Outdoor Furniture Frame Materials


Types of Metals


Cast Aluminum

Cast Aluminum

    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)



Extruded Aluminum

Extruded Aluminum

    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



Wrought Iron

Wrought Iron

    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

Steel

    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


Teak

Teak

    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



Shorea

Shorea

    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



Cedar

Cedar

    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



Larch

Larch

    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)



Acacia

Acacia

    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



Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

    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



Oak

White Oak

    A dense hardwood with a grain pattern similar to traditional oak.
    Pros: Strong and durable, repels moisture, resistant to insects
    Cons: Higher price due to difficulty in cutting and shaping the wood, may require oiling


Types of Plastic


MGP

Recycled 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


Wicker

Resin Wicker | All-Weather Wicker

    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



Plastic

Polyethylene | Resin

    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


Sunbrella

Sunbrella | Solution-Dyed Acrylic

    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



Olefin

Olefin

    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



Polyester

Polyester | PET

    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



Textilene

Textilene | PVC Mesh

    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


Canvas

Canvas

    Usually made using a blend of cotton or linen.
    Pros:Heavy-duty, relatively inexpensive
    Cons: Susceptible to mold and mildew