Furniture is one of the most valuable parts of your home or business, enough so that home insurers list it as the biggest percentage of a home’s insured items. If you buy furniture with cheap materials to save up-front, you’re going to have to repair it or replace it when it breaks down. You might pay a pretty penny for certain “upscale” furniture, but if it’s not made from durable materials, you’ll have to pay for repair and replacement, too.
You’ll save money, time and energy with furniture maintenance and repair by choosing durable outdoor furniture on your first purchase. You could even help save the environment if your furniture is also earth-friendly! So, what is the best material for outdoor furniture? What outdoor furniture lasts the longest? Let’s compare some popular types of outdoor furniture so you know what to expect when it comes to durability.
Metal & Aluminum OuTDOOR FURNITURE
Metal and aluminum are popular furniture choices because the materials are strong and heavy. Though, depending on the construction of aluminum furniture, it could still be light enough to blow over in a heavy storm. Metal and aluminum can also be shaped into intricate designs, which is harder to do with some types of furniture material, like wood.
There are some major drawbacks to metal and aluminum furniture. One is that they heat up under the sun, which can burn those who touch the furniture. They also retain cold, which can make them chilly to sit on in winter weather.
Another issue, related to durability, is that metal furniture easily rusts and corrodes, especially due to moisture from ocean salt water and rain. Even expensive and strong wrought iron will need to be maintained to prevent rusting. Aluminum furniture that’s been painted can easily chip.
Cleaning this type of furniture is intensive and can result in damage if not done properly. Abrasive cleaners can scratch metal furniture and make it susceptible to moisture. You’ll also have to apply touch-up paint to scratches to prevent rust. Aluminum furniture may fall prey to oxidation, which will need to be cleaned to prevent further damage.
Metal furniture can stay intact for a long time (up to a century or more) depending on its design, but it will require frequent cleaning with the right tools to stay damage-free. Keep in mind that because metal and aluminum furniture typically requires cushions in order to be comfortable, you’ll have to clean those materials, too, to prevent mold, dirt and mildew.
Wood & Teak OuTDOOR FURNITURE
Wood and teak wood are materials that are sourced from the outdoors, so they’re also a popular choice for natural-looking outdoor furniture. Unfortunately, these natural materials are prone to the same pitfalls that trees are. That includes insect and termite burrowing, rotting, chipping and peeling.
Teak wood is one of the strongest kinds of wood you can have in furniture. Unfortunately, it’s also much more expensive compared to other types of wood furniture because of its high demand and limited availability. Even teak wood, just like other types of wood furniture, will fade over time.
To maintain wood furniture, you’ll have to regularly stain it with oil or protector. You’ll have to apply sealant at least every few years, more frequently if your wood furniture lives in more extreme weather. Wood furniture may show signs of fading and cracking in 10 years or less.
Natural Wicker OuTDOOR FURNITURE
Wicker is another natural material that’s made from items like rattan or bamboo. This type of furniture is woven, so it has a unique design that some homeowners and business owners find appealing for their outdoor spaces.
Since wicker’s natural, like wood, it may experience natural materials problems. These include animal nesting or pests eating the wicker furniture, resulting in hard-to-repair damage. It can also break down due to moisture from rain or snow. You’ll have to regularly apply a sealant or finish to keep natural wicker furniture intact.
It’s also important to be aware of the craftsmanship of wicker furniture, since that can greatly affect its durability. If there are any parts that weren’t properly weaved, those loose spots may unravel later and damage the look and use of the furniture. Loose weave can also be extremely uncomfortable when it’s poking or scratching you or your guests.
Another durability issue with wicker is that it’s light. It may blow away or get damaged in your yard, or damage other items at your home if it's thrown around by a storm.
Even with proper maintenance, due to its delicate natural materials, wicker furniture may only last around 5 to 10 years in its original condition. Plus, since wicker usually needs cushions to be comfortable, that’s another item you’ll have to clean and maintain when using this furniture.
Cheap Plastic OuTDOOR FURNITURE
Cheap plastic furniture, made from materials like polystyrene, will probably cost you the least amount of money. That makes it a popular option for those who don’t want to spend a lot on furniture and who are willing to sacrifice functionality and appearance for a lower cost.
Since it’s made from low-quality materials, cheap plastic furniture warps, bends and cracks extremely easily. A cheap plastic chair may not even be durable enough to hold your adult guests.
Cheap plastic furniture is also really light. That makes it attractive to some furniture shoppers, since it’s easy to transport and move. Unfortunately, that means it may get knocked over and dirty or blow away in a storm.
Expect to have to replace cheap plastic furniture at least yearly if you want to be able to use it in decent condition.
HDPE Plastic OuTDOOR FURNITURE
You may not have heard of HDPE plastic, but you’ve probably seen it. Since it mimics the look of wood, you may have even mistakenly thought you sat on wood furniture that was really made of high-quality, high-density polyethylene plastic.
Not all plastic furniture is created equally. Unlike cheap plastic furniture, HDPE plastic has a remarkable strength-to-density ratio. It’s heavy and won’t blow away. It’s durable, so it won’t warp, scratch, dent, rot or go through moisture- and pest-related problems other types of furniture will.
HDPE plastic is the longest-lasting type of outdoor furniture material. It retains good-as-new shape and appearance over time. It requires minimal cleaning and doesn't fade. It’s resistant to mold and mildew, so it works in any type of weather or environment.
Another reason people like HDPE plastic furniture is that it’s highly customizable. It can come in 20 different colors and in a variety of furniture types.
To answer an earlier question, HDPE plastic furniture may also be environmentally friendly depending on the supplier. Unlike many other types of furniture, HDPE plastic furniture can be recycled. When you get HDPE plastic furniture from Breezesta, it’s also made from recycled plastic – a win-win for the environment. Your furniture won’t have required chopping down trees or plundering other natural materials from the earth. It gives plastics like milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles new life.
HDPE plastic furniture is also comfortable to sit on as-is, so you don’t need cushions. That cuts down on cleaning time and lengthens the lifespan of your furniture. You can expect your HDPE plastic furniture to last a lifetime and beyond and even pass it on as an heirloom.
Get Furniture that Lasts from Breezesta
If you’re looking for long-lasting outdoor furniture that provides immense value for your purchase, HDPE plastic furniture from Breezesta is the best choice. Not only is HDPE plastic the highest-quality furniture material available, Breezesta offers a limited lifetime warranty. Most furniture only comes with a 1-year warranty, if at all.
Another advantage of Breezesta’s HDPE plastic furniture, compared to other HDPE plastic furniture, is that Breezesta uses recycled plastic in the material. Some HDPE plastic furniture is made from all-virgin plastic, which means the plastic was created from scratch. It’s not as sustainable an option as having furniture that contains recycled plastic materials like Breezesta's.
Check out Breezesta’s beautiful collection of diverse sustainable outdoor patio furniture. You can choose pieces that fit your aesthetic and that will weather generations of use.