When you are picking out patio furniture for your patio or outdoor entertaining area it is all about choosing the furniture material that is right for you. Choosing the wrong material could lead to you not being completely satisfied with your furniture purchase and nobody wants that! Researching patio furniture materials before you set out to make a purchase is going to be the best practice to avoid being unhappy with your investment.

There are so many materials to choose from, so today I am going to touch base on the most commonly found materials on the market. I will cover the pros and cons of materials like plastic, poly lumber, natural wood, wicker, cast aluminum, and wrought iron.

Which Patio Furniture Material is Best for You?


Plastic material is usually the most economical of all of the patio furniture materials. It is easy to clean with just some soapy water and scrub brush. Plastic furniture is light weight, easy to transport, and can some pieces can be stackable for storing. However, it is not very durable and tends to break fairly easy especially when it has been exposed to the elements over and over. You should store plastic patio furniture in a shed or garage when it is not in use. These furniture pieces also are not the most attractive. Plastic furniture will have to be replaced more often than any other material.

Poly Lumber

Poly Lumber material is the most eco-friendly of the patio furniture materials. Poly lumber is made from high density polyethylene that is derived from recycled HDPE plastics, mostly milk jugs and plastic bottles. This material is will not absorb moisture so in turn it will not rot, splinter, or mildew. It will also never have to be waterproofed, painted, or stained. Poly lumber is virtually maintenance free, the upkeep that is needed is simple cleaning with warm soapy water from time to time. It is a very versatile material, comes in many different vibrant colors that can be mixed and matched to create a very unique appearance in your outdoor space.

Natural Wood

Wood material is available from many different types of wood. Popular wood types include teak, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, and redwood. The most durable and long lasting woods are going to be hardwoods. They will create patio furniture that will last for many years and to allow them to last even longer you can treat them with a wood sealant or special oils. Soft wood is a material that will not last as long or be as durable but will produce beautiful patio furniture.

Pressure treated pine will resist rotting and repel water to give it a longer life span while untreated pine will have a low resistance and should be painted or sealed and not be exposed to the elements during storage. Untreated pine is best suited for a covered porch or indoor patio. Cedar is naturally resistant to damage caused by insects, decay, and water. It has also been valued for its sturdiness and durability. Cedar furniture will age to a beautiful silver grey if left unstained or unpainted.


There are two types of wicker materials. Wicker furniture is available in a natural wicker or a synthetic resin wicker that is commonly referred to as an all-weather wicker. Wicker is a material that is most sought after by many homeowners with homes on the beach or nautical themed outdoor living spaces.

Natural wicker tends to be more expensive but is light weight and blends into many decors. It comes in a variety of colors such as black, cream, tan, and different shades of brown. Natural wicker furniture can be constructed from rattan, bamboo, or reed materials.

All-weather wicker is not subject to the impact of the outdoor elements. These pieces are available in a variety of colors without the hassle of having to be painted or worrying about paint chipping. The color is added during the manufacturing process so it is not going to be easily effected by the weather or water. Resin wicker is paired with an aluminum frame when creating patio furniture.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is probably the most commonly purchased patio furniture material. It fits into many decors and is also a great fit for formal settings, it gives a simple timeless feel to the gathering. This material is heavy so there is little worry of the furniture blowing away. This makes wrought iron a great choice for high wind areas. Most wrought iron furniture is powder-coated to resist moisture, chipping paint, and rust. One disadvantage of this material is that it will absorb heat from direct sunlight or be very cold on cooler days. To avoid the furniture from being too hot or too cold add a seat cushion.

Cast Aluminum

Cast aluminum patio furniture is heavier than other aluminum furniture but is still light weight enough to be moved around to areas where they are needed. It is also a solid material that creates durable and stable patio furniture. This material will not rust so it is a great choice for all climates, even coastal cities or other areas with high humidity. Maintenance is minimal with cast aluminum, just an occasional cleaning will keep this patio furniture in tip top shape. There is really no other maintenance required.

I hope that breaking down the different patio furniture materials will help you to choose the material that is right for you and your outdoor entertaining areas.