Outdoor furniture can be expensive for a variety of reasons. Many expensive, high-end sets are hand-made while cheaper furniture is produced large-scale in a factory. The cost of your patio furniture is (typically) directly proportional to how long it will last. Purchasing a pricey set now may last you for 10+ years, versus having to replace it every couple of years with inexpensive sets. If you’re looking to invest in a set that will last for years, find one that has a comprehensive warranty. However, the primary determinant of price is the material. Check out the most popular materials below to figure out which one is best for you and your budget.
Patio Furniture Materials
Outdoor furniture materials are made to withstand all types of weather – snow, rain, humidity, sun, and more. Outdoor pillows and cushions also are treated with stain-resistant properties to protect against water stains, oil-based stains (like those from sunscreen), and more.
The type of material you choose depends on a few factors:
- Where will the furniture be placed? What type of weather will it need to hold up through?
- How long do you plan on keeping it?
- How do you plan on protecting it?
Regardless of material, taking care of your outdoor furniture is crucial. Outdoor patio furniture covers can help with this. However, you should also take into account how much work you are willing to do when it comes to general cleaning and maintenance. Some materials require more work than others to keep looking great.
A high-quality synthetic wicker is made from HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). Natural wicker, or rattan, should only be used in covered spaces. Real wicker is not designed to hold up to the elements and will break down quickly if unprotected. Synthetic wicker is a great option and you can easily find high-end sets that mimic the natural wicker look. If you decide to use natural wicker furniture outdoors, keep it covered with a weather-resistant cover when not in use and also try to keep it in a covered area.
Synthetic wicker, also described as synthetic resin, is also quite durable. It’s resistant to rust, won’t crack or become brittle in the cold, and won’t fade in the sun. In addition, it’s resistant to most food and drink stains.
Inexpensive synthetic wicker sets are probably made of PVC. PVC has a shorter lifespan than HDPE and will typically break down within 1-2 years. If you’re on a tight budget, purchasing one of these sets and taking care of it may be worth it. Move it out of the sun and rain when not in use and use affordable patio furniture covers to prolong its life.
The frames of synthetic wicker furniture is another factor of the price. Inexpensive wicker patio furniture will typically have steel frames. As a raw material, aluminum can be 2-3 times more expensive than steel. Steel is likely to rust and corrode over time when left outside in areas of high humidity and rain. Aluminum furniture frames are typically treated to prevent color fading and rust.
Wicker furniture is easy to clean and care for – you can typically spray it down with a hose and let it air dry for a quick clean. This makes wicker furniture a great option for families with small kids and pets.