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Whether you often enjoy long nights of sharing stories around a fire pit or you love spending time dining outside with friends and family, having a good set of outdoor furniture can make your experiences that much more comfortable and memorable. But choosing that outdoor furniture can feel tough given just how many options are out there.
One of the reasons we love aluminum outdoor furniture so much is that it can work for virtually every style and functionality need. From aluminum outdoor dining sets to bar stools, lounge chairs, swivel rockers, and side tables, you can find nearly any piece of aluminum outdoor furniture you could want. And thanks to aluminum’s natural durability and weather-resistant makeup, you can feel confident that any piece you invest in will do a great job of enduring anything Mother Nature (or pets or children) throws its way.
Meet the experts
At Living Cozy, we want to help you find home goods and furnishings and make sure to connect with experts on every topic we cover. You'll hear from the following outdoor furniture experts in this article:
Terry Lin, Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Outer
What are the Advantages of Aluminum Outdoor Furniture?
Durable and Weather Resistant
Outdoor furniture often endures wind, rain, sun, and other weather elements on a regular basis, all of which can take a toll on the furniture. The beauty of aluminum outdoor furniture is that it can stand up to harsh weather like a pro, and it’s usually rust-proof, so it often lasts much longer than other outdoor furniture types.
According to Terry Lin, a RISD- and IDEO-trained designer and former head furniture designer at Pottery Barn, “Unlike many other materials traditionally used for outdoor furniture, aluminum is weather resistant and will never rust, decay, or loosen over time. Outer’s aluminum frames, for example, are guaranteed to last a decade from everyday outdoor use.”
In addition to being highly durable, aluminum outdoor furniture is incredibly low-maintenance. It’s a breeze to clean, typically only requiring a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth. And if you opt for powder-coated aluminum, you’ll find that even in sunny spots the aluminum stays comfortable to the touch.
Terry Lin agrees: “Aluminum outdoor furniture is extremely low maintenance. Clean-up is easy: just wipe away spills or spray the frame down with water for a quick refresh. And unlike other metals, aluminum furniture doesn’t overheat on hot summer days—the material remains comfortable to the touch, even when it’s scorching outside.”
Adding aluminum furniture to your outdoor space also means you’re investing in an eco-friendly material that’s much kinder to Mother Nature than many other outdoor furniture materials. According to Corey Lee, “Aluminum is one of the most recycled and recyclable materials available.” And because aluminum lasts so long, you won’t need to replace an aluminum furniture set as quickly as you would with many other types of outdoor patio furniture.
You can find high-quality aluminum outdoor furniture in nearly any color imaginable, whether you’re in the market for a hot pink statement piece or you want something more neutral. You’ll also find a wide variety of styles and silhouettes, ranging from airy, minimal aluminum pieces to heavier, more ornate aluminum furniture sets.
Plus, aluminum furniture pairs well with many different furniture types, so you can combine a teak furniture set with an aluminum side table or chairs to create a more dynamic design.
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Is Aluminum Sturdy? And Does It Stand Up Well To The Elements?
Don’t let aluminum’s often light weight fool you, “aluminum is extremely sturdy,” says Terry Lin. “Outer’s Aluminum Collection is made from extruded aluminum tubing, which is lightweight enough for a single person to handle, but not so light that it will blow away in a storm.” That means you can easily arrange and rearrange your patio chairs and patio table whenever the mood strikes without worrying about whether you can lift them or if they’ll fall apart during the move.
But if you want something a bit heavier than extruded aluminum, you can opt for cast aluminum, which offers more weight than extruded aluminum. “Cast furniture is much heavier than extruded, and it’s very sturdy. The sturdiness of extruded aluminum depends upon the thickness of the aluminum wall,” says Lindsay Schleis.
“While lighter in weight than steel, aluminum’s rust-proof properties make it one of the best materials to stand up against the elements. Even in coastal areas near saltwater, aluminum is well suited to whatever Mother Nature throws its way."
In addition to being sturdy and durable, aluminum outdoor furniture is incredibly water-resistant and weather-resistant, as well as rust-proof, so it’s the perfect fit for virtually any outdoor space. “While lighter in weight than steel, aluminum’s rust-proof properties make it one of the best materials to stand up against the elements. Even in coastal areas near saltwater, aluminum is well suited to whatever Mother Nature throws its way,” says Corey Lee.
You can also opt for powder-coated aluminum furniture, which offers an added layer of protection against the elements while helping to keep the furniture comfortable to the touch, even on hot, sunny days. “Aluminum is a great option for covered as well as uncovered patio spaces,” says Michelle Weisman. “It is very durable, and often has fully welded frames and powder-coated finishes that are meant to withstand all kinds of weather.”
But if you opt for powder-coated aluminum furniture, be sure to check the quality of the coating. "The finish on top of the aluminum makes a big difference as well. You could have an aluminum part that won’t corrode, but if it has a poor powder coat on it, you’ll have issues with fading or chipping of the finish,” explains Jeff Bare.
Is There a Difference Between Cast Aluminum Furniture and Aluminum Furniture?
There are several key differences between cast aluminum and extruded aluminum furniture. Cast aluminum furniture is made by melting down aluminum and pouring it into a mold. “Once cooled, it creates a solid aluminum frame, making it heavier and more durable [than extruded aluminum],” says Lindsay Schleis.
“Cast aluminum refers to the forming/manufacturing process. Aluminum can be formed from sheet and extruded as well,” adds Jeff Bare.
Meanwhile, extruded aluminum furniture is made by placing aluminum through a machine, which shapes it into the pieces required to make the furniture. These pieces are typically hollow, resulting in lighter-weight outdoor furniture than cast aluminum outdoor furniture. “Extruded aluminum has the benefit of being lighter in weight and thus easier to move around,” says Schleis, so it’s a great option if you tend to change your mind about furniture arrangements a lot.
“For Outer’s modular Aluminum Collection,” says Terry Lin, “we chose to use the extrusion method to create a lightweight set that can easily be reconfigured but won’t bend over time. This method also uses less material and is lighter to ship, which makes it the more eco-friendly option.”
According to Corey Lee, “There’s no distinctive difference in functionality between high-quality cast aluminum and extruded aluminum outdoor furniture; simply a different way of making different shapes and pieces for different styles of furniture.”
That being said, because cast aluminum furniture is solid aluminum, while extruded aluminum is hollow, it’s not unusual for cast aluminum furniture to have a bit more durability and longevity. But high-quality extruded aluminum furniture should still last you for many years. That said, if you’re worried about the lifespan of any outdoor chairs or dining tables, look for pieces with a multi-year warranty that guarantees they’ll last for a certain number of years.
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When Should You Opt for Aluminum Patio Furniture?
Since aluminum patio furniture comes in so many different styles, colors, and types, there are plenty of reasons to invest in it, no matter your aesthetic or functionality needs. For instance, if you like to dine al fresco, then you’ll love the low-maintenace easy-to-clean style of aluminum patio dining sets, especially if that set comes with comfortable outdoor chairs and a round table that makes it easy to break bread and make memories with loved ones.
The often airy design of aluminum furniture also makes it a great fit for small outdoor spaces. So if you have a small patio or balcony, you can opt for a cute aluminum bistro set or create your own out of a cozy side table and dining chairs, which will provide just enough space for chattng and enjoying a cocktail without encroaching on too much square footage.
Aluminum outdoor furniture is naturally mold-resistant and rust-proof, and it will never chip or crack. This makes it the ideal material for a variety of climates, from super hot and humid to extra cold."
An aluminum patio furniture set is also a great option if you live in an area with extreme weather since aluminum is especially strong at resisting the outdoor elements. According to Terry Lin, “Aluminum outdoor furniture is naturally mold-resistant and rust-proof, and it will never chip or crack. This makes it the ideal material for a variety of climates, from super hot and humid to extra cold. Come snow, rain, or blistering-hot weather, your aluminum outdoor furniture will hold up.”
Additionally, if you have a pool or you simply love to lay outside, then aluminum lounge chairs are perfect since you won’t have to worry if they get wet or smeared with sunscreen. Pair them with a side table or dining table with an umbrella hole and you’ll be set for multi-season enjoyment.
When all is said and done, it’s tough to find an outdoor space that wouldn’t benefit from some sort of aluminum furniture addition. Maybe you have an outdoor bar and need a new set of bar stools to accompany your summer cocktails, or maybe you want a comfortable conversation set that makes it easy to chat with your favorite people over a delicious meal. You can even opt for an aluminum swivel rocker where you can enjoy your favorite book while taking in the afternoon breeze—there’s truly a piece of aluminum outdoor furniture for every need, lifestyle, and aesthetic.
Kelly Weimert is a writer, editor, and interior design expert with 10 years of experience writing about design and home decor. She's written for interior design publications such as MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, Domino Magazine, and Hunker. When she's not writing or editing, she's probably busy obsessing over how to beautify her home.
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