As temperatures begin to rise and humidity becomes more comfortable, we start spending more time outdoors. There’s nothing quite like it. Relaxing in your backyard with a BBQ roaring and the sun beating down on your patio.
To get comfortable, you will need outdoor tables and chairs. But which material is better for outdoor use? Steel or aluminum? You want furniture that can withstand the different weather conditions such as UV rays from the sun and those days when the rain decides to take over.
There are many factors to consider when choosing new patio furniture such as:
- Its durability
- Its sturdiness
- Its strength
- Its weather resistance
When it comes to durability, metal frames are typically the best. They tend to withstand harsh weather conditions better than other materials such as wood. Steel and aluminum are two metals that look very similar but are very different materials. Steel is stronger than aluminum and can withstand damage more.
Although aluminum is not as strong or dense as steel, it is much lighter. This means it’s much easier to move around your patio when you need to rearrange for guests.
When we consider corrosion resistance, steel once again excels. Due to its chromium additives that form an invisible nonporous film around the metal, it can withstand harsh weather conditions for longer. On the other hand, aluminum has high oxidation so it tends to develop a thin hard film made from aluminum oxide when exposed to air. This film also protects the surface and makes aluminum corrosion-resistant. However, this oxidized surface can dim the patio’s color over time.
The best option depends on your type of patio as both metals have pros and cons. In terms of affordability, aluminum is a great choice. Just apply a powder coating for added strength and durability. Steel is a great option if you want sturdy and robust furniture to leave outdoors at all times.
How do you rust-proof outdoor furniture?
There are a few key steps to take to maintain your outdoor metal furniture. Let’s take a look at these below.
Apply paste wax
If you haven’t got a shed or extra indoor space to keep your patio dry, another solution is to use paste wax. Paste wax has excellent water-resistant qualities that can prevent rust and safeguard all metals. Paste wax such as Rolite Metal Polish polishes and protects metal by leaving behind a protective coating that keeps the metal free of any tarnishing and oxidation stains.
Before you apply any paste, you must remove any dust from your furniture. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth and then rub it over with a moist cloth to remove any remaining residue. Once the surface is dry, use a wide, soft-bristled paintbrush and apply the wax on the entire surface of the metal.
Ensure that you apply the wax into every part of the metal furniture such as small gaps, nooks, and crannies. This should fully protect the metal against any rust going forward. Once completely covered in the paste wax, set the furniture aside to dry off thoroughly before using again.
You can also apply a thin layer of grease to prevent rust. This leaves a protective layer that safeguards the metal from the water. Just a thin layer can prevent rusting for a very long time.
WD-40 Multi-Use is a great option for preventing rust. It has a quick-dry formula that leaves a thin, clear coating on the surface of the metal. After a few minutes, this water-resistant coating is ready to protect your metal furniture from rust and corrosion.
If you’re looking to rust-proof chrome, stainless steel, or iron, we recommended using WD-40 Silicone Lubricant Spray as this will ensure your metal items are free from rust or corrosion all year round.
How long does aluminum outdoor furniture last?
If outdoor furniture is made from extruded or cast aluminum, it will not rust. This is because aluminum is a non-ferrous metal which means there is no metal inside it. Even some wrought iron or steel furniture is more likely to rust than aluminum.
When aluminum furniture is supplied with a solid, high-quality powder-coated finish that is long-lasting, cast aluminum furniture can last over thirty years. Even with little maintenance, you should get many years of use out of your aluminum table and chairs. However, the finishing quality of the cast aluminum furniture requires deep attention to detail to ensure its longevity.
Along with aluminum, some other strong and reliable metals for patio furniture include:
- Stainless steel
- Wicker (woven)
- Wrought iron
Although there is a wide choice of materials to choose from, aluminum remains the most popular contemporary outdoor furniture material. As it can resist rust and moisture damage better than most metals, it tends to last a lot longer. Other materials may last ten years or less so you will certainly get value for money with aluminum.
Which is better? Wicker or metal patio furniture?
Durability is one of the key factors to consider when comparing wicker and metal furniture.
Rattan, the most common organic fiber used to make wicker, holds up very well in screen porches and interior spaces where the temperature is controlled. For outdoor use, resin wicker is the better choice. This has a protective lacquer that resists fade and rot helping it withstand the elements better. A further bonus of this wicker is that, if damage occurs, all you have to do is reweave a few loose fibers for repair.
Depending on the material, metal patio furniture varies in durability. For instance, aluminum is very light but runs the risk of being blown away in a storm. However, just a thin powder coating achieves the same water and UV resistance as stainless steel. On the other hand, iron tends to rust easily so may not last as long when exposed to the elements.
Both wicker and metal outdoor furniture have their unique benefits. When deciding between the two, you should consider what works best for your lifestyle and requirements. Both offer versatility and can be weather-resistant with the right maintenance. You should consider what style suits your patio best but in terms of longevity, metal patio furniture may be the best option.