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Are Outdoor Furniture Waterproof or Weatherproof?

ARE OUTDOOR FURNITURE WATERPROOF OR WEATHERPROOF?

When investing in outdoor furniture, you must consider the style, function, comfort, materials, and durability. Think of the area you're furnishing, and carefully research and source for the ideal items that can keep up with the demands of the space and different weather conditions. 

There's a preconceived notion that patio furniture pieces are automatically waterproof and weatherproof since they're for outdoor use, and because items are not equally created, that's not the case. When buying outdoor furniture, one must check if the materials can withstand different weather conditions and/or are impervious to water. Or if it's okay to leave outdoor furniture, well, outdoors.   

Knowing this factor could spell a huge difference when it comes to maintaining the quality of the furniture and ensuring it lasts a long time. Without considering this, one is likely to make the mistake of leaving the furniture pieces out to soak up the rain, ultimately speeding up the deterioration of these items.  

There are different types of outdoor areasーsome covered, some not. So, choosing the suitable materials for the space you intend to furnish is essential; after all, it certainly won't be ideal for moving furniture (especially those big sofas and chat sets!) around from an open space to a covered area every time it rains. You'd want outdoor furniture that you can leave outside without worrying whether it'll get easily damaged with the changes in weather conditions or adapt just fine.  

How to tell if your outdoor furniture is weatherproof

It is crucial to point out that weatherproof and waterproof are not the same. A weatherproof outdoor furniture piece is water-, wind-, and UV-resistant, but not entirely waterproof, and is recommended to be covered whenever there's a downpour. Reading through the manufacturer's product documentation comes in handy to determine outdoor furniture's level of waterproofing.  

Now, one can't quickly tell the difference at a mere glance. It will require a closer inspection, especially if you're purchasing a second-hand piece that may no longer contain the necessary information. 

Identifying the material is one way to determine if outdoor furniture is weatherproof. It may entail some research, but you'll find it worth exerting that effort at the end of the day. For instance, teak is the most common wood used for outdoor furniture because it's durable, doesn't warp, and is low maintenance. You can identify natural teak wood by checking on elements like color, grain, and patina. 

A good test to see if an item is waterproof is by splashing it with water; if the water forms beads, it means it resists or repels water. 

When in doubt, it's best to reach out to the manufacturer to find out the detailsーlest you regret skipping on research later on when you have to source new outdoor furniture again.          

Can outdoor furniture get rained on?

Yes, but not all are made to withstand heavier rain showers. Some items—such as outdoor dining furniture, sculptures and decor, and firepits and patio heating—are more suitable for rainy conditions and therefore more durable and waterproof. 

It's crucial to know when shopping for items for your outdoor space. Materials that are not waterproof and get rained on tend to rot, develop mold and mildew, and are susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Outdoor furniture that can be left outdoors for all weather types includes those made in aluminum, resin wicker, polypropylene, and hardwood such as teak. For outdoor cushions, they should ideally be quick-dry foam and acrylic or polyester fabrics. 

Aluminum

Aluminum doesn’t become rusty because it doesn’t contain iron.

Resin Wicker and Natural Rattan

Resin wicker is more durable than natural rattan. Wicker is prone to warping, mold, and mildew,whereas woven strands of synthetic material that are densethat's dense and weather-resistant make up rattan. 

Polypropylene

Polypropylene can be woven or not; knitting plastic threads into fabric makes it woven. Its non-woven version comes with various patterns, utilizing polypropylene polymers and turning them into long threads using heat, producing a weave-like texture. 

Teak

Teak is ideal for outdoor use because it’s strong, durable, and doesn’t warp, crack or get brittle. Because of the teak's high natural oil content, rotting, decay, and insects are at bay. 

Quick-Dry Foam

Quick-dry foam is the best material for outdoor cushions and outdoor pillows because it’s a high-performance foam. It has a quick drying process because of its large open pores that efficiently drain water from the material or fabric and consequently allow better air circulation.  

Synthetic Fabric

Acrylic fabrics are synthetic and come from petroleum or coal-based compounds. A polymer called acrylonitrile that forms acrylic resin pellets is what produces them, and the yarn is spurned in the process. They're rain-resistant and easy to clean, making them perfect outdoors.

Acrylic fabrics are synthetic and come from petroleum or coal-based compounds. A polymer called acrylonitrile that forms acrylic resin pellets is what produces them, and the yarn is spurned in the process. They're rain-resistant and easy to clean, making them perfect for things like outdoor rugs and dining cushions.

Polyester Fabric

Polyester fabrics, like acrylic, are derived from petroleum, which undergoes polymerization, extruding, and spinning with polyester filaments. Polyester is durable, doesn't easily tear, and is moisture- and stain-resistant

The best and most durable materials for outdoor furniture

On the subject of durability, go for either wood, metal, synthetic wicker, or rattan outdoor furniture. These may be more expensive than standard options in the market, but they could be the more thoughtful picks in the long run as they age in place and are specially made for your desired space.  

In a nutshell, the best and most durable materials for patio furniture are those that can withstand the test of time and yet don't require a highly impractical amount of time for maintenance. Outdoor furniture is best when made from materials that can be left outdoors all year round.

Wood

Wooden materials are a thing of beauty with their natural grain and finish. There are many types of woodーsome softwood, some hardwood. This is ideal for patio bar furniture, outdoor dining chairs and tables, and sofas and loveseats.

Softwoods like pine, cedar, and fir are ideal for indoors. Hardwoods like teak, eucalyptus, white oak, acacia, and mahogany are go-to materials for a reason because of their durability and core characteristics. 

Teak, however, proves to be the most common choice because of its beautiful, refined grains and its tried-and-tested durability. Giving it more appeal is the fact that it's weather-resistant and won't quickly degrade because of rot, decay, and insects. It also contains a high natural oil content that helps keep the wood in good shape and makes it low maintenance, with occasional sealing or manual oil application. 

Metal

Metal makes a great outdoor furniture material because it's strong and flexible. It does come with cons, too. It's good that it doesn't absorb water, but this also means that moisture can lead to oxidation and inevitably cause the material to rust and corrode over time. When left under the sun for a long time, outdoor metal furniture can also be uncomfortable to touch or sit on. 

Metal outdoor furniture comes in stainless steel, aluminum, or wrought iron. A powder coating layer gives these materials an added layer of protection to prevent them from rusting. This is perfect for firepits and patio heating.

Synthetic Wicker And Rattan

With the trend of organic looks and styles, synthetic wicker and rattan are naturally gaining attention. Though nothing can entirely replace the beauty of natural rattan, the material is simply not meant for prolonged outdoor use because its composition is susceptible to developing mold and mildew that can cause the item to decay faster. 

In this case, synthetic wicker and rattan are heaven-sent because they look versatile enough to be incorporated into different furniture pieces—from outdoor lighting, sofas, armchairs, loungers, and dining chairs. But what makes them durable is that they're waterproof and don't quickly fade.   

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

In the same vein as synthetic wicker and rattan is the so-called HDPE (high-density polyethylene), a strong yet lightweight material that's fade- and UV-resistant and looks like natural wicker. On top of this, it's easy to clean and eco-friendly because it's 100% recyclable.

Does patio furniture need to be covered?

Keep patio furniture in a cool and dry covered area at night, whether summer or winter, to ensure it lasts longer and stays in good condition for a long time.

After all, it's not only the rain that you should be worried about—the UV rays can also be harmful to your furniture; for instance, outdoor cushion's fabric could fade after some time, making it look a lot less attractive and appealing for you or your guests to sit on. 

There are covers created to protect your treasured pieces. While it's great to be prepared for the inevitable wear and tear by picking outdoor patio furniture with high-quality, weatherproof fabrics with UV protection, it won't hurt to have similarly breathable and durable covers as an added protection layer. 

This simple trick could make a difference when prolonging your outdoor furniture's life. 

Water-repellant outdoor cushions

Nothing can ruin a good, sunny day (and an outfit!) more than accidentally sitting on an outdoor cushioned chair that's damp due to rain or water spillage. When dressing your outdoor furniture with a cushion, ensure that it comes with a hydrophobic finish or water-repellent properties. 

Being more mindful of these details makes entertaining and lounging outdoors more delightful. Especially if you're shopping for cushioned furniture for a poolside setup, picking pieces with water-repellent furniture cushions is a must. 

Try spilling water onto it as a simple trick to test if the cushion is indeed water-repellent. If it's water-repellent, it will only create pearl-like drops that easily slide off the material. The liquid doesn't get soaked in the cushion but evaporates and dries quickly when it touches the pillow or fabric instead.

Do not confuse water-repellent with water-resistant or waterproof, though. To a certain extent, the two are the same because both materials prevent water intrusion. But they differ regarding the level of protection, with water-resistant items providing the lowest level of protection, water-repellent equating to a medium level of protection, and waterproof giving the highest level of protection. 

How to waterproof fabric patio furniture

Quality furniture doesn't come cheap, so be sure to make the most of your purchase by maintaining it—outdoor cushions included. 

Fabric furniture and accessories, such as outdoor rugs and dining cushions, can benefit from waterproofing. It’s key to retaining the quality of your fabrics as their waterproof capabilities can decrease over time. To treat them and extend their life, using a fabric waterproofing spray is an easy, doable trick you can DIY at home. When you doubt what product to use, just go for sprays that work with sailboat textiles. 

To protect yourself from the spray's dangerous compounds, put on some gear. Begin waterproofing your furniture by inspecting the fabric for holes or stains; in the event there are holes, make sure to patch them first, or if there are stains, spot-clean them. 

Use a vacuum to clean for seams where there could be heavy dirt residues. Pick an area at home away from pets, plants, and people where you can spray the furniture. Spray the entire surface, including the seams and buttons. Let your furniture dry in a well-ventilated room before using it again.

Sourcing the best patio furniture

Shopping for the best outdoor furniture can be overwhelming with the vast array of choices. Streamline your options by fully considering the requirements of your outdoor space and what type of furniture will best suit it and endure wear and tear.

Factor in the balance between style, scale, function, comfort, quality, and requirement for maintenance. You may not spend as much time outdoors as indoors, but having the right outdoor furniture pieces could ultimately mean an improved quality of life spent basking in outdoor living. Quality-wise, look for items that are weatherproof and future-proof. 

Outdoor furniture is an investment. Besides, how often do you upgrade your outdoor space? You likely do so more for your interior spaces than outside. So, your choice of outdoor furniture for your patio, garden, or backyard must withstand the test of time and the changes in weather conditions.   

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