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The Ultimate Patio Furniture Buyer's Guide

Want to make the backyard the ultimate entertainment oasis? Buying quality and complimentary patio furniture is key to family and friends being able to relax and enjoy the outdoor settings.

Patio furniture shopping can be overwhelming. There’s so many options and different types of patio and many different ways to buy: online, mass merchants, designers and specialty retail. So, where does a patio shopper start?

 

Here’s a few quick and easy steps to follow:

 

Where is the patio furniture going?

 

How much space is available for patio?

 

What do you envision your family and friends doing on the patio furniture?

 

How long do you want it to last?

 

Once these questions have been answered, you can then narrow down the type and style of patio furniture you need.

Where is the patio furniture going?

Most patio furniture goes in a covered patio area directly behind the house. In a covered area, the patio furniture will receive less stress from the outdoor elements. The most common configuration of patio is a loveseat and 2 lounging chairs or a sofa and 2 chairs. Depending on the size of the patio furniture, the most common amount of space needed is 8 x 10 feet. If the patio furniture is facing a fireplace, there are curved loveseats or sofas to create a more intimate environment. For more seating, sectionals are very popular.

The second most popular area is pool side, which tends to be uncovered. The patio furniture needs to be able to withstand the weather and sun-bathing swimmers. There are many options for pool side seating configurations including chaise lounges, bistro or dining tables and chairs, or simple seating. The biggest questions to ask yourself when looking for pool-side furniture are: Does furniture dry quickly? Does it fade in the sun? Does it get too hot to sit in? Can it withstand chlorine or salt water from the pool?

Other areas include fire-pits, balconies and outdoor kitchen seating. For seating around fire-pits, comfy lounge chairs are most popular. Patio lounge chairs have a range of motion options from stationery to swivel, rocking or gliding. Popular balcony seating includes counter-height or bar height tables and barstools to oversee the deck. Outdoor kitchen seating may have barstools next to the bar and a dining table set adjacent to the kitchen to feed hungry family and friends!

Defining the patio furniture space quickly helps determine the patio configuration that you need.

How much space do I need for patio furniture?

With today’s patio furniture selection and quality, lounging and entertaining outside is more comfortable and fun than even the inside living room furniture.

Take measurements before shopping! It saves a lot of time and heartache. Here are common patio furniture sizes –

Sofa – 7 ft.

Loveseat – 5 ft.

Chairs – 2 ft to 3 ft.

Dining Tables – 48” round, 54” round, 84” oval or rectangle. Smaller and larger sizes are available, but these sizes are the most popular and commonly available.

Fire-Pits – Extremely popular and a great replacement for coffee tables in either a covered or uncovered area. Powered by propane or natural gas. They can come in coffee table height, chat height and dining height; round, square or rectangle.

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At Galaxy Home Recreation, we are committed to helping you make the best choice for your patio furniture investment. Our knowledgeable team is available to guide you through the selection process, ensuring you find the perfect patio pieces that complement your outdoor space. We offer patio furniture from reputable brands known for their craftsmanship and durability, ensuring your investment lasts for years to come.

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Patio Furniture Material

Patio furniture is made from different materials. Each material has its strengths and weaknesses.

The most popular materials are:

Woven or Wicker

Current woven furniture is made of HDPE (High Density Poly-Ethelyne). Originally, it was made from strands of wicker or Rattan. HDPE requires little maintenance unlike original wicker furniture. It will last a long time depending on the quality of the frame. Higher quality woven furniture is made of aluminum and lower quality furniture is made of steel. The amount of weave and the size of the weave will also determine the cost of the woven furniture. More luxurious features of woven furniture include fully woven, deep cushions and large weaves that give a more modern appearance.

Cast Aluminum

This is the 2nd heaviest type of material overall. The biggest advantage of aluminum is that it does not rust. Also, cast aluminum is the most decorative material. Cast Aluminum is made from cast or sand moldings, which can accommodate more ornate back designs and embellishments on the arms and legs. Cast aluminum furniture can be made from recycled or virgin grade aluminum. Virgin grade aluminum is more expensive and more resilient to breaking. Cast aluminum is an excellent type of material. It can be more traditional in design. Cast Aluminum can be made more modern with darker finishes, fabric choices and current decorative designs.  Cast Aluminum is not domestically made or sourced furniture.

Extruded Aluminum

Extruded Aluminum also does not rust. However, it is lighter than Cast Aluminum. Extruded Aluminum is tubular. This material is very popular right now because the designs are cleaner and have fairly straight lines. Extruded Aluminum usually looks transitional or modern. It can be made domestically or imported. Extruded can be made from recycled aluminum or virgin grade. Virgin grade aluminum is more expensive and more resilient to breaking.

Wrought Iron

Wrought Iron is the heaviest furniture. It is made out of Steel. It is the most traditional of designs. It’s great for Oklahoma and Arkansas winds. However, steel can rust. Premium manufacturers use very durable powder-coating, which provides peace of mind. In pool applications, aluminum would be a better material.

Polymer or High Density Polyethelyne

Polymer has become very popular due to Adirondack furniture, which used to be made of wood. Polymer does not rust, has good weight and is maintenance free. There is no fabric or cushion. Polymer patio furniture is not as comfortable as cushion patio furniture, but is still relaxing and enjoyable. Polymer is popular for uncovered areas, fire-pit seating, front porches, etc. Dining sets are also available in Polymer.

Teak

Teak furniture is an elegant and classic look popularized by coastal beachfronts, lake homes and teak boats. Teak is a very strong and beautiful wood. Teak does require maintenance. Otherwise, the brown will turn to grey. Oiling is necessary to restore the original finish. For teak alternatives, there is etched aluminum that looks like Teak but made from aluminum. Also, polymer now has teak or wood finishes as well as wood grain looks to make it look like natural teak.

Patio Furniture Fabrics

100% Solution Dyed Acrylic

The material of the cushion or sling is critical to the longevity of the patio furniture. The strongest fabric material is 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic. The yarn is completely dyed throughout. It is fade resistant, mildew-resistant and water resistant. The more well-known brands are Sunbrella, Outdura and _____. Acrylic will last 5 to 10 years in an uncovered application. Most have a warranty for 5 years. In a covered application, the cushions will most likely not have to be replaced.

These brands also do make blends. So, check the tag or fabric swatch to make sure it is 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic if that is important to you. This material should be purchased for uncovered applications. Otherwise, the fabric will fade quick in Oklahoma and Arkansas sun.

Polyester

The most basic material is Polyester. Car fabrics are made of Polyester. This material will last the shortest amount of time, 1 to 3 years depending on application. This will be the least expensive patio that can be purchased. Better alternatives may be buying cushionless seating like Wrought Iron or Polymer.

The cushion itself is also very important to the comfort and durability of the patio furniture. There are 2 main types of cushion materials – cushion, Sling and reticulated foam.

In deep seating, cushion can come in 3” thick cushions to 10” thick cushions. Thicker cushions are plusher and generally more comfortable. Higher-end cushions are wrapped in water vapor barriers to protect the Dacron or foam from getting wet. In addition, certain manufacturers add drain holes so the cushion can dry quicker. For durability, higher-end companies use HR foam like mattresses to prevent the cushions from sagging over time. Some companies add vertical slats so the cushions dry in half of the time of regular cushions, which is usually 24 to 48 hours.

Olefin

The 2nd best material is Olefin or Olefin / PVC. It is rated to also be fade-resistant, mildew-resistant and water resistant. Its rating is about half as much as 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic. This material would be decent for covered areas or shaded applications. The cushions or slings will have to replaced in 2 to 5 years. Mass merchants and online stores carry Olefin since it makes the patio more affordable.

Sling

Sling is a single or double layer PVC. It quickly dries and is easy to clean with a hose. Sling is very popular for Chaise Loungers and dining. Lounging sling is popular for lake homes or those who want maintenance-free. Sling can be made of 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic or Olefin.

Reticulated Foam

The most recent innovation is reticulated foam. It provides the comfort of cushion, and the benefits of Sling. It’s easy to wash off. Reticulated foam is mostly seen in Woven furniture. Reticulated foam is now popular for uncovered areas, lake homes and rental properties.

Patio Furniture Construction

The last key component of quality patio furniture is the construction of the frame. It can either be ready to assemble or welded. Ready to assemble means that it is assembled at your home. Welded means that it comes pre-assembled at the factory. Welded furniture can hold much more weight and will last much longer. Welded furniture will have frame warranties from 7 years to 20 years. Ready to assemble furniture will be less expensive. It will not hold as much weight and is more susceptible to breaks.

The other important aspect of construction is the rocking mechanism if a swivel-rocker is important to you. There are fiber-glass plate construction and C spring construction. Fiber-glass plates are common. However, not all fiber-glass plate constructions are created equally. Make sure to test it by sitting in it. The most durable rocker merchandise is C spring construction. It is a piece of aluminum in the shape of a C to create the rocking mechanism. This mechanism is strong enough for football players.

The last component of construction is the quality of the finish of the furniture. In steel or aluminum, the patio furniture can be painted or powder-coated. Powder-coating is the most durable type of finish, preventing rust, oxidation, chipping or peeling. Powder-coat finishes will last between 3 years to 7 years. The quality of powder-coats does vary. Also, patio furniture now has hand-rubbed finishes to give it an old world look or wood grain look. That finish can rub off. High-end patio manufacturers put an additional clear-coat to protect or bake into the powder-coat finish.

On polymer furniture, the plastic can be sourced from many different grades. Tenjin plastic is known as the highest quality, and the most expensive like Composite decking. Lesser expensive Polymer also has rougher finishes and skinner boards. There are also lots of exposed screws.

Teak furniture is imported from Southeast Asia. There are generally different grades of Teak: A, B or C. The grade will make it difference in terms of durability and strength, and the richness of the wood.