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Best Material for Outdoor Furniture & How to Protect It

Best Material for Outdoor Furniture & How to Protect It
By RST Brands
March 22, 2017

The best material for outdoor furniture is sturdy materials like cast aluminum, teak, and synthetic resin wicker, as well as long-lasting fabrics like polyester or vinyl. When you're looking to invest in outdoor furniture for your backyard space, you want something that will stand the test of time. When it comes to standing the test of time, these are the best materials for outdoor furniture

Durable Outdoor Furniture Material

Most outdoor furniture will have both a structural element and a second element for comfort or convenience, such as a cushion or cover. We'll focus first on the structural elements, which should be made from materials that won't rust, mold, deteriorate, or malfunction when exposed to the natural weather forces. Then we'll discuss long-lasting outdoor furniture fabrics, which should be used to make couch cushions, chair pads, or outdoor furniture covers. There are a few fabrics that stand out above the rest as materials that won't fade, rip, or mold.

Synthetic Resin Wicker

Synthetic wicker is different from rattan, though both are good options for outdoor furniture. Synthetic resin comes in cheap PVC versions or High-Density Polyethylene. The latter is the preferred choice, since it's a higher-end material that will last much longer.


Teak can be left outside all year long and lasts 50 years or more without any major signs of wear and tear. Teak can be extremely heavy, however, and does require cleaning and a sealant coat to protect the color.

Cast Aluminum

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

This material 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

This type of aluminum is so strong and stable (yet lightweight) that it is even used for components on the International Space Station.


This brand of outdoor fabric is popular for its UV protection and all-weather qualities. This means the fabric will never fade in the bright sun, is quick to dry, and easy to care for.

Polyurethane Coated Polyester

One of the most beautiful fabric options for outdoor furniture, polyurethane-coated polyester is a great option for those who place importance on the aesthetics and feel of their outdoor chairs and couches. This material is soft and moves easily, so it mimics luxurious fabrics you'd find on an indoor furniture piece.


Choose vinyl if you're looking for something to withstand even the most severe weather, like hail storms, snow, and high winds. Vinyl is a thick material that will repel water easily.

Cleaning and Protecting

Though all of the outdoor materials mentioned above are lower maintenance than any indoor fabric, some of them do still require a little maintenance. Putting in a little effort every few days or weeks will ensure that your outdoor furniture lasts as long as possible in peak condition. Here are some general tips:

  • Close patio umbrellas when not in use so they don't get damaged by the wind
  • Rinse down furniture with an outdoor hose on a regular basis. If you see layers of dirt or grime on your furniture, use a mild surface cleaner or soap to wipe clean
  • Use a fabric spray guard to prevent future buildup and restore water repellency
  • Use furniture covers to prolong the life of your outdoor pieces. Covers should include:
    • UV protection
    • Velcro straps
    • Heavy-duty zippers

Following the advice outlined in this article will leave you prepared to care for your outdoor furniture for years to come. We hope you enjoy the memories made as you spend time outdoors with family and friends.