree of resistance to atmospheric corrosion.
Pros of Stainless Steel:
The makeup of steel is iron mixed with carbon, which offers extra durability and resistance to corrosion. Endurance and high density make steel ideal for supporting the heavy weight-bearing dining sets and sectional sofas. Its sleek silvery appearance makes steel a great addition to modern outdoor patios. Additionally, steel is considered an environmentally-friendly because it is made from recyclable materials. Finally, steel furniture is relatively easy to clean and maintain compared to other materials.
Cons of Stainless Steel:
- Even though steel can endure significant temperature variations, it is susceptible to getting too hold or cold to touch when subjected to extreme temperatures. While adding a few coats of paint might help, This move does not solve the heat or cold problem.
- The cost of steel is more than that of aluminum, wood, and many other materials; therefore, you might need to raise your budget If steel is your preferred material.
- Steel is one of the heaviest materials; you might need to consider this aspect if you use it for tables and chairs requiring frequent movement.
Stainless Steel Care Tips
Stainless steel requires regular cleaning. Always clean using a neutral detergent, soft microfiber, and warm water. At all costs, avoid using harsh chemicals such as chloride cleaners and strong bleaches as they may damage the integrity of your furniture.
Aluminum is ideal for outdoor furniture sets due to its lightweight and durable nature. Despite its lightweight nature, aluminum has excellent strength making it the perfect material for mobile dining sets. Another critical advantage of aluminum lies in its ability to resist rust and corrosion better than other metallic materials. Despite its high resistance, it is always advisable to apply a coated finish for added protection.
Pros of Aluminum:
- Outstanding resistance to rust damage compared to other metals
- Lightweight nature
- Its Flexible nature allows artisans to mold it into unique shapes without needing screws and bolts
- Aluminum requires a minimal level of care and is easy to wash
Cons of Aluminum:
- Like most other materials, aluminum is prone to absorbing heat and cold.
- Tubular versions of aluminum furniture tend to be too lightweight and blow away easily in strong winds.
Aluminum Care Tips
Most modern outdoor aluminum furniture comes with a powder-coating, which negates the need to apply paint or sealer. The powdered coating makes your frames more tolerant to wear and tear, sun and wind exposure, and moisture. For classic aluminum, consider applying paint to the frame and apply new layers regularly to prevent oxidation which helps reduce your patio set’s useful life. Consider powdering your aluminum frames if you live on the coast or have a saltwater pool on your patio.
The use of iron as a finish for tools and furniture dates back a few centuries. Items made from wrought iron can last more than a century with proper care and maintenance. Though much heavier than wood and aluminum, wrought iron is the best choice for those who prefer stylish classical looks.
Pros of Wrought Iron:
- The material is exceptionally malleable, allowing artisans to heat, melt, and hammer into various shapes and sizes.
- The fact that wrought iron is mostly handcrafted allows artisans to deliver unique finishes that are hard to match with other metals.
- Its heavy nature ensures your wrought iron furniture does not blow away under strong winds.
Cons of Wrought Iron:
- Though durable, wrought iron is highly susceptible to damage from rust.
- Secondly, its rugged nature can make it uncomfortable for day-to-day use. Consider including cushions and backrests to boost comfort levels.
- Like most metals, wrought iron is a great heat conductor, meaning furniture frames can get too hot or cold when subjected to extreme temperatures.
- Lastly, due to its low resistance to wear and tear, wrought iron requires a high degree of care. Treatment with weather-resistant finishes can significantly improve resistance to moisture damage.
Wrought Iron Care Tips
Use mild soapy water to thoroughly clean wrought iron furniture. Apply an automotive spray wax at least twice a year to protect your furniture. Always cover your furniture when not in use to prolong its lifespan.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various material choices goes a long way in ensuring consumers make the right furniture decisions. Though completely weatherproof patios may not exist, some materials are better suited for different climatic conditions than others.