Finding the right outdoor furniture can be time-consuming. There are so many options now in materials and quality of patio furnishings that consumers must shop carefully to find the items that are best for their particular situation. There are many choices as well as price ranges, and sometimes what looks like a good deal will turn out to be poor-quality furniture that will quickly deteriorate.
It’s important to look at what you’re really getting when you buy patio furniture. First off, you need to select the right material for your needs. Here’s a look at plastic, resin, and wicker/rattan outdoor furniture.
Plastic – This is typically the least expensive option for outdoor furniture, and easiest to find. However, not all plastic furniture is created alike. The advantages of plastic outdoor furniture are that it’s easy to move, and is waterproof and inexpensive. The disadvantages are that cheap plastic furniture won’t stand up to a lot of wear, may blow over in windy conditions, and might get hot if left in the sun. In addition, some people may shy away from the chemicals in plastic, which may include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as well as other chemical additives.
The very cheapest molded plastic chairs may last a few seasons, but ultimately will not hold up to wear, and won’t look that great. Although you may think plastic will hold up to weather, the cheap chairs do not. They become faded and turn brittle in the sun, and can also break under heavy loads. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a few plastic chairs on hand in case you need them for a big crowd. The chairs are light, stackable and therefore are easy to store somewhere until needed.
Better-grade plastic furniture is also available these days at pool and patio stores. This furniture is heavier, will hold up to wear and will look more stylish. However, expect to pay more for better quality.
Resin – Like plastic furniture, resin furniture may contain chemicals and additives. However, it has a number of advantages over plastic. It is often molded to resemble wicker or wood, giving a more pleasing appearance. When you see “wicker” outdoor furniture these days, more often than not it’s made of resin strands molded to look like wicker. Resin furniture resists water and sun, and remains cool to the touch in hot weather. It is very durable and doesn’t fade or crack. It also is fairly lightweight and easy to move as needed, although not as light as plastic.
Wicker/rattan – Although in years past, wicker and rattan were often used for outdoor furniture, these are not so commonly employed for outdoor use these days. Since they’re made from natural materials, they can deteriorate if left outside in an uncovered area. If you’re committed to using wicker or rattan, it does best if painted and kept in sheltered areas, like a porch. It’s also advisable to store wicker furniture or cover it during periods of bad weather.