Everything You Need to Know Before Buying Outdoor Metal Furniture

Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |

Explore key considerations when investing in outdoor metal furniture, from material durability and maintenance to style and comfort.

terra sectional with end table

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying Outdoor Metal Furniture

If you’re in search of furniture that can withstand the elements while adding a touch of elegance to your backyard or balcony, look no further than outdoor metal furniture. Metal, in its various forms, offers durability, strength, style, and the low maintenance that we often need for outdoor settings.

That being said, not all metal furniture is created equal. There are different types of metal, each varying in quality, resistance, and aesthetic appeal. In the world of all-weather patio furniture, whether it be a dining set, in-line outdoor table, or plush sofa, understanding these variations can be crucial. So, before you invest your hard-earned money in outdoor metal furniture, let’s take a deeper dive into the different types of metal frames available along with their pros and cons.

Types of Metals Commonly Used for Outdoor Furniture

When it comes to metal outdoor furniture, there are several metals, each offering unique characteristics and benefits.


First off, let’s talk about aluminum outdoor furniture. This lightweight and durable metal stands up well to rust and corrosion, making it a popular choice for wetter climates. The lightness of aluminum allows for easy rearrangement, perfect for those who frequently revamp their outdoor layouts. However, its lightweight nature could be a drawback in gusty climates where furniture might need to resist windy weather.

Terra chairs in olive


Steel is another prominent player in the outdoor furniture market, renowned for its strength and durability. Just like a trusty barstool or a sturdy patio chair, it is relatively low-maintenance, freeing you to focus more on enjoying your outdoor space. The heft of steel provides stability but can be a potential downside for those who prefer to move and rearrange their furniture regularly. And despite its overall durability, without proper treatment or coating, steel might be susceptible to rust in damp climates.

Wrought Iron

Turning our attention to wrought iron, this metal is often associated with a classic and timeless aesthetic. The inherent weight and durability of wrought iron make it a long-lasting choice for outdoor furniture, while its ability to be crafted into ornate designs provides an element of traditional charm. However, its weight might be a downside for those who like frequently shifting their furniture setup. Also, while robust, wrought iron does require a regular maintenance schedule to prevent rusting and maintain its appearance.

Cast Iron

Then, there’s cast iron. This metal, similar to wrought iron in durability and weight, is known for its unique, intricate designs. Cast iron furniture is a go-to for anyone looking to make a strong style statement in their outdoor space. It stands up well against the elements, but it can be quite heavy, making it less ideal for those who enjoy changing their outdoor layout often. Despite its durability, it can also still rust if left uncovered in a wet environment.

Other Metals

Of course, the metal family extends beyond these options. Metals such as copper, brass, and stainless steel also feature prominently in outdoor furniture, each offering unique properties. Copper and brass, for instance, bring a distinctive aesthetic, aging to a lovely patina that adds character to your outdoor space. However, they can require specific maintenance to prevent verdigris.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, gives a sleek, modern look. It stands out with its durability and resistance to corrosion but may require routine cleaning to prevent unsightly smudges and fingerprints. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of metal helps you choose the right outdoor furniture that caters to your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle requirements.

terra side table

Pros and Cons of Using Metal Furniture Outdoors

Just like with any material, using metal furniture outdoors has both advantages and disadvantages, all of which are essential to consider before making a purchase. On the plus side, one of the primary benefits of metal furniture is its durability and longevity. It’s sturdy and weather resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use. In addition, metal furniture requires low maintenance and is easy to clean. Plus, it offers a variety of stylish design options, ranging from sleek and modern to ornate and decorative.

However, it’s not entirely smooth sailing. Some drawbacks of metal furniture include its potential for corrosion and rust, especially if not appropriately cared for or finished with rust-resistant applications like a powder-coating. In addition, some types of metal like wrought iron furniture can retain heat, making them uncomfortable to sit on during hot weather if not covered. Metal furniture can also be heavy and challenging to move around, and might be expensive compared to other materials.

Choosing the Right Metal Furniture for Your Outdoor Space

When it comes to selecting the right metal furniture for your outdoor space, there are several factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, you’ll need to think about your climate and the weather conditions your furniture will be exposed to. If you live in an area with high humidity or saltwater exposure, aluminum furniture may be the best, most durable option due to its resistance to rust and corrosion. On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh winters or frequent rain, steel or wrought iron furniture may be more suitable due to its strength and durability.

But it’s not just about durability — design matters too! Think about your style preferences and choose a type of metal furniture that complements the look and feel of your outdoor space. Metal furniture styles can range from ornate to simple, or from classic to modern. Metal furniture also often comes in many different colorways from traditional black and white to colorful blues, reds, greens, and yellows. Look for furniture that uses powder-coated colors as this extra finish helps protect the furniture from rust in addition to giving it the look that you want.  Our new Terra collection exclusively uses powder-coated materials.

Finally, you should consider the weight and portability of the furniture, especially if you plan to move it around frequently.

metal chairs in multiple colors

Care and Maintenance Tips for Long-Lasting Metal Furniture

One of the best ways to ensure that your outdoor metal furniture lasts for a long time is to give it proper care and maintenance. This includes regular cleaning with mild soap and water, which can go a long way in keeping your furniture looking its best. It’s also important to protect your furniture from the elements, especially during harsh weather conditions. You can do this by covering the furniture with a waterproof cover or storing it indoors when it’s not in use.

At times, your metal furniture might show signs of wear and tear. When this happens, you may need to refinish it. This involves sanding down the surface and applying a new coat of paint or finish to protect it from further damage. And thankfully, it’s not difficult to learn how to paint outdoor metal furniture if you choose to go down that route.

Different Styles and Designs Available in Metal Furniture

Outdoor metal furniture comes in a wide variety of styles and designs, making it easy to find the perfect fit for any outdoor area. From modern and sleek designs for those who prefer a clean and contemporary look, to more traditional and ornate options for those with a taste for the classic, there is something for everyone.

For example, metal furniture with simple lines and minimal detailing is a popular choice for those who prefer a modern aesthetic. On the other hand, those who favor a more traditional aesthetic may opt for metal furniture with ornate detailing, such as intricate scrollwork or embellishments.

In addition, the finish and color of the metal can also greatly affect the look of the furniture. You can choose from natural metals like copper and stainless steel, or opt for painted or powder-coated options in a variety of colors.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right outdoor metal furniture can be an exciting journey, especially once you're equipped with the right knowledge. Understanding the types of metal available, from lightweight tubular aluminum to sturdy steel or ornate wrought iron, allows you to make an informed choice that aligns with your outdoor setting and personal style preferences.

However, selecting the perfect piece is just the beginning. Ensuring proper care and maintenance is critical for your furniture’s longevity and continued aesthetic appeal. From regular cleaning to using protective covers and occasionally refinishing the surface, a little effort can go a long way in preserving your investment. Ultimately, the right outdoor metal furniture can transform your outdoor space into a stylish and comfortable haven that the entire family can enjoy for many years to come.

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