How to choose your garden furniture and make it last
Garden furniture is now a fashion item as the patio and garden increasingly become an additional functional space to the home.
Before you buy any garden furniture it is strongly recommended that you do some research. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of buying garden furniture that is right for you and will last you a long time. Following are some important tips you need to consider before you buy.
Firstly decide whether you want stackable or foldaway furniture that will be put away in the shed or garage in winter or if you want permanent solid garden furniture that remains in situ all year round. If you want your garden furniture to be a permanent part of your garden for esthetic reasons then it is recommended that you go for heavy furniture made from hardwood, aluminum or wrought iron with rust proofing. It is well worth spending the money on the heavier more durable materials as this will be much more cost effective in the long run.
Choosing the right type of material and construction is paramount. Decide what kind of material for your garden furniture would best compliment your patio or garden. Select a material that will stay in balance with your garden.
Wood is the best all round as it is lightweight, esthetically pleasing and comfortable but requires some maintenance. Choose a tropical hardwood which is high in natural oil content like teak, iroko or courbaril. These woods are weather resistant and can be left outside throughout the year.
Make sure that mortice and tenon joints are used for your teak garden furniture and not bolts which corrode. If any metal fittings are used in the construction make sure they are made from brass, stainless steel or aluminum which are corrosion resistant.
Make sure the construction is only premium grade teak for our garden furniture, so any knots, cracks and other defects are eliminated before the timber is used to build the furniture. Additionally, Make sure your teak garden furniture is kiln dried to optimise moisture content and ensure shape is maintained and cracks are eliminated.
Teak garden furniture that is assembled using epoxy based glues tend to have the best performance and durability of all the types of joints as the epoxy resin used will not be affected by rain or frost.
If your teak garden furniture becomes dirty it is easy to clean with warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush which will enable you to restore the beautiful silver grey weathered look. If required a pressure hose can be used at 60-80 bar [900-1200psi] at a distance of no less than 30cm.
Once your teak garden furniture has weathered the colour will be enhanced by an annual scrub. A small amount of bleach added to the water will suppress any algae growth.
Any stains and grease spots can be immediately removed by washing down using a light detergent then rinsing off with clean water as soon as they occur. However, this is not essential as nature will take its course over time.
In dry weather small cracks will appear in the end of the grain timbers. This is natural and no action needs to be taken as when the moisture in the atmosphere increases the timber will return to its original condition.
It is not necessary to use teak oil or varnish as these will not extend the life of your garden furniture and are purely cosmetic. However, if you wish to preserve the as new appearance of your teak garden furniture the application of teak oil when the furniture is new will give a more lustre finish than leaving untouched. Please ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions as usually this is a three stage process. Make sure the timber is completely dry when you apply the teak oil, otherwise the furniture will blacken.
Wrought iron garden furniture generally looks the best as it is usually hand crafted to give a unique look. The disadvantages of wrought iron furniture is that it is not as comfortable as wood and heavier to move around. Additionally, iron rusts so wrought iron garden furniture has to be especially coated to prevent it from rusting so make sure the supplier gives you at least a one year warranty against rust.
Finally, if you can, it is recommended that you invest in a cover for your garden furniture. Covers now come in all shapes and sizes and are well worth the money as they add years to the life of your garden furniture. Simply place the cover on your garden furniture every evening or when it rains, you will see the benefits in the long term.