Many people, when they hear the words “aluminum patio furniture,” they picture standard, relatively basic pieces that probably look something like your garden variety resort furniture.
Many people also associate aluminum furniture with low quality; perhaps a small step up from plastic. And there is indeed an abundance of boring, low-quality aluminum patio furniture out there. But there is also boring, low-quality patio furniture constructed of virtually any material used to make patio furniture, from wicker to wrought iron.
Aluminum Has Real Benefits
Contrary to the negative light some people view aluminum in, many patio owners selectively choose aluminum in both residential and commercial settings for the very real benefits it offers:
- Lightweight, easy to move or stack
- Very low maintenance
- Easy to refurbish
- Invulnerable to rust
- Does not retain heat like iron or steel
- Limitless styles & colors
Interestingly, one of aluminum’s biggest benefits might also be one of its few drawbacks: its weight. Lightweight furniture has obvious advantages, but also makes the furniture more susceptible to being blown around in even moderate winds. Closely related is durability; extremely light-weight aluminum furniture — inexpensive, folding camping chairs, for example — is prone to bending under moderate use or if subjected to unusually heavy weight.
Both issues are, again, largely a matter of quality. Though an aluminum chair is always going to be lighter than, say, a wrought iron chair, a well-built aluminum product is not going to collapse under an oversize patron or blow away in the slightest breeze.
An Abundance Of Options
Options in aluminum patio furniture are every bit as versatile as in other materials. As mentioned above, you can get it in classic vinyl strap, or a more heavy-duty version with aluminum straps for extra durability. But that’s just the beginning.
Aluminum starts to get interesting in sling-style seating, from the startling severity of modern pieces to the gentle suggestion of traditional design.
Some of the coloring options are also evident in aluminum sling furniture. Darker colors, especially when combined with lighter material, can give the impression of wood. By using a combination of contrasting or coordinating colors and textures, aluminum furniture gives you the choice to make your furniture stand out or blend in.
In aluminum cushion furniture you’ll find still greater variety of both design and style. The Heritage Collection for example, offers a classic design reminiscent of cast iron furniture traditionally found in English gardens. For a more robust look, the Santa Monica Collection and Salisbury Collection provide luxurious, oversize seating with graceful bends and spacious styling.
If you’re looking for ornate detailing and unique elegance, the Sophia Collection is particularly interesting, with its aluminum wicker and elaborate design. Taking things a step further by combining the distinctive look of cast aluminum with the sturdiness of tubular aluminum, the Veracruz collection is truly stunning.
The above examples only scratch the surface of what aluminum patio furniture has to offer. These are all high-quality pieces which will not bend, bow or collapse under moderate use; to the contrary, many are used extensively in commercial applications.
A Word On Maintenance
Though aluminum does not rust, oxidation through other natural processes is possible, albeit rare. In fact, aluminum corrosion is so slow that it’s not a concern as far as integrity, at least not for several decades, but it can be unsightly. For this reason, quality aluminum patio furniture is always coated with a durable, protective finish.
Modern aluminum furniture is powder coated, an interesting process in which the frame is sandblasted to create texture, evenly coated in powder, then baked so the powder melts, creating a uniform, strong coating which protects from oxidation. This powder coating process is the primary reason aluminum requires very little maintenance other than hosing it off or wiping it down with a wet cloth from time to time.
Should you ever become bored with the color of your furniture, finishes can easily be sandblasted off and a new coating applied for a fresh new look, at a fraction of the price of buying a whole new piece.