What Type Of Outdoor Furniture Is Most Durable?
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
What to consider when choosing outdoor furniture that will last
When it comes to the furniture in your outdoor space, durability is key. You want furniture that can withstand all weather conditions in your area year-round, while still elevating the look of your outdoor space and providing indoor-level comfort. This is your guide to the most durable types of outdoor furniture. We’ll discuss different outdoor furniture materials, how to choose sustainable furniture suited to your climate, and feature some popular patio furniture options for outdoor dining and lounging.
What makes outdoor furniture durable?
Outdoor furniture is made to live outdoors, exposed to the elements. For your outdoor living room to remain undamaged, comfortable and attractive year-round, it has to be made of highly durable materials and feature a weather-friendly design.
Durable outdoor furniture materials, like teak wood, recycled plastic, concrete, aluminum, and solution-dyed acrylic outdoor fabric, are strong and have natural oils or other properties that repel water, resist mold and mildew, and can withstand lasting UV ray exposure. Both synthetic materials and natural materials make for some of the best outdoor furniture materials that are water-resistant, low-maintenance for easy cleaning, high-quality and sustainable with a long lifespan.
A weather-friendly design helps prevent damage from the elements. A sloped or slatted design can support water flow so that rain drains off, instead of pooling and settling on the surface. All screws, bolts, and fasteners should be rust-resistant and able to handle the shifting temperatures and moisture levels of the environment.
The assembly should also be solid and able to withstand heavy winds or other external forces. At Neighbor, our outdoor furniture pieces feature marine-grade hardware made to withstand exposure to the open ocean, and strong joints that ensure secure structures through all weather conditions.
Different outdoor furniture materials
Plastic can be a highly durable, sturdy and low-maintenance material in outdoor furniture. Synthetic materials, such as High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), are designed to be weather-resistant. They’re lightweight and won't fade, crack, or splinter in the sun or rain. HDPE is incredibly resilient. It can handle the wear and tear of regular use without breaking down or becoming damaged over time. With proper care, outdoor furniture made from HDPE can last for decades.
To maintain the durability of plastic furniture, you can easily clean this material with a simple hose-down or by wiping it with a damp cloth. Clean your plastic furniture regularly with mild soap and water. For a deeper clean, you can use a pressure washer, but be sure to use a low setting so you don’t damage the surface.
It’s also important to keep in mind that plastic furniture can be sensitive to sunlight and heat, so try to keep it out of direct sunlight and higher temperatures to avoid warping or discoloration. If you must place your furniture in a sunny area, consider investing in UV-resistant coatings or covers to provide some extra protection.
Best plastic furniture options
POLYWOOD plastic is sustainable, comfortable, and highly durable. It is made with ocean and landfill-bound HDPE plastic that is waterproof, fade-resistant and maintenance-free. Neighbor’s Adirondack low chair features recycled plastic from POLYWOOD and is the perfect item for kicking back and lounging in comfort.
Wood has a naturally beautiful aesthetic as well as a natural strength that makes for some of the most durable outdoor furniture. However, not all types of wood are ideal for outdoor furniture. Natural hardwoods like teak wood, ipe wood and acacia wood have natural, weather-resistant properties that enable these wood furniture pieces to withstand the elements. Softer woods such as untreated pine wood, cedar, and spruce wood have poor rot and weather resistance and do not create durable outdoor furniture.
At Neighbor, our favorite wood for outdoor furniture use is teak. Solid teak wood contains natural oils that repel water, resist rot, protect the wood against UV rays and repel pests. Teak wood also has a natural beauty ideal for a modern, contemporary outdoor living room design. Starting out with a warm, golden hue and eventually lightening to a beautiful silvery-gray patina, teak wood offers the best of both worlds in terms of durability and beauty.Maintenance
Maintaining teak wood’s durability through the seasons is simple. Teak wood furniture can be cleaned as-needed with a mild soap and water solution along with a sponge or soft-bristle brush. The best way to maintain your teak furniture's durability is by covering your pieces with a protective furniture cover during extreme weather conditions. This provides teak wood with the additional protection it needs to resist damage. Learn more about cleaning your teak wood furniture.
Best wood furniture options
Neighbor offers a wide range of real teak wood furniture for any climate or exposure to elements in any area of the world. From our teak low chair and teak outdoor sectionals to our teak outdoor coffee table and dining table with weather-friendly slats designed to support water flow, Neighbor’s teak wood furniture can withstand exposure to strong winds, UV rays, salt water and rain. Our teak seating collection is paired with all-weather-resistant cushion covers from Sunbrella. Sunbrella cushion covers feature 100% solution-dyed acrylic that repels water, mold and mildew growth, won’t fade in the sun, and maintains its robust color year-round.
Like different woods, some metals are ideal for outdoor furniture, while others do not have weather-resistant properties necessary for elemental exposure. Iron, and other metals that include iron, are naturally strong, but they can rust and corrode and therefore do not make for durable outdoor furniture. Wrought iron furniture and cast iron furniture are also high-maintenance, dense and heavy, and are not ideal for a long life outdoors. On the other hand, aluminum and some types of stainless steel with low chromium content won’t rust or corrode outdoors and can be exposed to any type of weather (including marine coasts) without being damaged. Aluminum and stainless steel are highly-durable outdoor furniture materials.
Weather-resistant metals are easy to maintain with a simple wiping down, and a mild soap and water solution. Cleaning metal furniture as-needed as well as one to two times per year will prolong their lifespan and help them maintain a clean, sleek appearance. While stainless steel is a heavier material that won’t blow away in the wind, aluminum furniture is lightweight and should be secured during heavy winds. If you live in an area with persistent heavy winds reaching your balcony or backyard area, look for aluminum furniture made with reinforced steel.
Best metal furniture options
Furniture made out of stainless steel or aluminum can be cold during winter months, as metal is an excellent thermal conductor. If you want to make your outdoor living space into a warm and inviting area, metal furniture may not be the most ideal option for seating. However, some aluminum outdoor furniture is designed to accommodate comfortable cushions like our Terra Collection. You always add plush Sunbrella cushions, throw pillows and blankets to your setup to add warmth. If you have an outdoor kitchen or dining area, stainless steel is an excellent, highly-durable material for kitchen tabletops and surfaces. Neighbor’s furniture features stainless steel metal hardware that won’t rust, corrode or degrade in extreme weather or with regular use.
Wicker is a popular choice in outdoor furniture. This material is lightweight, making it easy to move and rearrange wicker furniture as needed. Wicker furniture is also relatively inexpensive and available in most furniture stores. While wicker holds some advantages in outdoor furniture, it is not the most durable. Wicker is made from woven materials, including natural materials like willow, rattan and bamboo, but can also be made from a synthetic material called resin wicker. Natural wicker is not weather-resistant, will rot and degrade over time, and quickly incurs damage from high traffic or wear and tear. However, synthetic resin wicker made from HDPE materials can withstand harsh conditions while maintaining its strength.
Natural wicker furniture should remain indoors. To maintain synthetic wicker furniture made from HDPE or other high-quality synthetic materials, these pieces can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution. It can also be vacuumed to pull debris out of the woven material. Wicker furniture is prone to cracking and fading over time and should be sealed, and stored in a dry place when not in use for extended periods of time.
Best wicker furniture options
Chairs, tables and conversation sets are often made of resin wicker. They come in a variety of colors. When looking for the most durable outdoor furniture materials for your space, there are other materials (like wood and recycled plastic) that are superior to wicker in performance, maintenance and design.
Wicker furniture requires more care and maintenance to prevent damage from the elements. This material is also not as versatile in design as other materials. Wicker generally has a traditional-style that can sometimes contrast against more modern and minimalist furniture pieces.
Key considerations for outdoor dining
There are a few factors to consider when deciding on the best furniture materials for outdoor dining. Weather-resistance, weight, comfort, maintenance and appearance are important considerations when designing an inviting outdoor dining space that resembles your indoor dining room.
Outdoor dining tables, chairs and cushions should be made with the elements in mind. Ideally, you don’t have to store your outdoor dining set inside when the rain comes or winds start picking up. Metals like iron that rust and corrode in wet conditions won’t make it through many rainy seasons without changing color and degrading. Woods that don’t repel water will quickly rot and render your outdoor dining table unusable. In terms of weather resistance, teak wood and powder-coated aluminum takes the cake in any climate. Teak wood is water-repellant and rot-resistant, and powder-coated aluminum is easy to clean and weather-resistant.
Lightweight dining sets can blow away in the wind. Lighter materials like recycled plastic may take flight and become hazardous to nearby homes or people in strong winds. Dining furniture pieces made of dense, heavy metals won’t be affected by heavy winds, but they’ll likely be a hassle to move on the fly.
Whether you want to rearrange your dining setup, pull up an additional chair for a guest or move your entire dining set to accommodate a new patio layout, heavy furniture (like pieces made of iron) may not be ideal. In terms of weight that is heavy enough to stand strong but easy enough to move, wood and reinforced aluminum is the winner.
Your dining table and chairs should comfortably seat your guests for dinner, as well as an after-dinner conversation or drinks. You want to use your dining area as long as possible, not be forced back indoors when your guests’ legs and backs start hurting. What’s most important in determining comfort is looking for quality design and materials like fiber-fill, quick-dry foam and Sunbrella cushions.
Cleaning your outdoor dining set should be a relatively quick and easy process. The materials used in a durable dining table and chairs should repel spills and stains, instead of absorbing substances or leaving water rings. You won’t want to use your outdoor dining space if it requires a hefty cleaning process after each meal or event. Durable outdoor dining furniture can be cleaned with a simple soap and water mixture that won’t cause the material to rust or corrode, or leave marks behind. The most low maintenance outdoor dining materials are aluminum and recycled HDPE plastic.
Outdoor dining sets serve a functional purpose, but they also serve an aesthetic purpose. Ideally, your outdoor dining area resembles your indoor dining area in style and design. Your dining area can be comfortable and durable with a beautiful, appealing design. Modern outdoor furniture is versatile and compatible with almost any type of style. Opt for a modern outdoor dining set that reflects your personal style and is easily redesigned or repositioned to accommodate changes in your patio layout or changes in design preferences. When it comes to design, style and overall appearance, wood brings warmth to your backyard while elevating your outdoor living space with indoor-level sophistication.
Based on durability, performance and maintenance, teak wood is known as the best material for outdoor dining. Outdoor dining furniture must be able to withstand the elements, including sun, rain and wind, stand strong through the inevitable stains, spills and messes that come with eating and drinking, and complement or reinvent your outdoor design.
Neighbor offers a teak dining set with both durable teak wood chairs and a teak outdoor dining table to immediately enhance your outdoor dining experience. Or you can purchase our teak dining table and teak outdoor dining chairs separately. Our dining chairs feature all-weather woven rope for a comfortable, strong seat. With a curvy wishbone arm and back rest, our outdoor dining chairs bring elevated style to the outdoors. Neighbor's durable teak outdoor dining table is available with seating for 4, 6 or 8 people. With easy assembly and a minimalist design, our teak dining table is practical for any backyard space.
Sustainable and durable outdoor furniture
We’re passionate about sustainability and good design. All of the teak wood in our outdoor furniture collection is sustainably-sourced from FSC-certified forests, which ensures that it meets strict standards for responsible forest management. We design outdoor furniture that doesn’t compromise on beauty, durability, sustainability or comfort. We choose to use the most durable materials for long-lasting outdoor furniture that won’t have to be replaced for decades with proper care. From comfortable outdoor seating to durable outdoor dining, our sectionals, tables and chairs are the perfect addition to any backyard, patio, balcony or garden. Neighbor is proud to be featured #1 on Living Cozy's list of "21 Best Outdoor Furniture Brands for 2023".