Now that the sun has finally decided to make itself known again, it's time to brush off the outdoor furniture and embrace the alfresco lifestyle once more. All's well and good until you realize last year's dining set has been slowly crumbling away in the corner of your backyard, now discolored, cracked, or covered in mold. It's time for an upgrade - and this time, you'll want to know which outdoor furniture lasts the longest.
Outdoor furniture doesn't come cheap, so we all want to be confident that we're choosing a material that lasts more than just a single summer. Exposure to the elements means that our outdoor chairs, tables, and sofas have to be extra durable to withstand the likes of rain, wind, and changes in temperature. Typically, exterior furniture is made of wood, metal, or plastic, but there are certain types that are better than others - and for furniture that lasts, you'll need to know what they are.
The good news is, thanks to the help of some experts, we've done the work for you. We've rustled up a list of materials to look for in your modern outdoor furniture that promise to endure, so you can have a stylish outdoor setting that stands the test of time. Here's what you need to know.
One of the most popular material choices for garden furniture is wood, and for good reason. This natural option not only has a classic, understated appearance that makes it perfect for your backyard, but it's durable and hardwearing too.
'Wood is always a popular choice thanks to its timeless appeal and ability to pair with any style of décor or color scheme,' says Juliette Thomas (opens in new tab), Founder and Director of Juliettes Interiors. 'Teak is a solid wood that weathers beautifully and will last for years and years with very little attention, so it's easy to clean and maintain. If it's not properly taken care of then the wood can stain, however, it can easily be sanded back and re-oiled to restore it.'
As long as you treat the wood with a stain or sealer each season and store your furniture away during the winter, wooden dining sets can serve you year after year. Besides its durability, timber furniture is also less likely to be damaged by extreme weather thanks to its weight. As Deirdre Mc Gettrick (opens in new tab), furniture expert and co-founder of Ufurnish, explains: 'Hardwoods tend to be fairly heavy, which is great to prevent furniture from being blown around in strong winds or storms.'
2. Wrought Iron
Wrought iron has been used for exterior structures and furniture, such as park benches or fences, for centuries. Many of those original installations still remain too, proving the longevity of this material.
As far as metal furniture goes, wrought iron is - quite literally - the strongest choice. This hard-wearing, heavy metal becomes stronger each time it's heated and worked, and since wrought iron furniture typically has an ornate and intricate design, that means it's incredibly tough.
Aesthetically, it's a great option for a vintage look. As Juliette explains: 'Metal garden furniture adds a dramatic touch to an outdoor space, and wrought iron makes a real statement alongside powder-coated aluminum frames or steel if you need something substantial.'
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that wrought iron can rust. Prolonged exposure to the elements can cause chipping, rust, or even corrosion over time, and cheaper furniture made of alloys will corrode even quicker. 'For this reason, when opting for metal furniture, always pay close attention to the fixings (where companies often cut corners), as rusting bolts will ruin the look of your furniture,' urges Juliette. Take a look at the best outdoor furniture brands if you want the promise of quality.
3. Resin wicker
Typically woven in a wicker weave to mimic rattan, synthetic resin furniture is a stylish modern choice of outdoor furniture that's commonly seen on patios. Low-maintenance, lightweight, and highly durable, it's also a good option if you're looking for furniture that lasts, too.
'Unlike natural materials, these materials are usually UV-resistant and are less likely to fade in the sun,' says Deidre. 'They also won’t conduct as much heat, are lightweight, and easy to clean as an added benefit.'
The downside is, while this synthetic material will last year after year and far outlive natural wicker or rattan, it will continue to last long after you've finished with it, too. In terms of sustainability then, this one certainly doesn't top the list. There's also the fact that resin wicker furniture is lightweight, the fibers being built upon aluminum frames, which makes it susceptible to high winds and consequent damage from tearing.
4. Stainless steel or aluminum
If you want metal furniture that's more budget-friendly than wrought iron, steel or aluminum are good choices. When used for outdoor furniture, these metals tend to be treated with a baked-on powder-coated paint finish for a smooth texture and appearance, but it also acts as a protective barrier to help prevent corrosion.
'Metal is a popular material for outdoor furniture as it holds its shape and style for years to come - and if properly looked after, only requires seasonal maintenance to keep it looking its best,' says Asli Çeçen, furniture expert and founder of Sazy (opens in new tab). 'Aluminium works especially well against other metals as it's rust and moisture resistant.'
Both steel and aluminum are lightweight and corrosion-resistant, too. As Deidre notes, this makes them one of the best long-lasting furniture choices for seaside properties as these materials withstand the corrosive effects of sea salt. 'One of the best options is furniture made from stainless steel, as this material is highly resistant to rust and corrosion,' she adds.
The downside is that these metals are more lightweight than the likes of wrought iron, making them susceptible to dents and scratches. 'From a practical point of view, they can also become very hot to the touch in direct sunlight, so ensure you choose light and bright cushions to protect you when seated on the furniture,' Deidre says.
5. Glass or sealed ceramic
For a classic addition to your garden or decking, a glass-topped or ceramic-glazed table is a safe bet for furniture that's long-lasting. Both these options are super easy to clean and won't rot, rust, or stain like wood and metal can. That said, they do typically come on a metal frame so it's worth paying attention to what the structure is made of, too.
'For outdoor furniture that will remain beautiful for years to come without the need for endless maintenance, tables with glass, marble, or sealed ceramic tops are firm favorites,' says Juliette. 'This is thanks to their striking aesthetic and durability.'
Long-wearing though they may be, it's worth bearing in mind that these materials - especially glass - can crack, chip, or even shatter if they're not protected. It's therefore a good idea to make sure your furniture is out of harm's way when you're mowing the lawn in case of any mishaps from rogue stones.
How do you make outdoor furniture last longer?
For wooden furniture, seasonal treatment with a stain and sealer is crucial to extend its longevity. Not only will this keep your wood looking fresh and true to its natural color, but it will act as a protective layer against water and UV ways, preventing the risk of rot.
'For larger pieces of furniture such as lounge or table and chair sets, it’s worth investing in a cover to protect it from the elements,' says Asli. This goes for all types of furniture, including metal and plastic, and is particularly pertinent over winter. And, if you have space in a garage or shed, it's worth storing your outdoor furniture here over the colder and wetter months of the year.
Best garden accessories to keep your furniture protected
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Thompson's WaterSeal Clear Wood Sealer
Keep your wooden furniture protected with Thompson's Clear Wood Sealer. The oil-enriched formula enhances the wood's natural color by offering durable protection from water and sun, and prevents discoloration. It will also make your furniture resistant to mold and mildew, too.
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Outdoor Furniture Cover
Shield any type of outdoor furniture from the elements with this tarp. The universal design fits most outdoor sectional furniture sets and is made of a durable polyester fabric that's both waterproof and UV resistant to keep your furniture fresh and suitable for use season after season.
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Outdoor Sun & Water Shield
Spray this aerosol on the fabric elements of your outdoor furniture to reduce color fading from UV rays and make it resistant to rain and liquid spills. From exterior furniture pillows to patio parasols and tarps, this spray will keep your outdoor accessories performing their best for longer.
What outdoor furniture lasts the longest? Every landscape designer we asked picked one of these 5 durable options? ›
1. Wood. One of the most popular material choices for garden furniture is wood, and for good reason. This natural option not only has a classic, understated appearance that makes it perfect for your backyard, but it's durable and hardwearing too.What type of garden furniture lasts the longest? ›
1. Wood. One of the most popular material choices for garden furniture is wood, and for good reason. This natural option not only has a classic, understated appearance that makes it perfect for your backyard, but it's durable and hardwearing too.What is the longest lasting wood for outdoor furniture? ›
Teak wood easily lasts the longest when used for outdoor furniture or decking. When properly maintained, it can last for the entirety of your life and years after.What timber is used for outdoor furniture? ›
One of the most popular choices and considered by some to be the best timber for outdoor furniture, is Teak. It is waterproof, durable and resistant to sunlight. It is also an aesthetically pleasing wood. This wood does not attract any dirt and is also unaffected by insects.What garden furniture doesn't rot? ›
Experts' answer to what is the most durable type of outdoor furniture tends to be either aluminium or hardwoods, particularly teak. Aluminium is rust-resistant and hardy, and teak is known for its durability and resistance to rot.What is the best furniture to last a long time? ›
Couches that have a dense hardwood frame (like maple, walnut or teak) are the most durable. Tightly woven textiles and leather are long-lasting fabric choices.What is the most durable material for outdoor patio furniture? ›
Wrought Iron is one of the most durable and longest lasting type of outdoor furniture available, many times lasting decades. Truly an investment that keeps on giving, wrought iron furniture is also the heaviest frame.What is the most weather resistant wood? ›
Because of all its natural oils, teak is generally considered the most naturally water resistant wood — but it's not really particularly affordable, sustainable or easy to get your hands on.What is the most stable wood for exterior? ›
Redwood and Cedar. While pine is the best exterior softwood for the money, Redwood and Cedar are better exterior softwoods for stability. Redwood and Cedar are pinkish, with heart redwood being a darker pink than Western Red Cedar.Which wood is most suitable for making high end quality outdoor furniture? ›
Hardwoods, such as teak, tend to be most popular because they are highly resistant to rot and weathering. Different hardwoods have varying degrees of durability, so find out which wood you're buying before you invest. Softwoods, such as pine, are generally lighter, so easier to store, and cheaper.
Cedar. Known for being the best wood for outdoor projects, cedar wood is a great wood for outdoor decks, more so because they're water resistant. This means they can hold up through wet weather without the worry of rotting, wear and tear, or damage from large amounts of water and moisture.Is softwood or hardwood better for outdoor furniture? ›
Most hardwoods survive outdoors all year round while softwood furniture often needs to be covered or brought indoors in the worst weather – not always practical when you're short on storage space. There's no such thing as weatherproof garden furniture if you're looking at wood.What woods don't rot easily? ›
Some species of wood are naturally rot resistant due to complex chemical compounds that they evolved to protect themselves against decay. Well-known domestic examples include cedar, redwood, old-growth cypress, mulberry, yew, osage orange, and black locust.How do you prolong the life of patio furniture? ›
- Choose High-Quality, Durable Furniture. Choosing the right type of patio furniture is essential to making it last a lifetime. ...
- Bring in Metal Furniture. ...
- Place Furniture in Shaded Area. ...
- Store Cushions. ...
- Wash and Clean Patio Furniture. ...
- Keep Patio Clean. ...
- Patio Furniture Covers.
Products such as polyurethane, varnish and lacquer are most commonly used for the protection of outdoor wood furniture. Make sure to apply the finish over every surface — even underneath and in every crevice. If moisture works its way in, it will not be able to escape and your wood will become damaged.What time of year is best to buy furniture? ›
That means you'll want to shop toward the end of winter (January and February) or the end of summer (August and September). Retailers will be discounting their old stock during these months to make room for the new styles. Presidents Day and Labor Day weekends are especially good times for sales.What is the most sought after piece of furniture? ›
The most expensive furniture ever sold is The Badminton Chest which went for $36.7M in 2004 at Christie's Auction in London.What to avoid when buying furniture? ›
- Ignoring scale and space. ...
- 3) Not considering your lifestyle. ...
- 4) Impulse buying and fads. ...
- 5) Forgetting maintenance. ...
- 6) Buying it all at once. ...
- 7) Too match of a matchness. ...
- 8) Painting first. ...
- 9) Sacrificing usability and comfort for looks.
The best outdoor furniture materials to survive harsh winters. Some of the best outdoor furniture materials known for their all-season durability include aluminum, recycled plastic, concrete and teak.Is expensive patio furniture worth it? ›
The short answer to this question is a simple yes. Expensive patio furniture is really worth the money because it's an investment. Though you may have to pay a lot upfront, expensive patio furniture saves you countless dollars in the long run because of its durability.
The best exterior furniture wood to select from is either cedar or redwood. These hardwoods are naturally resistant to both water and insects and make for durable, attractive outdoor tables, chairs, and stools.What makes wood last longest outdoors? ›
Water Treatment (repellant) is the most common form of treatment, They consist of oil or water-based liquid (Thompson's Water Seal for example). By repelling water, naturally discourages the growth of moulds and fungi that could jeopardise the integrity of the wood.What wood doesn't hold moisture? ›
Western Red Cedar is one of the world's most durable woods, as it has a natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect damage.What wood doesn't sag? ›
Solid hardwood has the best no-sag rating; however, some species are stiffer than others. Birch, maple, and oak are the stiffest, followed by ash, cherry, and walnut. You can increase the stiffness of a shelf by sinking screws into it through the solid back of the case.What is the most durable wood in the US? ›
What is the hardest wood in North America? Of locally available woods, Black Ironwood is typically the strongest type of wood you can find in America. It's found in Florida and has a 3,660 lbf (16,280 N) Janka rating. Other strong North American woods include species of hickory, maples, oaks, walnuts, and beeches.What is the best materials for modern outdoor furniture? ›
Synthetic resin is one of the best materials for outside furniture. Always purchase High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker and not cheap PVC wickers. PVC synthetics will unravel, become brittle, and crack. HDPE is a much higher grade of material.What is the cheapest wood to build outdoor furniture? ›
It's one of the cheapest woods for outdoor use. If you're a woodworker or DIY garden furniture maker, this species also works and machines well, in addition to holding finishes easily — whether a clear varnish, stain or paint.
Plywood, HDF(high-density fibreboard) or MDF (medium-density fibreboard), particleboard, and veneered boards are the most common forms of engineered woods available for making furniture.What is the best landscape lumber? ›
When you use landscape timber as edging, the best kind of wood to use is redwood or cedar. These types of timber are naturally resistant to bugs and rot so they will look their best for a long time.What is the best wood that doesn't warp? ›
Redwood. For the best control over shrinking and warping, redwood is the king for two reasons. It has both the straightest grain pattern and a chemical inside the wood similar to tannin, which protects it against moisture infiltration and rot.
There are seven strength groups for unseasoned timber (S1, strongest, to S7, weakest) and eight for seasoned timber (SD1, strongest, to SD8, weakest).How long does wood furniture last outside? ›
Good patio furniture can last 15+ years. Some will last longer, some less, but there's no firm timeline. Unlike mattresses, which have a commonly-held deadline for replacement after 10 years, your patio furniture will last until the elements break it down—this depends on maintenance, materials, and climate.Is pine or oak better for outdoor furniture? ›
While softwood is still very strong, hardwood is more durable. This means that oak furniture has a longer lifespan than pine, which is one of the most popular reasons people might choose oak over pine.Is wood or rattan better for outdoor furniture? ›
In conclusion, while wood is stronger, outdoor synthetic rattan furniture performs better in terms of weather resistance. Cost differences are variable and usually, wicker is cheapler than wood. Each type of material has different styles to go for and the choice is up to you!What lasts longer wicker or rattan? ›
Synthetic wicker materials give the same appearance as natural rattan fibers but they last much better outside. For this reason, polyethylene wicker is great for outdoor furniture because of its ability to withstand the elements of mother nature.
Go for Easy-Care Outdoor Furniture
Most metal, teak, cedar, and all-weather wicker pieces can stand up to whatever nature throws their way. With a bit of regular cleaning, furniture made using these forgiving materials will look wonderful for years.
Synthetic resin and teak are the best materials for places that get a lot of hot, sunny days. Make sure to buy High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker and not inexpensive PVC material. PVC has a tendency to fray, fracture, or become brittle. Teak is a beautiful and excellent choice.Can you leave outdoor furniture out all year? ›
While aluminum, plastic, concrete and teak materials are ideal for outdoor furniture year-round, materials like iron, steel and wicker can be damaged by wet and cold weather conditions and should not be left outside in the winter.Which is better for outdoor wicker or rattan? ›
Wicker furniture is popular for outdoor use because it's lightweight and easy to move around. While rattan is durable and has traditionally been used for patio furniture, it's not actually the best choice for outdoor use because it isn't water resistant.Which is better rattan or wicker furniture? ›
Rattan is a vine material while wicker is an ancient weaving technique that incorporates various types of natural materials. In a general sense, rattan is more durable because it has a solid core adding stability to the finished product. Wicker is better for outdoor furniture due to advancements in all-weather resin.
Rattan is the strongest material used to make wickerwork but there are other materials such as willow, fern, sea grass, cane, reed or bamboo which can be used as well. Wicker can be woven of any natural material.Is expensive outdoor furniture worth it? ›
The short answer to this question is a simple yes. Expensive patio furniture is really worth the money because it's an investment. Though you may have to pay a lot upfront, expensive patio furniture saves you countless dollars in the long run because of its durability.What is the lowest maintenance patio? ›
Install porcelain paving
It might be time to make the change to porcelain paving. Whether you are swapping out your old slabs or paving over a grass lawn, porcelain pavers are the ultimate low maintenance patio solution.
Aluminum Patio Furniture
Protective finishes known to resist moisture often make aluminum seating and dining sets the best patio furniture for a rainy climate. At the same time, they tend to cool off quickly after sitting in the sun, so they might also be the best patio furniture for a desert climate.
Polyester sofa fabrics include microfiber, canvas, chenille, imitation leather, velour, satin, tweed, and twill and are created from synthetic fibers. It's a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor furniture upholstery because it's weather-resistant, resistant to discoloration, and has been proven to last.What is the most durable outdoor furniture for Florida weather? ›
The best materials for outdoor furniture in Florida include synthetic resin wicker, teak wood, cast aluminum, stainless steel, and composite wood. These materials are all durable, low-maintenance, weather-resistant, and hold up well in Florida's hot and humid climate.What outdoor furniture can stay out all winter? ›
Conclusion. Teak and aluminum furniture, along with sunbrella fabrics, are your best bet if you plan to leave your patio furniture out all winter. All other types of furniture, with the exception of stone, should be placed into storage or brought inside.Can you leave Polywood furniture out all winter? ›
Can I keep my POLYWOOD furniture out all year-round? Yes, our all-weather material is built to withstand all four seasons and a range of climates including hot sun, snowy winters, salt spray, and heavy winds.