Outdoor wooden furniture can be equal parts strong and beautiful. Adding wooden furniture completely transforms your outdoor landscape. However, not all woods are suited for outdoor usage. So, what are the best types of wood for outdoor furniture?
Teak and European Oak are the strongest and most beautiful types of wood to use for making furniture. Oak trees are abundant, so Oak is affordable. Acacia is also an affordable, durable option. Black Locust is one of the strongest and stiffest options but can be difficult for beginners to work with.
Since Teak is considered the best wood, we can end the article here, right? Not so fast! Different woods have varying best-use cases. Some woods are better suited for certain climates, locations, and projects. Read on to figure out which type of wood to use for your next outdoor furniture project!
Wood brings a natural element to your outdoor furniture sets. However, not all wooden furniture is created equally. Different types of wood are going to be better suited for outdoor use. Some of the best all-around outdoor woods include Teak, Oak, Cedar, and more.
Out of all the hardwood varieties, Teak is the most durable and robust. Teak has natural oil content, which repels water and prevents warping and other damages. On top of that, Teak is an all-weather wood, making it an excellent option for winter furniture.
However, Teak wood and furniture sets are notoriously expensive, as they’re of higher quality than the alternatives. Even relatively small sets like this 4-piece example (on Amazon) breaks $1k, and it’s only teak finished acacia wood!
Although oak requires the occasional protective treatment or covering, it remains one of the most sought-after varieties for craftsmen and consumers alike.
This wood is abundant, making it a more affordable option. Oak is equally strong and beautiful and can withstand outdoor conditions. The classic golden-brown hue is timeless and fits many styles.
Cedar and Siberian Larch are softwoods. Softwoods typically aren’t meant for the outdoors, but these materials are the exception. Both of these woods have a natural resistance to the elements and produce high levels of protective oil.
These aspects protect these woods from mold, mildew, insects, and more.
Iroko wood is slow grown on the Ivory Coast. It has properties similar to those of teak wood, making it durable, long-lasting, and weather resistant.
The natural oils found in Iroko help protect it from pests and other damages. This wood variety doesn’t require as much maintenance as other options, making it good for beginners.
Teak and Oakwoods are commonly thought to be the standard for outdoor furniture. Outdoor wooden furniture needs to be robust, weather-resistant, and appealing. Although Teak and Oak varieties meet these criteria, there are more specific varieties you can consider.
Acacia is an excellent option for outdoor use. Acacia is a fast-growing hardwood with high oil content. Because Acacia grows so fast, it’s incredibly affordable and has a low impact on the environment.
The high amounts of oil contribute to this wood’s durability against weather, insects, and other damages. When sealed, Acacia has a rich, dark, golden-brown hue.
Out of all the domestic woods, Black Locust comes close to being the strongest and stiffest option. Black Locust is somewhat easy to work with, weather-resistant, and long-lasting. However, this wood can be harder to work with for beginners, as it can damage tools and machines.
Cypress is another softwood that fits the bill for outdoor use. This wood has a natural defense against rot and insects due to its natural oils. Cypress can be a beautiful addition to any outdoor landscape, as its light color contrasts in nature.
Cypress stains very well and, when left unfinished, weathers to a silver-gray color.
Who knew the Christmas Tree made an excellent outdoor wood variety? Douglas Fir is a widely available softwood commonly used in buildings and construction projects.
Douglas Fir is resistant to decay but can be vulnerable to pests and insects. You can also find this wood with weather treatments, reducing the amount of maintenance required.
Ipe is a fast-growing wood found in Central and South America. This wood is incredibly dense, hard, and long-lasting. Ipe wood is believed to last between 15 to 40 years when left untreated.
However, this wood is notoriously difficult to work with, making it a less appealing option to beginners.
If you’re concerned about your environmental impact, you should skip Redwood. Redwood is slow-growing softwood and has limited availability, rendering it more expensive and extravagant than other varieties.
The subtle red hues of this wood are beautiful and hold finishes very well. Redwood also has a natural resistance to weather and insects, making it a fine choice for outdoor furniture sets.
Outdoor wooden furniture requires care and maintenance. You have to protect, seal, and care for your outdoor pieces. All of this added effort might have you wondering: what are the benefits of wooden outdoor furniture?
One of the greatest benefits of wooden outdoor furniture is its visual appeal. People judge with their eyes first and foremost. Beautifully-built outdoor furniture makes a lasting first impression and transforms your outdoor landscape.
Not to mention that the different varieties, colors, and textures can leave room for substantial amounts of creativity.
Properly built and cared-for wooden furniture can last a lifetime. Some wood varieties like Ipe are believed to last 15 to 40 years even when left untreated.
Outdoor wooden furniture has the dual benefits of durability and longevity, especially when compared to other materials. Materials like metal and plastic can be more susceptible to damage from weather, insects, and other things.
Many of the outdoor wood varieties we listed have naturally weather-resistant properties. These properties help your furniture survive harsh weather conditions, insects, and other damages. Not to mention, staining and sealing your furniture ensures its durability and longevity.
Another advantage to outdoor wooden furniture is how DIY-friendly it can be. Humans have used and built with wood for centuries, making wooden crafts almost second nature. On top of that, the number of stains, finishes, and varieties creates endless options. Building with wood allows you to be both creative and practical.
Fast-growing hardwoods like Acacia can be incredibly cost-efficient compared to other options. For instance, more sought-after varieties like Teak can cost upwards of $45/BDFT.
On the other hand, Acacia can go for under $10/BDFT, making it a budget-friendly option.
Outdoor wooden furniture sets are equal parts beauty and strength. These pieces are designed to withstand harsh conditions from natural elements and insects. Even though outdoor wooden furniture can be incredibly robust, it still needs to be properly maintained and cared for.
Applying wood oil to wooden furniture seems a bit redundant, right? Wrong! Wood oils have been used for generations, sealing and protecting furniture for the long run. Wood oils come in a variety of colors and consistencies. Some of the best wood oils for outdoor furniture include (links to Amazon):
Each wood oil will have its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and best use cases. For the best results, be sure to read all instructions and guidelines before beginning.
Sealants and coatings are another excellent way to keep your furniture protected during the winter. By applying sealants, you’re adding another layer of defense to your outdoor furniture sets.
You can find various wood sealants (on Amazon) online at affordable prices. Danish Oil and Teak Oil are great options for wooden furniture sets. Different oils and varnishes will create different results, so it’s best to read all instructions and guidelines before using them.
Use Furniture Coverings
Using individual coverings is a fine choice for protecting your furniture from moisture damage. By covering your furniture, you lock out moisture, debris, and animals. You can find individual coverings (on Amazon) online at affordable prices.
The simplest way to protect your outdoor furniture during harsh weather is by bringing them inside. By bringing your outdoor furniture inside, you remove it from the moisture and harsh conditions of nature
You can store your furniture in your shed, garage, house, or even a storage unit. Try stacking your furniture on top of each other to save space. If your furniture is fairly robust, you may only need to bring it in during the roughest nights.
Using tarps is another option, along with individual coverings. Tarps serve the same purpose as coverings, sealing out moisture, debris, and other damages. You can find heavy-duty water-resistant tarps (on Amazon) online for affordable prices.
Outdoor wooden furniture accrues damages over time. The natural elements affect the wood, resulting in UV damage, mildew, and cracks. To protect our beautiful patio sets properly, we first need to know what’s damaging them.
Sun (UV Rays): Harsh UV rays from the Sun can damage wooden furniture. UV rays break down lignin in wood, which bonds wood together and strengthens it. Without any added protection, the Sun will damage wood every time.
UV Damage results in the surface of the wood turning to a light gray color. The UV rays can also cause cracks within the wood. Hardwood furniture may not be as susceptible to UV rays. However, softwood furniture sets are particularly at risk, as they’re more susceptible to cracking and warping.
Wood Rot: Wood rot can destroy outdoor furniture sets. Wood rot is caused by the growth of fungus within the wood. This fungus is typically caused by wet conditions, such as rain and snow. However, wood rot can be prevented by avoiding certain conditions.
Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew also damage outdoor wooden furniture sets. Mold and mildew are caused by wet conditions and moisture. Avoiding temperatures between 40° – 90°F can help prevent fungus growth. On top of that, avoiding Moisture content greater than 25-30% will also prevent wood rot, mold, and mildew.
Although different outdoor wood varieties have innate weather-resistant properties, they aren’t fully waterproof. Fortunately, you can buy and build furniture that is water-treated. Applying additional sealants, coatings, and finishes can add another layer of protection from moisture.
You can waterproof your outdoor furniture with a variety of products. Some of our favorites include:
- Wood Oils such as Teak, Danish, or Tung
- Various stains, lacquers, and finishes
Waterproofing your outdoor furniture is a must, as it ensures the longevity of your favorite pieces. The sealing process is straightforward and beginner-friendly. However, be sure to read all instructions and guidelines before beginning any project.
As mentioned earlier, each type of sealant will have its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Different materials will have different best use cases and will depend largely on the project. However, there are some sealants we can recommend to get you started.
Rain Guard Water Sealers (on Amazon) is an excellent choice to turn any wooden furniture waterproof. This sealer will rejuvenate old wooden furniture sets, protecting them from UV Rays, mildew, moisture damage, and more!
Rain Guard is non-toxic and safe, making it a no-brainer for pet owners and families. This product dries incredibly fast, leaving a natural, transparent, and durable finish. Although this product’s application process is straightforward, you will need to prepare your furniture before beginning.
Thompson’s WaterSeal (on Amazon) is another product that’s high on our recommendation list. This sealant will ensure your outdoor furniture is reaching its maximum lifespan. Thompson’s WaterSeal won’t affect the natural beauty of your piece, as it dries transparently.
This sealant is also incredibly easy to apply and can even be applied to damp wood! Additionally, you only need to apply one coat of Thompson’s WaterSeal. However, Thompson’s WaterSeal doesn’t do well against UV Rays.