When thinking about buying furniture for your patio that is weatherproof and not liable to rust, there are several options that won't disappoint you whatever your budget. Depending upon what style you are planning on getting, you can find some really great looking pieces that come in a range of materials that are not affected by the weather.
Let's take a look at the alternatives and then put forward a few top models that you might want to investigate further.
Plastic Outdoor Furniture
For sheer water- and all round weather-proof capability, modern plastics are clear winners when you need good looking patio furnishings that can be left outside. As long as you avoid the really cheap and cheerful items that you often see stacked in hardware superstores, you can find very stylish and hard wearing seating and tables in a variety of colors to suit your preferences.
High end models can come in a surprisingly stylish range of seating and accessories that can look as good as wood or metallic items, sometimes being so well crafted that you wouldn't be able to tell they were plastic without looking very closely indeed. Cheaper items can be relatively economical but should not be expected to last for many seasons.
Very cheap plastic chairs have a nasty habit of collapsing when left in the sun and then are sat on by a heavy person. More expensive chairs are more solidly built and can withstand the heat of the sun without becoming unstable.
Aluminum Outdoor Furniture
If you want something sturdy, stylish and more up-market than plastic but don't want the rusting problems that are associated with wrought iron pieces, aluminum is the metal you should be looking at. Items are wrought in similar traditional styles as iron with the added benefit that they're not prone to rust and are lighter in weight.
Chairs and benches made of this material will need good quality cushions if they are to be comfortable to sit in for any length of time, but this is a small disadvantage that is easily overcome by making sure your cushions are deep and comfortable in themselves.
A good example of this kind of outdoor seating is the Strathwood St. Thomas range of cast aluminum chairs (click that link to read my review).
Wooden Patio Furniture
Of course, one of the most popular materials for chairs, benches, chaise lounges and tables is wood. Naturally, wood will stand up to the weather in most cases, but while this material will never rust, but there can sometimes be hidden problems lurking where you're not expecting them.
The best models will be constructed of wood and the fittings will be stainless steel, brass or aluminum. But beware cheaper models that use steel hinges and screws that can rust and eventually fall apart.
Most wooden seating will need cushions although high end models are crafted to be extremely comfortable and mold to the human shape very well.
Concrete, Marble or Stone
Another material that is often overlooked for a great terrace design is seating and even tables made from stone, concrete or of course marble. These materials are certainly weatherproof in the extreme and will never oxidise like steel or wrought ironwork and they never need to be painted (although you can if you have a mind to).
While stone, marble or even well molded concrete provides a range of traditional and timeless design options and can look amazing in the right setting, it has one major drawback. That is its sheer weight, meaning it's not exactly something you will want (or possibly even be able) to move around at will.
Once this kind of garden furnishing is in place, that's where it will likely stay for its entire lifetime!
You can buy good quality cushioning that is weatherproof and designed to be left outside occasionally. However, even the best of these will last longer and stay good looking if they are looked after and brought inside most of the time when not in use.
Look for covers that are specially treated to repel water and dirt that are easy to clean and will withstand the occasional shower without being too compromised. Of course their cheaper counterparts may be comfortable enough and have limited weather proofing ability, but if you are in any doubt it is always best to bring these inside when not being used.
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