Summer means being outdoors and relaxing on outdoor patio furniture. Whether it is sitting by the pool, having a meal on the deck, or napping on the porch or in the sunroom, having the right kind of outdoor furniture can make all the difference.
Historically, outdoor furniture has been made of either wood, metal, or plastic. However, as a result of plastic recycling, poly or “polywood” furniture has become a popular option. All these materials make great outdoor furniture, of course, but poly materials may be more durable over the long haul.
Deciding which furniture material is best for your particular deck, patio, or other outdoor space depends on local weather conditions, architectural style, required maintenance, and budget. Today’s blog post offers a closer look at how poly outdoor furniture compares to options made from other materials.
Wood Outdoor Furniture
Being made of natural materials, outdoor wood furniture may be the most traditional. Typically, outdoor furniture is made of strong, weather-resistant woods like teak and shorea. Softer woods like pine, cedar, and fir are also popular and less expensive.
Advantages of Wood
Wood furniture is lightweight, making it easy to move around as needed, but not so light that it blows over during high winds or storms. Wood furniture can also be painted or stained in any color, making it possible to update a patio’s look without having to purchase new furniture.
Disadvantages of Wood
If wood patio furniture is exposed to rain or standing water, owners need to realize that wood furniture can rot. Hot temperatures can cause wood to split, as well. Also, over time, the repeated cycle of getting wet then drying in the sun can cause wood to warp. Lots of direct sun exposure will also cause wood to fade in color, too, whether it is painted or not. For example, teak is a beautiful brown when new but over time fades to gray. Because wood is a natural material, insects like to invade and eat it.
For wood furniture to last and stay resistant to water damage, rot, warping, and insect damage, it will need to be treated with a waterproofing stain or sealant every year. When this is done regularly, wood furniture can hold up and look beautiful for decades.
Metal Outdoor Furniture Options
Metal outdoor furniture is usually made of either wrought iron, steel, or aluminum.
Wrought Iron Furniture
Wrought iron furniture has been popular since the 1800s. It has a classical style that is romantic and charming. Wrought iron is also the heaviest of all the furniture materials, and while it won’t blow away during a windy storm, it is also difficult to move. And, wrought iron is the most expensive of the metal options.
Steel outdoor furniture can be either galvanized or stainless. Of the two, stainless is better because it is more rust-resistant, particularly in marine environments, where salty air can accelerate rusting. But like all the metals, even steel furniture will need to be coated with a rust-resistant finish. Steel furniture can handle weather extremes and won’t fade in the sun. Being heavy, steel furniture will stay in place during high winds; but because it is lighter than wrought iron, steel furniture is easier to rearrange.
Aluminum outdoor furniture is the lightest of the metal options and is, therefore, the easiest to rearrange. That feature, the fact that it comes in such a wide variety of contemporary styles, and that it costs less make aluminum the most popular metal furniture option. Like the other metals, aluminum furniture can stand up to extreme temperatures without fading but will also need to be coated to avoid rust or water damage. Because aluminum is a softer metal, it can dent easily. This is something to consider carefully if the furniture will see heavy use.
Plastic Outdoor Furniture
Plastic outdoor furniture gained popularity in the 1960s and ’70s. It was and still is the most inexpensive option. It is super lightweight, which means it is easy to rearrange but won’t stay put in high winds. No amount of rain or water will damage plastic furniture. It is easy to clean and does not need to be treated with any sealants or stains. Plastic furniture comes in a wide range of colors. However, depending upon the quality of plastic, those colors fade in the sunshine over time.
Why Poly is a Better Choice for Outdoor Furniture
Polywood outdoor furniture offers the look of wood, the durability of metal, and the color options of traditional plastic. Many of our customers find that it truly represents an upgrade in backyard furniture!
Polywood is made of high-density polyethylene that is fashioned into boards. Poly furniture comes in the same styles as wood furniture, though it is heavier than wood, so will stay put in a storm. However, it is still light enough to move around the deck or yard.
Like plastic materials, poly lumber comes in a variety of bright and warm color palettes to go with any outdoor décor. Polywood is also waterproof, bug-proof, and fade resistant. In other words, this furniture is made to last and look new for years! It is the lowest maintenance of all the outdoor furniture materials because it also resists mildew.
Unlike all the other outdoor furniture options, poly furniture can stay outdoors all year long and continue to look great year after year. It doesn’t need to be stored or covered for the winter. Best of all, because it is made from recycled plastic, polywood is eco-friendly.
Ready to Upgrade Your Outdoor Spaces with Poly Furniture?
Here at Elite Outdoor Expressions, we believe all furniture purchases, whether indoor or outdoor, are investments. Rather than spending less on furniture that won’t last more than a season, it is better to invest in outdoor deck furniture that is well-made, comfortable, durable, and stylish. That’s poly material.
When you’re ready to upgrade your deck, patio, or any other outdoor space, see us first to discover the poly furniture difference. Contact us to learn more or visit our Elite Outdoor Expressions showrooms in New Holland and Harrisburg, PA.