Cast Aluminium vs other types of Garden Furniture
Cast Aluminium is the only truly maintenance free material use in the manufacture of outdoor furniture. Aluminium is a non rusting metal which can be powder coated in any colour .The coating will not fade or peel. You can leave your furniture outside all year and it will still look like new many years later. It will even withstand a hard frost. You may wash it down with warm soapy water to clean it and it will even withstand a pressure wash. If your cast aluminium furniture is to be assembled, it is important to use stainless steel fixings to avoid any rusting or deterioration of the fixings. There is no need to cover Cast Aluminium furniture when not in use
Cast Iron can look very ornate and it certainly would not blow away in the wind. However, it will rust after a few months left outside and it is very heavy to move around. It requires a lot of maintenance and should be repainted regularly
Wicker A popular choice of material is all weather wicker, also known as rattan. This is also a very durable material which should last a long time. However, over time the colour will fade in the sunlight and the furniture could distort with temperature change and frost. It is not advisable to leave this out all year round. Another downside to this type of furniture is the small grooves in the weave which can trap crumbs and bits of food. There are two types of all weather wicker and the prices and quality vary enormously. The stronger, more expensive, designs are made using cylindrical weave whereas the cheaper, more flexible designs utilise a flat weave. Covering the furniture is advisable as it is very difficult to clean once the dirt gets in between the grooves.
Teak used to be the favourite choice when purchasing garden furniture but in recent years, people’s buying habits have changed. Teak looks lovely when it is new and, being a durable hardwood, it will last a long time. However, after a couple of months the colour will change to a silvery grey and splits and cracks may appear in the wood. Some people choose to sand down and stain the teak to try and keep the original colour. Once done, this process needs to be repeated on a regular basis. It is advisable to cover Teak furniture when not in use but it is important to ensure that the wood is completely dry before doing so as trapping damp in the furniture could do more harm than good.
Hardwood is the cheapest material used in outdoor furniture. It is a good choice for those on a budget who are happy to change their furniture every couple of years. It requires regular sanding down and staining if it is not covered or put away during winter. It is also prone to splitting and warping due to exposure to sunlight and temperature change.