6 Outdoor Furniture Options and How to Care for Them

Wood patio furniture on a wood plank patio

4. Wood

Many classic patio furniture designs use wood. Adirondack chairs, slatted chaise lounges, and slatted outdoor dining sets are timeless, popular and stylish.

Certain types of wood like pine, cedar and fir are softer and more susceptible to damage from wet and humid environments.

Harder woods, on the other hand, can withstand most climates and can last for many years.


  • Timeless appearance
  • Versatile
  • Durable


  • Can be damaged by moisture
  • Heavy

Care Tips: Coat your wooden furniture with a weather-resistant finish to help it withstand the elements. Bring your wooden furniture into a covered shed or garage during the rainy time of year to prevent rain rot. Scrub the surface occasionally with a soft brush and wood cleanser.

Plastic patio furniture on a paver patio

5. Plastic

Plastic patio furniture can be designed to resemble materials like wood but without the upkeep. You can also find recycled plastic furniture — making it an eco-friendly choice.

Plastic is lightweight, easy to clean and resists water damage. It’s particularly ideal for hosting parties, as stains and food will not permanently stain.

However, it can develop mold and mildew, so regular maintenance is necessary.


  • Lightweight
  • Can be recycled
  • Easy to clean
  • Water-resistant, but can develop mold or mildew


  • Some people don’t like plastic’s appearance
  • Too lightweight for windy places

Care Tips: Dip a sponge in warm water and squeeze out any excess; sprinkle baking soda on the sponge to act as a mild abrasive and scrub the furniture; rinse the furniture with a garden hose; and allow it to dry.

To clean mold and mildew stains on white furniture, apply a solution of one part bleach to four parts water in a pump-up sprayer. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes, rinse with a garden hose, and allow to dry in full sun.

To clean mold and mildew stains on colored furniture, apply a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar to one-quart water in a pump-up sprayer. Leave on for 10-20 minutes then rinse with a garden hose, and allow to dry in full sun.

Wrought iron furniture on a brick patio

6. Wrought Iron

Wrought iron furniture is attractive, long-lasting and forever chic. It’s also very heavy and requires more maintenance than other materials.

If you keep your wrought iron in good shape and maintain it annually, at least, it can last for decades. If neglected, it can rust more easily than other metals until the set is no longer usable.


  • Durable
  • Heavyweight
  • Stylish


  • Susceptible to rust
  • Difficult to move

Care Tips: Mix dishwashing detergent with a bucket of warm water and scrub the surface with a scrub brush. Then rinse the furniture and allow to dry.

You can use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any rusted spots down to the bare metal. Wipe off any metal residue with a clean cloth dampened with mineral spirits or naphtha.

If you notice any bare spots, wear an approved respirator and spray them with a primer made for metal, such as those made by Rust-Oleum, following the directions on the can. Allow the surface to dry for the recommended time.

Then wear the respirator to spray the furniture with paint made for metal, following the directions on the can.

Finally, allow the paint to dry thoroughly before using the furniture.

Further Reading


    • Hi, Debbie,
      First, grab a dust mask and sand off the old finish with high-grit sandpaper.
      Second, take a tack cloth and remove any dust from the rocker.
      Third, wear some gloves, apply your favorite stain with a stain sponge and let dry.
      Finally, apply two coats of polyurethane rated for outdoor use (withstanding rain, moisture and temperature changes).
      Good luck!


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