One of the best ways to maximize your outdoor space is to add furniture. Outdoor seating creates opportunities to entertain guests or to get your family to spend more time in the open air. As you consider what type of material you want, be sure to take a close look at wood furniture. With its visual appeal and durability, wood is a popular choice for patio seating and tables.
The Aesthetic Appeal of Wood
Knots, varied textures, weathering, and varying coloring make wood visually interesting. Because it is versatile, wood patio furniture comes in styles ranging from rustic to modern. Unrefined pieces that are reminiscent of logs blend seamlessly with patios that boast wildflowers and natural landscaping. At the other end of the spectrum, wood benches and chaise lounge chairs can have defined lines and a sleek finish. The modern pieces integrate effortlessly with a Zen-like patio setting or a home with contemporary architecture.
Wood Is Durable
When shopping for wood patio furniture, think about durability and rot resistance. Woods that are naturally resistant to rot include California redwood, teak, ipe, and bald cypress. To create a natural defense against rot, these trees produce and hold onto a chemical that repels bugs and other organisms that contribute to decomposition. In contrast, black locust and white oak have physical barriers in their pores to prevent moisture and organisms from entering the wood structure, making them naturally rot-resistant.
If you want the highest-quality seating and tables, we recommend buying furniture made from center-cut lumber. We also suggest looking for consistent grain, which is a sign of high-quality wood. Unlike other materials that rust or deteriorate because of weather exposure, most wood handles weathering exceptionally well.
Try Eco-friendly Acacia
Anyone who wants an environmentally friendly wood should opt for furniture made from acacia. Because the tree grows predominantly in some areas, many people in land management consider it to be an invasive species. However, acacia is a hardwood that’s so tough that even boat manufacturers use it. In addition to being long-lasting, this wood retains its deep brown appearance when you apply sealant. If you buy unfinished acacia, expect its rich color to fade if the wood is constantly exposed to dampness.
Put Teak Furniture to the Test
When it comes to outdoor wood furniture, it’s difficult to beat the appearance and durability of teak. Due to its unique properties, it doesn’t swell, holds off decay and rot, and retains its strength over time. Not even water can harm teak, because it repels moisture. With its light brown hue and golden highlights, teak has a stunning appearance that works well in most contemporary and traditional patio settings. Expect to do some maintenance: The wood requires treatment with teak oil. Most teak used in patio furniture comes from managed land.
Check Out Shorea as an Affordable Option
If you like teak furniture but can’t handle the price tag, take a look at seating and tables made from Shorea, a genus that includes nearly 200 trees, including Philippine mahogany and lauan. Like teak, Shorea is long-lasting. Furniture made from Shorea stands up well to challenging weather and daily use. Thanks to its tight grain, this hardwood is dense and tough and won’t succumb to bugs and decay. With an appearance similar to teak, Shorea benefits from a yearly application of teak oil. Failing to use the oil allows the wood to lose its golden sheen and become gray.
Go Red With Redwood
While Shorea and teak offer a golden-brown appearance, redwood has a distinctive crimson shade that makes it an attractive choice for deck furniture. Harvested from sequoias, redwood doesn’t lose its appearance with weathering and remains strong. With its natural abilities to fend off rot and insects, redwood is a stable material that won’t warp, swell, or shrink.
If you expect to put your patio furniture through the wringer, you may want to stay away from redwood. Because it is soft, this wood easily suffers scratches and dents. Another potential drawback is its ability to stain. Unsealed redwood transfers its tannins onto skin and clothing. To alleviate this concern, simply use a coat of clear sealant on all your redwood furniture.
Select Cypress for Its Durability
Thanks to its ability to create a preservative, cypress keeps out bugs and decay. You can enjoy furniture made from cypress with or without a finish. When you choose not to finish cypress, expect it to turn gray as it weathers. If graying is a problem, simply apply a clear finish to the wood. Unfinished cypress benefits greatly from oil, so apply it to maintain an optimal appearance. As weather patterns shift and temperatures change, cypress remains stable, allowing for almost no swelling and shrinking.
Even though cypress is a well-loved wood for outdoor furniture, it’s challenging to find tables and chairs made from this tree. There are not many mature cypress stands left, so the wood is in short supply.
Consider Furniture Made From Cedar and Pine
Cedar and pine are popular choices for outdoor furniture makers who like working with softwoods. Consumers love these woods because chairs, tables, and other furniture made from cedar and pine last for many years. Because cedar is lightweight, it’s an excellent material for patio furniture that you need to move frequently. A resin inside the cedar enables it to resist decomposition and insects. With its tendency to hold on to water, cedar is less likely to crack than many other woods.
As they’re exposed to the elements, cedar and pine mellow from a yellowish brown to a silver tone. However, if you prefer to avoid this transition, you can stain and paint these woods. Like cypress, these woods dent and nick more easily than hardwoods. When buying pine, opt for lumber that has been pressure-treated to ensure that the wood maintains its appearance.
As you shop for wood patio furniture, opt for pieces that have stainless steel or zinc-plated screws. Having screws holding your furniture together allows you to tighten them easily if they loosen over time.
Any questions about wood patio furniture? Ask us in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to help!