How Long Does Wooden Patio Furniture Last?
Holding all other factors constant, any wooden patio furniture can stay for fifty and above years (50+ years). There are three factors that influence the lifespan of wooden patio furniture. These are maintenance, climate/weather, and type of wood. Research shows that if you carefully consider these three factors your wooden patio furniture can stay for 75 years or more.
The type of wood is the main factor that influences the lifespan of wooden patio furniture. This is because some types of wood like teak can stay for many years even without good maintenance in tough climates. Below, I am going to discuss these three factors that influence the lifespan of your wooden patio furniture.
Factors that Influence the Lifespan of Wooden Patio Furniture
- Type of wood
In general, hardwoods have a longer lifespan than softwoods. But among the hardwoods, some stay longer than others. There are some specific qualities that show a type of wood is durable than the other one. Below are characteristics of durable wood. Any durable type of wood should be:
Resistant to moisture and sun radiations. Any type of wood that produces natural oils and resin is waterproof and the shiny resin makes it resistant to strong sun radiations. The oils make the wood not absorb water. While the shiny resin reflects away the strong sun rays.
Resistant to rot/decay. Patio furniture spends ninety percent of the time outdoors where conditions favor decay or rotting. But a durable type of wood has natural oils and enzymes that fight rotting. Most softwoods are resistant to rot giving them a competitive advantage over the hardwoods.
Resistant to insects and ants. Any type of wood that has compact grains is resistant to insects. Here is where most softwoods suffer because they have loose grains. Insects and ants can easily drill and eat through loose grains.
Easy to work with. Any wood type that is easy to work with can stay for many years. This means you can easily repair your wooden patio furniture. All little repairs give you a chance to spend a few more years with your patio furniture.
Good aging color. Any type of wood that can age into a nice and excellent color is durable wood. This means that a durable type of wood will age into a desirable shade like silvery-grey or dark brown. No stain or paint but the wood is aging well shows it is a strong and tough wood.
Adheres well to glue, stain, paint, and finishes. Any wood that accepts glue and allows stains or paint to stick will make durable patio furniture. Glue holds the joints in place. While stains and paint protect the wood from water and strong sun radiations.
Do not shrink or swell with direct contact with soil. Acacia and cypress are good types of wood for patio furniture. But they have a problem of swelling or shrinking when they are in direct contact with soil. When the soil is dry, it absorbs moisture from the wood, making the wood shrink. But when the soil is saturated with moisture, the wood absorbs water making it swell.
Alignment of the grains. Durable wood has grains that are compact and in a straight line. Compact grains make wood dense and heavy. Straight grains make the wood easy to work with due to the clear-cut lines.
- Climate/weather conditions
Patio furniture stays outdoors facing all types of seasons all year round. There are three climatic conditions that affect wooden furniture. These are, the rain, sun, and wind. The rain provides moisture that makes the wood wet and dump. Well, wet patio furniture is a good environment for mold and mildew to develop. It also makes the wood dent and crack.
The sun radiates strong rays that heat up the particles in the wood making it expand and swell. Then at night, the particles will cool and the wood will contract and shrink in size. This continuous expansion and contraction can make the wood crack or dent reducing its durability.
People overlook the wind as a climatic condition that affects the durability of wooden patio furniture. Most softwoods are not dense, hence lightweight. This makes them vulnerable to being blown away by the wind. Strong winds can break your wooden patio furniture making them less durable.
With good maintenance, a poor type of wood can stay for many years in harsh climatic conditions. Maintenance are simple things that you have to do to increase the useful life of the wooden patio furniture. Some of the maintenance tips and practices are;
Cleaning. This is the number one way of maintaining wooden patio furniture. Dirty furniture will attract molds and mildew that weaken the wood grains. Also, dirty furniture attracts insects that drill and eat the wood. Some wood types can absorb the liquid spills making it swell and cracking. So make sure you clean the wooden patio furniture and it will stay for many years.
Applying stains, sealants, and paint. Applying these materials makes the wood waterproof and sun resistant. They provide a coat that shields the wood from any external factors including insects. However, some wood types do not adhere well to sealants and stains.
Repair where necessary. As it was said a stitch in time saves nine. Here also make sure you repair any little breakdowns you see on the wooden patio furniture. All little repairs keep the patio furniture in good condition for many years.
Avoid direct soil or grass contact. Wooden legs can absorb water when they are in direct contact with soil or grass. Also, direct contact with grass or soil gives the insects easy access to the wooden patio furniture. So make sure the wooden patio furniture is standing on a plastic mat or a concrete slab.
All of the above lifespan determining factors are interdependent. This means that you can have a good type of wood in a favorable climate but with poor maintenance, the furniture will not stay for many years. Make sure you optimize all of the three factors and your wooden patio furniture will stay for 50 years or more.