Did you know that well-designed outdoor patios can add up to a 10% increase in home value price? If you repair an old patio or spruce an existing one up with new outdoor furniture, you’re going to have a great ROI and be the talk of the neighborhood!

But if you’re going to start a patio project, you’ve got to shop smart. In this article, we’re going to talk about what kind of furniture material lasts for years on end, what to avoid, and what other factors you should consider. 

The Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture

Let’s start by discussing the toughest materials first. The better the material, the longer it lasts, right? Yes, but with a few asterisks, which we’ll discuss shortly. 

Types of Metal

You can’t go wrong with iron, and specifically, wrought iron. Wrought iron is metal that is weather-resistant, long-lasting, and heavy – which means they’re hard to knock over, even against strong winds. Cast iron is heavier but still just as resistant to rust and even corrosion. 

Cast aluminum is another metal that’s resistant to rust, heavy, and yet durable. Extruded aluminum is cheaper than the former, but still relatively resistant to weather elements and lighter overall. 

Aluminum furniture is usually the first choice for homeowners living around the beach, where you can expect rain and high humidity many days of the year. Aluminum is resistant to water and hours of sunshine. 

Types of Wood

True, most natural wood is easily spoiled by rain. However, certain types of wood, like teak wood and redwood actually hold their own when resisting moisture. Most wooden furniture comes with a finish that protects against moisture, and may be sold “crack and warp resistant.”

Shorea wood is also water-resistant, and surprisingly pest-resistant and mold-resistant too. Many high-quality backyard structures might be made from Shorea wood, and it’s not as expensive as you might think. 

Other Materials

Wicker, made from plant material, or occasionally synthetic materials, is surprisingly sturdy and durable. With a special finish protecting it against moisture, you’ll find it’s easy to clean and light. While it’s not the best material for heavier patio furniture, it’s still affordable. 

Plastic material is also durable, and sometimes made of recyclable plastic, which is better for the environment. (Read about reducing your carbon footprint in this article about recycled materials)

Not only are they durable but high quality plastics also have special protection against sun rays. 

Glass can be resistant and durable, but it does depend on the thickness and quality of the furniture, including how well it was maintained over time. 

Other Factors to Consider When Furniture Shopping

Some people believe it’s best to buy furniture locally, if you want long-lasting furniture. Furniture builders might understand the weather patterns in a local area, more so than a city halfway across the country. 

Furniture that’s positioned by pools also has to withstand pool chemicals and not just rain. How much exposure to sunlight and harmful UV rays can you expect? What about pest and mold resistant finishes? If a storm hits what materials will be wind resistant? 

There’s also the maintenance factor to consider, as wood and plastic tend to need more attention. Wrought iron and aluminum, however, only need the bare minimum of TLC. 

Don’t Chance It with Cheap Stuff

In theory, you could buy furniture that’s affordable and “highly durable” on the ad. But it might be cheaply made and just barely made of said material. Some so-called glass furniture, for instance, has glass inserts but is made from primarily cheap wood. 

Even if you’re shopping at garage sales or thrift stores, you can still spot cheaply made and rot-risky furniture. Check out these signs of cheap furniture from Reader’s Digest.

In the end, it’s about quality furniture that’s made to endure and stand the test of time. Any furniture you see listed should be of exceptional quality – especially plastic, glass, and wood. 

Read user reviews, shop and compare prices, and read about the type of material quoted in the product specifications. 

Do your research and you can make an awesome outdoor patio this season for an investment less than the price of a mortgage payment!