What Outdoor Furniture Lasts Longest? How to Choose the Best

The outdoor furniture in your patio, balcony, poolside, backyard is a key component of how does your outdoor space look and feel. Since the outdoor furniture has to resist heavy rain, high wind or direct sunlight all the time, in general all outdoor furniture is made with material that could withstand the elements, but the durability of different materials vary, as well as the amount required for cleaning and maintaince, and how versatile the design and style could be.
Regards what outdoor furniture lasts longest, undeniably the metal, e.g. wrought Iron, steel, aluminum, has better durability, but the surface temperature of metal is hotter in sunny days, colder in winter days. Also, iron is prone to corrosion in the presence of water and oxygen, thus proper care is suggested to ensure its longevity. On the other hand, not only the surface temperature of plastic is moderate, but also plastic will not rust at all, not to mention the design of plastic is more flexible and colorful, and very easy to move around.

Material comparisons

1. Polypropylene

Polypropylene is lightweight and fairly strong at the same time, on top of that, the design and color variation are almost unlimited (the only outdoor-use material that can be transparent!) Thanks to the inherent specific of low water absorption and chemical resistance, polypropylene furniture remain in good shape even in places with excess moisture, salt water and stains. Also, the color would not wear out as usage increases, because its color is intrinsic to the material. And best of all, no maintenance is required. When considering what outdoor furniture lasts longest, polypropylene is a strong candidate""can't be ignored.


a. Minimum maintenance is needed.
b. Easy to clean and could be washed by hose and dish soap.
c. Easy to move and store due to its inherent light weight.
d. No mildew, mold, rot, or rust will grow up even in very moisture environment.
e. Withstands rain, humidity, salt water, chemicals, and extreme temperatures.
f. Scratch or cut will only make plastic become brighter instead of exposing primer, since color is inherent in the make-up, thus paint or sealants are not needed.


a. Lighter ones might be flipped over by high wind.
closet Photo by Jamesthethomas5 on Unsplash

2. Teak

The natural grain beauty of teak furniture is as it naturally ages, it has more flavor. Softwoods like Pine and cedar are with certain degree of weather resistance; on the other hand, hardwoods like white oak, teak, shorea resistant to the elements, rotting and insects much better.


a. Provides a warmer, casual feeling with its natural tone that aging as time goes by.
b. Withstands: sunlight and wind.


a. Take some effort to move and store due to its weight.
b. Regular maintenance with varnishes or coatings is recommended to keep it from worm, weathering, crack, split, warp or turning gray.
c. Mildew, mold, rot might grow up in moisture environment.
Image by Rhys Ludlow from Pixabay

3. Aluminum

Genuinely speaking aluminum doesn’t rust like iron or steel– but it is prone to corrosion. However, aluminum corrosion is aluminum oxide, a hard material that protects the aluminum from further corrosion. Therefore aluminum resists rust, moisture and elements better than other metals, thus makes it rank very high on what outdoor furniture lasts longest . Aluminum is strong and light at same time, so it is easy to rearrange and store.


a. Minimum maintenance is needed.
b. Easy to move and store thanks to its lightweight.
c. Resists rust and moisture damage better than other metals.
d. No mildew, mold, rot will grow up even in very moisture environment.
e. Withstands rain, sunlight, humidity, salt water, and extreme temperatures.


a. Aluminum is softer than iron and steel, thus strong impact might dent it.
b. Might be flipped over by high wind.
c. Heats up in the sun thus uncomfortable to touch.
Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

4. Steel

Since stiffness of steel is higher than iron, structure made of steel can be thinner than iron but equals on strength, overall, steel furniture can be made lighter than iron ones. That being said, steel is heavier but stronger than aluminum. Steel is usually used at the frame of high-end tables and chairs, and other large size outdoor furniture where more strength is required.


a. Steel has a good balance between weight and sturdiness compares to iron.
b. Steel is less prone to rust than iron.
c. Withstands: sunlight, rain, humidity, wind and extreme temperatures.


a. Heavier than aluminum, takes some effort to move and store.
b. Check once in a while to avoid rust is recommended.
c. Heats up in the sun thus uncomfortable to touch.
Image by Michael Kauer from Pixabay