Frame Material Guide

Outdoor Furniture - Material Buying Guide

The materials that will be used in your outdoor furniture will play a key component to the functionality, aesthetic and longevity of your outdoor furniture investment. Outdoor living layouts should be considered in determining the true amount of exposure to sun, wind, rain and temperature variances furniture must withstand.

Most high-quality outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements of nature; thus, you should expect years of use from your patio furniture. Rocky Mountain Patio Furniture would like to provide an overview of the most commonly used materials in patio furnishing construction. We consider assisting you in identifying the most appropriate furniture materials for your outdoor oasis an integral part our customer service commitment. This is to serve as a general overview, please contact our product specialists for additional information.

   Aluminum  | SteelIron | WoodWicker | Recycled Plastic

 Aluminum aluminum-2.jpg

Aluminum is in general a highly durable material.  Aluminum naturally absorbs heat, so it is recommended to choose pieces that offer cushion seating and are finished in an UV-resistant, rust resistant powder coating.  While it doesn’t rust, it will eventually oxidize and salt water environments will “speed” the oxidization.

There are two primary types of aluminum construction and it is important to understand the difference between the two.

Extruded Aluminum

Extruded aluminum is hollow aluminum that has been pushed through a machine that folds it into a tubular or square shape. 

Benefits: Extremely durable, rust resistant, very light weight, often very affordable

Average Life Span: 10 or more years

Cast Aluminum

Cast aluminum is solid aluminum construction.

Benefits: Extremely durable, rust resistant, highly stable in windy environments due to heavy weight

 Average Life Span: 15 or more years


Steel  steel-small-pic-2.jpg

Steel furniture tends to be heavier than aluminum furniture however lighter than iron. Steel conducts heat so it is recommended to choose pieces that offer cushion seating. There are two primary types of steel furniture construction, which is very important to know if you are furnishing near a seaside or salt water area.  Both types should be treated with a powder coating to increase lifespan.

Galvanized Steel

Benefits: Coated with a thin layer of zinc that helps guard against corrosion. Stands up well to water exposure—if it’s not salt water (not suited for areas near salt water)

Average Life Span: 15 or more years

Stainless Steel

Benefits: Made by adding chromium to molten steel increasing its resistance to rust; Can be used in salt water environments, however not recommended around pools or hot tubs as chlorine damages its protective coating

Average Life Span: 15 or more years


Iron  iron-small-pic-2.jpg

Wrought iron is made up of iron and a mix of cast iron or steel.  Wrought iron patio furniture is able to withstand extreme weather conditions and is incomparable to wicker or plastic furniture which tend to fade when exposed to harsh climatic conditions.

Benefits: Withstands tremendous amount of weight; it does not wear out, can include intricate designs and scrolling patters; is timeless

Average Life Span: 25 or more years

 Wood  wood-small-pic-right.jpg

Wood is the most common material for quality outdoor furniture. Wood materials often used in outdoor furnishings includes teak, bamboo, oak, cedar, acacia and eucalyptus. Teak is the most hardy of the woods and if well cared for, able to last a lifetime.

Benefits: Can be used finished or unfinished state; does not absorb heat like metal materials; can easily be painted for updating a color palette

 Average Life Span: 15 or more years


Wicker  wicker-small-pic-2.jpg

The term “wicker” refers to the woven style in which the furniture is made, not the material used. Resin wicker is typically made with thin strands of PVC, nylon, polyethylene, or high-density polyethylene. It looks similar to natural wicker but is much easier to care for. It is naturally water-resistant, so it will not develop mold or mildew.

Benefits: Wicker resin resistant to rain, it can withstand humidity, hail storms, extreme cold, and intense heat. Other materials, such as aluminum are not able to withstand every type of damaging weather. It is an affordable, high quality option.

Average Lifespan: 10 or more years


Recycled Plastics  recycled-plastic-3.jpg

Recycled plastic (also called poly lumber) is made from recycled milk jugs that are converted into recycled plastic lumber. It is extremely strong and durable. And best of all, most recycled plastic is made to resemble wood but requires none of the care wood does.

Benefits: UV stabilized colored plastic with a solid color throughout that will not fade; is impervious to salt water, is lightweight, resistant to moisture, rotting, and cracking

Average Lifespan: 10 or more years

To explore patio furnishing options, visit Rocky Mountain Patio Furniture where you can browse collections or connect with a product specialist.