Metal Garden Furniture
Metal Garden furniture is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability and maintenance free appeal. Metal garden furniture can be sub-categorised into 4 distinct groups; Wrought Iron, Aluminium, Stainless steel and Cast Aluminium.
Wrought Iron garden furniture was the original material used in manufacture. There have been some very ornate designs which have stood the test of time and this type of furniture still has an appeal to many. The disadvantages are its weight, often requiring two or more people to move larger pieces, and its susceptibility to rusting. Iron furniture is lavishly coated with a metallic paint designed to prevent rusting but once this coating has been penetrated, oxidisation will occur within a matter of days. Maintenance of wrought iron furniture is high and regular treatment with a wire brush followed by a new coating of metallic paint to counteract oxidisation is required.
Aluminium furniture is a fairly recent concept. It is a far lighter and lower maintenance alternative to Iron. The most common and cheaper method is to use extruded aluminium tubing. This is virtually maintenance free and very affordable. It is typically used in commercial setting such as bars and restaurants where price tends to be a more decisive factor than quality. The two main disadvantages are the lightness in weight which can cause problems on windy days and the strength, particularly the tubular arms and legs of tables and chairs.
Stainless steel garden furniture is not commonly used but it is very appealing particularly when combined with hard wood. Common designs are teak table tops and chairs with stainless steel legs. Stainless steel is virtually maintenance free apart for the occasional coat of polish. The disadvantages are the high cost of production and the fact that it cannot be painted or coated.
Cast Aluminium is a process where the garden furniture is created from a mould and usually mixed with sand to add weight and strength. It is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. It is virtually maintenance free, withstanding extremes of temperature, frost and ice. It is light enough to move around yet heavy enough not to be blown by the wind. It is normally powder coated in whatever colour you choose. The disadvantage are the poor adhesion qualities of metallic paint should you need to “touch up” due to scratching.
In recent years, manufacturers are producing combination designs using cast aluminium bodies with tubular arms and legs. This is a cost cutting measure in response to difficult market conditions. What you gain in cost saving is lost in the strength of the furniture.