Planning Your Outdoor Wood Furniture

Wood outdoor furniture can be a lovely addition to your outside living areas and something to be proud of when entertaining friends and family. Sometimes you may consider metal, plastic or synthetic furniture, but outdoor furniture made of natural wood provides unsurpassed beauty and elegance.

The reality is while all wood furniture looks great when you first put it outdoors, most woods, especially softer woods, will begin to crack and eventually splinter and break during the harsh winter months. Not all woods are strong and weather resistant enough to last long in wind, rain, snow and other weather but I will get to that momentarily.

First off, when selecting the type of wood outdoor furniture, you might want to consider these important factors:

How durable must your furniture be? What will it be used for, how often, etc…
What is the landscape of your outdoor surface? Choose based on your surface outdoors, i.e. grass, trees, rocks…
The climate will matter, will your furniture be subjected to harsh hot and humid summer days? or northern dry sub-zero climates?

Most woods can’t handle outdoor exposure, but those that can are remarkably sturdy. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common types of wood selected for outdoor furniture

Mahogany

Mahogany is a very popular wood that gets darker over time and has a red glow after being polished. The downside is it can be a bit on the high end in terms of cost.

Redwood

Redwood primarily comes from trees in the northwest U.S. and is very resistant to moisture and decay. It is lightweight and valued for its beauty. Because redwood lacks resin, it is also resistant to fire.

Rattan

Rattan furniture is made from palms and is a slender reed-like tree most commonly used in chairs and baskets. Wicker, the synthetic outdoor material, is generally modeled to look and feel like Rattan.

Cedar

Cedar is relatively soft when compared to the other outdoor woods. It can absorb moisture, allowing it to handle moist environments without rotting. Also, the wood and oil of cedar are natural repellents to moths. Cedar will turn a lovely silver-gray as it ages and you can leave it out in the elements for its lifetime. One of the great things about cedar is you can leave it untreated because it won’t shrink or become warped over time.

Teak

Teak is a wonderful hardwood that you’ll often find on the deck of sailing boats and yachts. It contains natural oils that make it resistant to decay, insects, and bacteria. It is durable with or without oil or varnish treatment. It can withstand changes in weather and seasons. It is a hard, strong and beautiful wood that is sturdy, and doesn’t rot even when paired with metal. Teak is also simple to carve for creative designs in your patio furniture. However, teak’s long growth period of 50 or so years has made it more expensive and harder to find. If you don’t treat the teak it will go from its initial warm honey color to a silver-gray patina over time.

These woods hold long-lasting beauty and any furniture made of these three kinds of wood make a striking addition to any yard.

Other less common woods to consider in outdoor furniture are balau, Brazilian cherry, eucalyptus, ipe, iroko, Jarra and kempas, all alternative woods that are slowly becoming more popular over time. Regardless of which material you use, make sure it is made by a quality furniture store that excels in providing weather-resistant furniture. You want to enjoy the furniture for years to come!