Best Material for Outdoor Furniture & How to Protect It

23 March, 2017


When you purchase outdoor furniture, you expect it to withstand all of Mother Nature’s elements. If you buy the right materials and fabrics that are designed for use in hot, cold, humid, and dry conditions (including salty and chlorinated), then it will!

For standing the test of time, here are some great examples of materials and fabrics that you should look for in outdoor furniture.

Sturdy Materials

Cast Aluminum is created when molten metal is forced under high pressure into a mold cavity. It is lightweight which allows for easy moving.

Powder-Coated Aluminum is created when a dry, powdered paint is applied to aluminum. This produces a relatively hard, abrasion-resistant, and rust-free coating in any color.

Extruded Aluminum is so strong and stable (yet lightweight) that it is even used for components on the International Space Station!

Teak is a hard timber native to tropical south and southeast Asia. It is resistant to insects and warping and has such great natural water-repellent properties that it is often used in shipbuilding.

Synthetic Resin Wicker such as SolarFast is made from resins extracted from plant matter and is much more durable than natural wicker.

Molded ABS, Faux Wood, Stone, and Faux Stone with Synthetic Fibers are also sturdy outdoor materials.

Long-Lasting Fabrics

Sunbrella is a brand of outdoor fabric in which the woven fibers are 100% solution dyed acrylic. It is UV protected, great for all weather, fade resistant, breathable, quick to dry, and easy to maintain.

Polyurethane Coated Polyester is a highly resilient, supple, attractive fabric. It is also stain resistant and will remain cool on the surface even after sitting in the hot sun for long periods of time.

Vinyl is made of ethylene derived from natural gas and chlorine. It is plasticky which wears well and repels water under the most severe weather conditions.

Cleaning and Protecting

Although these outdoor fabrics are tough and able to withstand pretty much any weather Mother Nature can throw at them, it is still important to keep up on your furniture maintenance. When you properly clean and protect your furniture materials and fabrics, they will last for many seasons to come.

When not in use, especially during high winds, close your garden and patio umbrellas and put on their covers to keep them from getting damaged.

Regular rinsing with water is usually all that is needed to clean your furniture. When it is time for a deeper clean, use a mild soap or, even better, a multi-surface cleaner or patio furniture cleaning spray. Make sure you use the right one that will work on your specific surfaces.

A fabric guard spray will restore water repellency to cushions, pillows, and rugs and an outdoor protectant will repel smudges, dust, and stains.


Using covers when your furniture pieces are not in use over an extended period of time (such as during the winter or while you are on vacation) will keep them dry and looking vibrant. Covers will also help your furniture last as long as possible.

When looking for patio furniture covers, be sure the fabric is UV protected and also offers UV protection to the furniture they are covering. Also, air vents or mesh panels sewn into the design is very important in preventing mold and mildew from growing.

Look for covers that have secure velcro or elastic straps to keep them in place, even in windy conditions. Heavy-duty zippers will keep the water from leaking in.

With the right materials, fabrics, maintenance, and covers, your outdoor patio furniture will be hardwearing and comfortable for years to come!