Comparing Aluminum and Teak Outdoor Furniture
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
Here are the key differences between teak wood and aluminum outdoor furniture
The materials you choose for your outdoor furniture can truly make or break your space. With so many key considerations, like weather resistance, durability, maintenance and style, it can be challenging to determine which type of material is best for your outdoor living room. We’re diving into aluminum and teak outdoor furniture, including advantages, disadvantages, price and more, to help you design a beautiful outdoor living room that stands the test of time. This is your guide to outdoor furniture materials.
A guide to outdoor furniture materials
From aluminum vs. teak furniture to the best outdoor cushions for your outdoor living room, this is your guide to the best outdoor furniture materials to narrow down your search and enhance your outdoor living experience. We’re comparing aluminum and teak outdoor furniture, including appearance, durability and price.
Aluminum outdoor furniture
Aluminum is a highly-abundant metal material with a wide variety of uses, including manufacturing outdoor furniture, kitchen products (like cans, foil and kitchen utensils), power lines, cables, cars, airplanes, and much more. It is one of the least dense metals on the planet with the lightest weight, yet this metal is highly-durable, strong and weather resistant. These properties make aluminum an ideal material for designing quality outdoor furniture.
Aluminum furniture can be made of cast aluminum, or extruded aluminum. Cast aluminum furniture is made through a process of heating and melting aluminum, then shaping and molding it into the desired design. Extruded aluminum involves the process of melting metal, then pushing it through a shaped hole to produce hollow tubes that are then cut up and reassembled into furniture designs. Cast aluminum is generally used to create ornamental designs, while extruded aluminum is best for making furniture frames.
Aluminum material is very workable and can be made into almost any design or structure. Aluminum furniture can be painted and made to suit any design or style. A powder coating is often applied to aluminum furniture to give the material a smooth surface and improve its durability. The coating is a dry finish that makes powder-coated aluminum, found in all of Neighbor’s aluminum furniture, resistant to wear and tear, chipping, scratching and fading in the sun.
Aluminum is highly durable and weather-resistant. Especially with a powder coating, aluminum is resistant to corroding, rusting, chipping and cracking. Powder-coated aluminum furniture performs well in all environments. It’s difficult to break or bend aluminum furniture, which makes it ideal for high traffic living areas. Aluminum has a high strength to weight ratio. It’s also resistant to damage from UV rays and will not discolor or degrade in direct sunlight.
Aluminum outdoor furniture requires virtually no maintenance. Chairs or tables made from aluminum can be cleaned as needed with a mild soap and water solution. Aluminum is a naturally lightweight material, which can make it risky for backyards with strong winds. Good quality outdoor furniture is often reinforced with steel to make it more sturdy.
Because aluminum is highly abundant, aluminum furniture is typically more affordable than other types of furniture. Aluminum outdoor furniture is highly-accessible and often available at most furniture stores.
Aluminum outdoor furniture options
Aluminum can be used to manufacture almost any type of outdoor furniture, from patio dining sets to lounge chairs, outdoor tables, dining tables, and more. Poolside loungers often feature aluminum frames with cushions that are engineered to resist fading over time. Aluminum is often used as the frame material for furniture, due to its strength and ability to hold a lot of weight and ensure a durable structure.
An aluminum frame may be paired with plush outdoor cushions to create a comfortable yet durable seat. If you’re looking for top-quality aluminum outdoor furniture, you’ll want to check out Neighbor’s Terra lounge collection. From cozy sectionals to sleek coffee tables, the Terra collection has everything you need to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that’s sure to impress.
Teak outdoor furniture
While aluminum is one of the most popular types of metal used to manufacture outdoor furniture, teak wood is the gold standard of wood used to manufacture outdoor furniture. Teak wood lumber comes from teak wood trees called Tectona grandis.
These tall trees can grow up to 130 ft, live for more than 100 years, and are native to South and Southeast Asia. Teak wood has exceptional water-repellent qualities, due to its powerful natural oils. It was originally used for shipbuilding and is now used to design high-quality, long-lasting outdoor furniture.
Sustainably sourced and harvested teak wood comes from FSC-certified forests. Teak wood can also be harvested illegally and unsustainably, so it’s important to ensure that the furniture company you purchase from sources their teak wood from sustainable forests. At Neighbor, we only use teak wood that is FSC-certified to ensure that the harvesting process preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers. Sustainability is incredibly important to us.
Teak wood has a natural light, warm, golden-brown hue. It has a consistent, tight grain pattern that complements minimalist, modern design. Over time, teak wood furniture develops a beautiful, silvery-gray patina. While some people enjoy the rustic patina, others may choose to restore teak wood furniture to recover the original golden hue.
Teak wood is one of the most durable woods used to design outdoor furniture. This wood is naturally weather-resistant, and repels moisture, prevents rotting and decaying, naturally resists termites and other pests, and protects itself against UV damage. Teak furniture is not easily damaged and can last 75 years or more with proper care in any climate.
This high-quality wood furniture can stand strong in harsh climates, including extreme high temperatures, coastal regions, and areas with high winds. Teak is dense, strong and won’t blow away in strong winds.
Teak wood’s natural oils make it resistant to weather damage, which makes it low maintenance. Teak wood can simply be spot cleaned with a mild soap and water solution as-needed to clean spills, stains, dirt or dust. Due to its low maintenance qualities and natural oils, teak wood is a great material for outdoor dining tables, dining chairs and coffee tables. Learn more about how to clean and care for teak furniture.
Teak furniture is high-end and long-lasting, which can make it more expensive than other types of wood or metals used in outdoor furniture. However, purchasing teak furniture is an investment, as teak furniture pieces can out-live other types of outdoor furniture by decades.
Teak outdoor furniture options
Teak is featured in all types of outdoor furniture designs, including seats, tables, sectionals, sofas, sun loungers, and more. Teak furniture can be paired with plush Sunbrella® outdoor cushions to create a cozy outdoor living space that you can enjoy comfortably all year round.
Teak outdoor sectionals
Quality outdoor sectionals often feature real teak wood frames for a solid structure. Neighbor’s modern outdoor sectional is made with solid, Grade-A, kiln-dried sustainable teak. It can seat anywhere from 4 to 8 guests depending on the number of modules you choose, and comes with quick-drying foam cushions covered in Sunbrella acrylic fabric. Our teak sectionals are built for a long life outdoors, with marine-grade hardware and durable cushions that hold up in rain or shine (or kids and pets).
Teak outdoor dining sets
Teak wood makes for a low maintenance outdoor dining setup. Easily clean spills, stains and messes from surface without damaging teak wood and enjoy a comfortable, modern setup throughout all seasons. Neighbor’s outdoor dining set is designed for comfortable outdoor dining with a durable table made of solid FSC-certified teak wood, and chairs made of teak and all-weather woven rope. Our outdoor dining set can be made to seat 4, 6, or 8 people and features an easy-to-assemble, minimalist design.
Aluminum vs. teak: Which is best for your outdoor space?
There are a few key differences between teak wood furniture and aluminum furniture that may make either material better suited for your outdoor living space.
Other types of materials for outdoor furniture
Other materials used to design outdoor furniture include popular woods, like acacia wood and cedar, and other metals, like stainless steel and wrought iron. Rattan and wicker are also popular outdoor furniture choices, as well as olefin fabric and Sunbrella fabric for cushion covers. It’s important to know the pros and cons of each material type in order for you to make the best decision for your backyard, patio or balcony.
Like teak wood, acacia wood is a common material used to manufacture outdoor sectionals, sofas, dining tables, chairs and more. Acacia wood features a warm coloration with a variety of hues ranging from light yellow to dark brown. Acacia wood is derived from the acacia tree, which is native to tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions like Africa and Australia.
Durable, strong and water-repellant, acacia wood performs well outdoors and can last for decades with proper care. However, acacia wood is sensitive to extreme temperatures and should not reside near fireplaces or in areas with extreme heat. This can cause acacia wood furniture to warp and crack. When it comes to acacia wood vs. teak wood, teak wood is more durable in extreme weather conditions and will not splinter or warp like acacia wood will.
Cedar wood is a lightweight wood with a light to reddish-brown appearance. Common types of cedar used in outdoor furniture include white cedar and red cedar. Red cedar is considered stronger and more durable than white cedar, but both are used to manufacture outdoor benches, chairs, and patio sets. White cedar and red cedar are both sourced from the U.S. and Canada.
Cedar is naturally resistant to rot, decay, moisture, and insects. Cedar outdoor furniture can last for decades with proper maintenance. When it comes to cedar wood vs. teak wood, cedar wood is cheaper but far less durable than teak wood.
Stainless steel is about 3 times the weight of aluminum. It is frequently used to create metal frames for outdoor chairs, tables and patio sets. Stainless steel has a sleek, bright and lustrous appearance and is ideal for modern, industrial design styles.
Stainless steel that has a high chromium content will not rust or corrode, but some stainless steel materials with lower chromium content will rust and corrode. Unlike aluminum, stainless steel cannot be manipulated very easily and isn’t optimal for creating ornate designs. Steel is more expensive and heavier than aluminum.
Wrought iron is a heavy metal often used for outdoor benches, chairs and tables, particularly at restaurants or in public areas. Dense and strong, wrought iron furniture will not blow away in strong winds. However, wrought iron is not resistant to rusting or corroding. Paint tends to chip off of wrought iron furniture relatively easily, which can expose the iron beneath and cause it to rust. While wrought iron is heavy duty and dense, it can degrade and weaken in extreme weather conditions or areas that experience a lot of moisture.
Wrought iron outdoor furniture is not ideal in most climates. When it comes to aluminum vs. wrought iron, aluminum proves more durable with a higher resistance to rusting and corroding.
Real rattan is a furniture material made from solid timber vine native to tropical forests in Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Malay Archipelago. Rattan fibers are typically woven together into a wicker style to create indoor furniture and outdoor furniture, especially seating. Rattan is one of the least durable materials in outdoor furniture. Over time, rattan weaving can loosen and require difficult repairs to restore the woven material.
Rattan furniture requires regular maintenance to clean areas between the weaving, and prevent water damage and sun damage. Rattan is not waterproof and can rot and quickly degrade in humid regions or areas with regular rain. It’s not advisable that you leave rattan furniture outdoors. When it comes to rattan vs. teak, teak wood is a clear winner in durability, longevity, maintenance and care, comfort and weather resistance.
Types of outdoor fabrics
Outdoor fabrics can be used for furniture upholstery, cushion covers, awnings, umbrellas and furniture covers. Olefin and Sunbrella are the two most popular fabrics in the industry.
Sunbrella fabric is made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic. The solution-dye coloring process ensures that the fabric fibers are dyed in their entirety before weaving the fabric together, which prevents fading and ensures rich color even when exposed to UV rays.
All sunbrella fabrics come with a 5-year limited warranty. When compared to Olefin fabrics, the warranty depends on the individual distributor. At Neighbor, we use Sunbrella fabrics throughout our outdoor furniture collection. Sunbrella is the industry leader in outdoor fabrics, and the fabric durability and longevity are backed with a consistent warranty. </p>
Olefin fabric, also called polypropylene fiber, is a synthetic material made from chemicals ethylene and propylene. Olefin fabrics are highly-durable, abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, stain-resistant and suitable for all weather conditions. When compared to Sunbrella fabrics, olefin fabrics are generally cheaper, but they are also sensitive to extreme heat and should not remain outside in high temperatures.
Design your perfect outdoor space with quality furniture
We recognize that the choice between aluminum and teak wood furniture is not an easy one. Each material has its own unique strengths and advantages, making them both great options depending on your specific needs. Teak wood furniture is certainly a top contender in terms of beauty, comfort, and durability. It has a natural warmth and elegance that aluminum just can’t match, and it’s inviting in all seasons and climates. On the other hand, aluminum furniture is more lightweight and easier to move around, and it won’t conduct heat like teak wood does, making it a practical choice for hot climates.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual preferences and priorities. If you value style and longevity, teak wood is a solid choice. If practicality and ease of use are your top concerns, aluminum might be the way to go. So do your research, consider your options, and choose the material that works best for you and your outdoor space.
If you’re interested in knowing more about teak outdoor furniture, check out our teak outdoor furniture buying guide for everything you need to know before making a purchase. Read reviews from happy customers and shop our collection to start designing the backyard you’ve always dreamed of.