How Durable is Wooden Patio Furniture?
There’s a chair on the patio. It’s made of wood. That chair is sitting around a table — also made of wood. The nearby stool holding the vase holding the bouquet of spring flowers? You guessed it: wood. When it comes to patio furniture, wood has always been a popular go-to. But why?
For one, wood is as versatile, style-wise, as they come. A carefully crafted wicker piece can bring you to a place of relaxation and determined chill. A sleek carved-and-lacquered table changes your backyard scene to one of sophistication, complete with late-night cocktails. That minimalist, solid-wood bench? It’s just a damn good bench.
So, we know that wood patio furniture looks great, but how does it stand up to the outdoors? You know, where it’s going to be for the vast majority of its time? Considering our new Outdoor 2020 line is chock-full of gorgeous (in our humble opinion) teak, acacia, and eucalyptus articles, we figured we’d help answer that.
Join us as we look at the strengths of these aforementioned materials and the effects that nature (and human nature) can have on them. Bonus: To learn how to properly care for your outdoor pieces, check out our handy guide.
Given that it’s unofficially dubbed the “king” of durable woods, it makes sense that teak is in high demand for a whole swath of industries. From constructing boat decks to our sleek Toba Coffee Table, teak does it all. The reason? Teak has a high natural oil content and also contains silica, which gives it serious tensile strength. That, along with its tight, dense grain, helps it with natural weather resistance — teak won’t rot (not to be confused with mold or mildew) and it’s even resistant to termites. How about that?
With over 1,350 species of acacia found around the world, it’s probably an understatement to say that acacia is an everyday hero when it comes to making wooden products. It’s naturally hard, dense, and comes in a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing grain patterns and color variants. In short, it’s an easy, reliable choice of material. From canoes, bowls, railroad ties, and even our comfy Callais Sofa, acacia makes it happen. In case you’re curious to know, we source all of our acacia from Vietnam.
Our old pal eucalyptus shares a lot of traits with teak. It’s similar in color and density, and, like teak, has a tight grain pattern. Eucalyptus also contains natural oils that help repel insects and water once it’s sealed properly. But rest assured, eucalyptus is its own tree, with a distinct aesthetic look and a toughness all its own. Find it showcased in the stylish Lynea Rocking Chair.
The Nature of Things
Not to beat an obvious drum too hard, but given that wood is a natural material, it does stand to be affected by nature. Hot and cool temperatures, blazing UV rays, rain, snow — the whole elemental gang, really — can change or damage your wooden articles if you’re not careful. No matter how durable they are.
Pieces left exposed to too much direct sunlight can fade, or get a sophisticated patina like teak does (what can’t teak do, really?). If you leave a planter on a patio table for a few weeks in direct sun, you may be left with a literal tan line on your table once it’s removed — like those little heart-shaped tanning stickers everyone used to put on their midriffs in high school. There’s not much the durability of a table can do to stop that.
Extreme cold can crack some types of wood, so be aware and bring your pieces inside if you can when that cold snap… snaps? And rain. Ah, rain: the mortal enemy of most outdoor furniture. If it’s in the forecast, make moves to cover your wood furniture. While teak, acacia, and eucalyptus have water-resistant properties, extended exposure is never a good thing and can lead to mold and mildew build-ups if you’re not careful.
Awareness of the weather is step one in ensuring the longevity of your wooden furniture, no matter how durable any piece of outdoor furniture claims to be. (Okay, hopefully we didn’t make too much of a racket beating that drum.)
The (Human) Nature of Things
For as advanced of a species as humans tend to think they are (a sentient Reni Lounge Chair is writing this), they are still a spilly, messy bunch. Make sure to wipe down your patio tables after outdoor dinners, any and all spills, and do a weekly scrub if your furniture is close to a pool — chlorine is cruel to my species.
Durability goes hand-in-hand with proper care, so take care of your pieces and they’ll take care of you.
Wait, are we nagging? Sorry. We just love our wooden outdoor articles as much as you do (and will).