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What’s the Best Type Of Wood for Outdoor Furniture?

January 13, 2014 Florida Keys Lifestyle

The popularity of outdoor wooden furniture has dropped in recent years because of how much cheaper the alternatives are, such as those made with metal and plastic. In addition to these alternatives being less costly, they are also mass produced and can be found in many stores. In exchange for pieces of furniture which are rather common and non-distinct is the craftsmanship that comes with hand-crafted outdoor wooden furniture. While they cost more than plastic and metal outdoor furniture, you can be sure that your outdoor garden is going to look a lot better. You can be sure that the aesthetics of your backyard, lawn or lanai will likely be more unique, impressive and comfortable.

What makes a type of wood good for weathering the elements and great for use in the manufacturing of outdoor furniture?

When you take out a piece of wood and expose it to the elements, what you basically want to see is how well the wood is able to resist rotting. Of the thousands of varieties of wood available, only  a few can take year-round outdoor exposure. There are two ways that certain wood types are able to resist rotting — chemical and physical barriers. Wood types such as cedars and redwood contain certain substances which are able to resist the action of bacteria, insects and other agents of decomposition. On the other hand, physical barriers of wood types such as white oak include the presence of tyloses. Tyloses accumulate in the pores of these certain types of wood and keep moisture, and the consequent rotting they bring, from accumulating. Unfortunately, not all types of wood are able to carry these two features which is why there are certain wood types which are more efficient in weathering harsh elements compared to the rest.

Below are the most common types of wood used in making outdoor furniture:


Specifically the Northern White and Wester Red varieties are the best. Cedars grow native in North America and their durable qualities have long been known. Cedar wood has traditionally been used in boat making and in house siding. At the same time, cedar is also popularly known in the manufacture of outdoor furniture. The reason for why cedars are excellent in making outdoor furniture is because of the fact cedar is lightweight and resistant to splitting, warping. Cedar also has interesting grain patterns, and on top of that, cedar-made pieces of furniture develop an attractive silver-gray patina over time.

Adirondack chairs – which are very popular for all waterfront climates – are typically made of cedar. The adirondack below has unusul back slats that highlight the variations of the cedar. 

cedar adirondack
Photo by Steven Depolo


For the price that you may have to pay for teak, you won't be disappointed. Teak furniture has been passed on from generation to generation. This ability to withstand time, despite the fact that the wood may have been exposed to the outdoors, only attest to the durability of the wood type. Aside from the occasional sanding, teak does not need any form of maintenance. Just like cedar, it is able to resist warping and rotting and can also develop a patina over time. You don't have to worry if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain since the minerals found in teak allow it to resist rotting even in the wettest conditions.

classic teack streamer chair
Classic Teak Steamer Chair by Nick Fullerton


Phill Farell loves giving great tips on home furniture and interior designs. He has always been providing great ideas for clients who wants ready answers for practical furniture styles and ideas. To learn more about his great tips, visit Nick Scali site.