Aluminum is a popular metal used in outdoor furniture for many reasons. It is durable, versatile, and requires very little care on the part of the owner. Aluminum furniture is rust free.
There are three different types of aluminum construction for outdoor furniture: Wrought Aluminum, Tubular Aluminum and Cast Aluminum. Wrought Aluminum furniture is usually used to create furniture Victorian in style that similar to styles also found in most wrought iron outdoor pieces. Tubular aluminum techniques in furniture are most common as it is the lightest and easiest to shape and form. Cast Aluminum outdoor furniture is made using a process, called casting, where molten aluminum is poured into a mold. This process produces the most pure and resilient aluminum. Cast Aluminum outdoor furniture is caste in pieces and then welded together, which seals out water and the elements. As cast aluminum is solid, the resulting product is much heavier than wrought and tubular aluminum furniture.
Aluminum furniture does not need to be covered or protected they way that wood furniture may need to be. However, some aluminum furniture comes with a powder-coating. This gives the aluminum color and helps to reduce the aluminum being scratched and dented. This coating often has great visual appeal as well as giving strength to the oxide layer, however, it does require a little extra care to maintain the original appearance. The coating, while protective and durable, can be scratched by a reckless owner or be eroded by harsh, salty environments. It is important to consider this possibility to maintain reasonable expectations of your cast aluminum furniture.
You need to know that aluminum will not rust and this is what makes it perfect for outdoor furniture. But, aluminum will get affected by pollution in the air and water and its surface will discolor or become rough. Though aluminum does not rust it does oxidize which can result in discoloration, but will not affect the structural reliability of the metal.
Here are helpful hints for the care of aluminum outdoor furniture:
"If you notice that there is slight discoloration on you aluminum furniture, then it should be washed with mild soap and warm water. It helps to add a gentle natural acid like lime or lemon juice, vinegar or cream of tartar. Important! Do not to add ammonia, TSP or Soda. Always do this cleaning after the change of seasons.
Sunbrella is considered to be the "gold-standard" in outdoor fabric applications due to its stain resistance, durability, and water repelling properties. However, Sunbrella fabrics should be cleaned regularly, and any spills should be treated quickly to prevent them from setting in. On-going maintenance prevents the need for more vigorous cleanings.
Sunbrella® fabrics should be cleaned regularly and consistently. Any spills should be tended to early on, before the substance have the chance to accumulate and be rubbed in, embedding themselves in the fabric. This on-going maintenance will eradicate the need for more frequent and vigorous cleanings. Sunbrella fabrics are designed to be resistant to mold, mildew, UV, and stains. However, it should be cleaned regularly to prevent the need for more fervent cleaning.
Please follow these steps for cleaning:
Removable Sunbrella fabric umbrella canopies and cushion covers are machine-washable: wash on cold water setting (less than 100°F/38°C). Use an appropriate amount of mild laundry detergent. Allow fabric to air dry, do not put in the dryer.
Sunbrella fabric is resistant to mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other debris that are not removed from the fabric in a timely manner. To clean mildew, or other stubborn stains:
If a stain and/or mold or mildew are severe, bleach quantities may be increased by small amounts. Do be frugal in the use of bleach, however, as it has potential to damage the fabric when used in larger concentrations.
Sunbrella fabrics have a special finish guard that adds to the fabrics ability to repel water . The finish is created to last for several years of normal use, However, it may need to be reapplied after a thorough cleaning or extended use. Glen Raven, the maker of Sunbrella, recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ as the preferred re-treatment product for Sunbrella fabrics.
303 should be applied to Sunbrella fabrics after each thorough cleaning.
For more information please see the manufacturer's website.
Teak wood has been used for centuries in ship-building and outdoor furniture applications. Teak is a very dense, tropical hardwood typically found in Indonesia. Due to its high natural oil content, teak is very resistant to water and insect damage. Teak outdoor furniture is quite popular, but there are some tips that you may find useful to care for your investment:
Teak will gradually weather to a silver-gray patina if left outdoors. You will begin to notice the "graying" after 3 months or so, depending on the amount of sun and rain the furniture is subjected to. Total weathering will take about 6 to 9 months.
Once teak has weathered, the original color can be restored by an annual scrubbing with soapy water to remove accumulated dirt. Trouble spots can be gently sanded with a very fine grit sandpaper. Alternatively, you may use a pressure hose with a fan or multi-nozzle jet, where a gauge is fitted. It should be set to a pressure of 900-1200 psi. A distance of 6'-8' should be maintained between the nozzle and the surface to be cleaned. Apply a constant, gentle jet pressure using the lowest possible setting to achieve the desired result. Due to the unique properties of teakwood your furniture will need no other care or treatment and will last for decades.
Small surface cracks (known as checks) may appear. This is a characteristic of all timber and will not affect the strength or durability of the furniture. This is due to the changes in seasoning and the wood releasing or absorbing of moisture from the atmosphere. Checking is non-structural in nature and is not to be considered a concern of defect.
Marks from spills on a tabletop, especially if they contain fat, should be avoided where possible, as they can be difficult to remove. Any such marks will eventually be washed out and bleached by the elements. However, this process may be accelerated by allowing the stain to soak into any absorbent material applied to it for a time under pressure and then rubbing with sandpaper.
Treating with teak oil or other preservatives is not needed to protect teakwood and will not extend the life of your outdoor furniture, its use is purely cosmetic. If you prefer the light brown look of natural, unweathered teak, then applying teak oil regularly will maintain that look. I do not recommend oiling your furniture because it creates unnecessary maintenance, but should you prefer to retain its original color, the following guidelines will offer the best results:
Teak oil should be applied before the furniture begins to weather and change color. Ensure the furniture is dry and free of any dust or dirt and apply one light coat of oil with a clean cloth or brush, wiping off any surplus. Teak oil should not be applied over accumulated oil or dirt. This can cause the furniture to turn black over time. If necessary, remove previous oil or dirt by vigorous scrubbing or use of pressure washer. Re-oiling annually is usually sufficient.
PVC wicker and rattan along with poly resin furniture is growing in popularity. It is attractive to many busy home owners for many reasons. One of those reasons is it being a low maintenance product. PVC wicker, as well as poly resin, is plastic and therefore water and dirt resistant. It can become faded in the sun, damaged by animals and pets who get thrills from gnawing, or damaged when weight limits are not respected. That being said, the longevity of furniture made from this material is mostly up to the owner and how the furniture is cared for. If kept in out of constant direct sunlight, while giving it enough light to reduce the chances of it developing mold or mildew, the furniture will need very little care. If the PVC furniture is to be in a place where it will frequently become wet or be consistently in direct sun, it would be very wise to cover it with outdoor furniture covers. This will help the furniture to stay looking newer longer.
Keeping the furniture out of areas prone to cause mildew and direct sun along with covering the furniture or storing inside during winter months and unpleasant weather, will reduce the amount of cleaning and care the furniture requires. However, outdoor furniture is exposed to the elements and will likely need to be cleaned. Most of the time water and a very mild soap will take care of dirt and rain spots. Should your PVC wicker or poly resin furniture become stubbornly dirty and need to be cleaned more intensely, here are some helpful suggestions for cleaning it: