How long does cast aluminium furniture last?

Our range is perfectly suited to the UK climate but how long will cast aluminium furniture last if left exposed to the elements...

We use a lot of different ways to describe how long our Cast Aluminium Furniture should last in our blog articles and marketing materials. Sayings such as “many a summer to come”, “several years plus”, and “a decade when left outside” are some of the common ones but what does that actually mean?

Cast aluminium patio furniture is known for its durability and resistance to rust and corrosion, hence why it is such a popular choice for outdoor settings here in the UK. It is the perfect material for our erratic climate and it is UV and water-resistant. 

Like anything left outside though, it will inevitably deteriorate over time. However, the amount of time is the big question we want to try and honestly answer today. Unfortunately, that is a little like the old “how long is a piece of string”.

The lifespan of cast aluminium will vary based on several factors, including the quality of the material, maintenance, and the level of exposure to various environmental conditions. 

For example, a cast aluminium garden bench placed under a tree in an exposed part of a garden at the coast will show signs of being left outside quicker than the same bench left on a sheltered patio under a pergola.

Let's look at the 7 critical factors in more detail to try and provide an answer but also help us understand how we can keep cast aluminium looking great for “many summers to come”... 

1. Quality of Metal & Casting

Quality of Metal & Casting

Like anything, quality is important. The better the cast aluminium furniture the longer it will last. Same with wood, whereby teak furniture will last longer (i.e. greater weather resistance) than say a soft wood like pine.

The key is to look for furniture made from high-grade aluminium that is cast with precision, protected with an anodised coating and hand-finished. Our How It Is Made page contains details of how our collection is manufactured.

The quality of the casting process is critical for several reasons: 

  1. Mechanical Properties
    The strength, hardness, and durability of the aluminium used, are vital for the performance of the finished furniture. The alloy we use is selected to withstand the intended load and stresses required for a table and chairs without failing.
  2. Corrosion Resistance
    Aluminium is known for its natural resistance to rust. However, the casting process and the quality of the alloy will influence the resistance to corrosion. Our proper casting process and high-quality alloy enhance our range's ability to resist corrosion and increase the lifespan of the product.
  3. Weight Reduction
    Aluminium was chosen as our core material because it is robust but light enough to easily pick up and move. The casting method we use helps us reduce the weight but maintain structural integrity.
  4. Thermal Conductivity
    Aluminium has excellent thermal conductivity and we looked at this subject in detail in our Does an aluminium garden table and chairs get hot in the sun? article. All materials get hot in direct sun but aluminium has excellent heat dissipation. Our high-quality casting process ensures that our aluminium has excellent thermal properties so that it will not fade, split or crack when it gets hot.
  5. Surface Finish
    The casting process also plays a significant role in determining the surface finish and dimensional accuracy of our finished product. A proper casting technique gives us parts with a smooth surface and accurate dimensions, which is what ensures a strong piece of furniture and a precise fit and finish when assembled.

2. Finish Applied After Casting

Finish Applied After Casting

The type of coating or finish applied to the cast aluminium furniture also plays a critical role in ensuring longevity and durability. 

We utilise a powder-coated finish that helps to further protect the metal from the elements and extend its lifespan. It also gives our furniture a nice looking and to-the-touch finish, and we recently discussed the advantages and disadvantages of powder-coated aluminium garden furniture.

To summarise that article, the application of our powder-coated finish is important for several reasons:

  1. Corrosion Resistance
    In the UK, outdoor furniture is exposed to harsh environmental conditions, including rain, sunlight, and humidity. Cast aluminium, while naturally corrosion-resistant, benefits from the additional layer of protection that powder coating creates. It creates a durable and protective barrier that prevents corrosion, without the need to re-apply, ensuring the longevity of the furniture.
  2. Weather Resistance
    Powder-coated finishes also provide excellent weather resistance. They protect against rain, UV rays, extreme temperature fluctuations, and other weather elements. This helps our outdoor furniture maintain its colour, lustre, and overall appearance over an extended period, even when left outside all year round.
  3. Finish
    Powder coating allows us to apply our stylish coloured finishes - Antique Bronze, Slate Grey and White. It also gives our furniture a lovely tactile feel and the paintwork if properly maintained will not need reapplication to keep the metal protected.
  4. Durability
    Our Powder-coated finish also enhances the durability of our cast aluminium furniture range. It is highly resistant to scratches, chips, and abrasions, ensuring that the furniture maintains its appearance even with regular use and exposure to outdoor activities. If you do find a chip or scratch they can be easily repaired with our Touch Up Paint.
  5. Maintenance
    Another big advantage of our powder-coated finish is that it is relatively easy to clean and maintain. The smooth, sealed finish resists dirt, stains, and mildew, simplifying the cleaning process and will not need regular re-application like many other materials. A wipe down with warm soapy water will often suffice and this ease of maintenance is particularly important for items that are left outside as they do get dirty.
  6. Fading
    UV rays from the sun can cause colour fading, especially with wood and resin/plastic furniture. Our powder-coated finish is formulated to resist fading from the sun, helping the furniture maintain its vibrant and attractive appearance over time. 

The application of a powder-coated finish to our cast aluminium furniture is essential and it enhances the durability, weather resistance, looks, and overall performance. It not only protects the furniture from the elements but also contributes to its long-term visual appeal and functionality. 

3. Level of Maintenance

Level of Maintenance

As mentioned in the previous section, the level of regular maintenance plays a significant role in preserving the lifespan of your furniture. 

Cleaning it regularly, applying a little car wax, and addressing any issues promptly will significantly contribute to how long your cast aluminium furniture will last.

It is often overlooked but the level of maintenance is a key consideration when purchasing new garden furniture for several reasons:

  1. Longevity
    Low-maintenance furniture will often last longer than materials that require regular maintenance. They are better suited to withstanding the elements and will retain their structural integrity and appearance over a longer period.
  2. Time & Effort
    Low-maintenance patio furniture allows you to spend more time enjoying your outdoor space and less time on maintenance. This is especially important for individuals with busy schedules who may not have the time for frequent cleaning and maintenance.
  3. Cost
    Furniture that requires less maintenance generally translates to lower long-term costs. They often cost more to buy but you will save money on cleaning products, sealants, or other maintenance supplies. Additionally, furniture that holds up well over time will reduce the need for frequent replacement.
  4. Functionality
    Low-maintenance furniture is more user-friendly and it is designed to withstand the rigours of outdoor use without requiring any specialised care.
  5. Resilience
    Outdoor furniture in the UK will be exposed to various environmental factors, including sun, rain, wind, and temperature fluctuations. Low-maintenance materials and finishes are more resilient to the elements, protecting the furniture from damage and degradation.
  6. Looks
    Furniture that is easy to maintain will retain its aesthetic appeal for a longer time. Materials and finishes that resist fading, staining, or corrosion will stay looking good without the need for constant upkeep.
  7. Cleaning
    Furniture that is easy to clean and maintain simplifies the task of keeping your whole outdoor space clean and tidy. Water-resistant materials and finishes can simply be wiped down with warm soapy water, no need for any messy refinishing or specialist cleaners.

Low-maintenance furniture provides peace of mind, knowing that your outdoor investment will require minimal effort to keep it in good condition. This allows you to focus on enjoying your outdoor space without regular maintenance.

Considering the level of maintenance when purchasing new patio furniture ensures that you choose options that align with your lifestyle, preferences, and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to caring for your outdoor furniture.

4. Environmental Factors

Environmental Factors

The local climate and environmental conditions will have probably the most significant impact on how long cast aluminium furniture will last. For example, furniture in coastal areas is exposed to salt air, and this can affect the wear and tear on the furniture. 

Even in the UK, which has pretty consistently rubbish weather across the whole of the country, gardens will be subjected to a host of different environmental factors that can contribute to their deterioration over time.

Environmental factors vary depending on the geographical location, climate, and the specific conditions in your outdoor space. Here are some common environmental factors that can cause outdoor furniture to deteriorate: 

  1. Sun
    Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause fading and discolouration of materials such as plastic and wood and outdoor fabrics found on cushions, awnings, parasols, etc.
  2. Rain
    Continuous exposure to rain, moisture, and humidity can lead to issues such as rust, corrosion, mould, and mildew. This is especially problematic with wood furniture, as well as cushions and fabrics that are not water-resistant.
  3. Temperature Fluctuations
    Extreme temperature fluctuations, including hot summers and cold winters, can impact the structural integrity of outdoor furniture. Materials that easily expand and contract such as wood, can easily warp and crack.
  4. Humidity
    High humidity levels, particularly in coastal areas with salt air, can accelerate the deterioration of certain materials. Salt air can contribute to the corrosion of iron, while humidity can promote mould and mildew growth.
  5. Wind
    Strong winds, storms, or hurricanes can cause physical damage to outdoor furniture. Lightweight such as our cast aluminium coupe be blown over or displaced, so if there’s a weather warning it is best to store them indoors or stack them carefully in a sheltered part of your garden.
  6. Air Pollution
    Airborne pollutants, such as smog, industrial emissions, and car exhaust, can contribute to the deterioration of outdoor furniture. Iron, in particular, could be prone to corrosion, while wood and resin furniture can be discoloured in polluted environments.
  7. Tree Sap
    Outdoor furniture located under trees may be exposed to tree sap, which can be difficult to remove and may cause stains. We looked at how to safely remove it in our How to remove tree sap from outdoor furniture article.
  8. Bird Droppings
    Bird droppings can also be corrosive and stain certain materials. We looked at how to carefully remove it from our painted finish in our How to clean bird poo off your garden furniture article.
  9. Insects & Pests
    Insects and pests, such as spiders or ants, can damage outdoor furniture, especially if it is made from wood. Our metal furniture has a protective finish but there are still a few things you can do to keep beasties away and we shared some tips in our How to keep pests away from your garden furniture article.
  10. Drainage
    Insufficient drainage in outdoor areas can lead to water pooling around furniture, promoting conditions conducive to mould, mildew, and deterioration of materials.
  11. Chemicals
    Exposure to harsh chemicals, such as swimming pool chemicals, cleaning agents, or fertilisers, could damage the finish and structural integrity of some furniture materials. With our furniture, we would certainly avoid using any chemical cleaners, scouring pads, or pressure washers when cleaning.
  12. Abrasive Debris
    Dust, sand, and other abrasive debris carried by wind or foot traffic can scratch or wear down surfaces over time. To minimise you should keep your furniture clean and cover when not in use. With our range also ensure the screw-in Chair & Table Feet are secure to prevent chipping feet, especially on stone patios.

Understanding the environmental factors in your outdoor space is crucial when selecting outdoor furniture. Choosing materials and finishes, such as our powder-coated cast aluminium, which is resistant to most of these elements will help reduce the need to maintain and ensure the furniture is built to last. 

5. Level of Protection

Level of Protection

Regular cleaning, protection, and proper maintenance are the best ways to mitigate the impact of environmental factors and prolong the life of your cast aluminium furniture.

Storing cast aluminium furniture properly during harsh weather conditions, such as winter or strong winds, will extend its lifespan. If possible, store the furniture in a dry and covered area such as a shed or use garden furniture covers.

Protecting cast aluminium garden furniture is essential to ensure its longevity and maintain its appearance. 

Here are Lazy Susan’s tips to help you protect your cast aluminium furniture:

  1. Clean
    As we have already highlighted, regular cleaning is essential to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and other debris. Use a washing-up liquid or car shampoo (our preference) and a soft sponge or cloth to clean the surfaces. Avoid abrasive materials or chemicals that could damage the finish. Rinse with the garden hose on a spray setting and leave it to dry in the sun.
  2. Protect
    Applying a light coat of car wax to your cast aluminium furniture is a simple yet effective way to provide an additional layer of protection. Apply a high-quality automotive wax to create a barrier against moisture and UV rays. Our How to apply car wax to metal garden furniture article looks at how to do it and why we recommend it.
  3. Cover
    When not using your furniture, we would also recommend you cover it with some breathable weather-resistant furniture covers. They will protect it from rain and dirt, keeping it clean, dry and ready to use. It is important to make sure the covers are breathable to prevent mould from forming, can be secured in place, and fitted to each piece rather than the full set.
  4. Store
    During extreme weather conditions, such as the heavy storms with 50 mph plus winds that have battered the UK this month, we would advise that you store your cast aluminium furniture inside. If this isn’t an option then stack and move them to a sheltered part of your garden or patio so they don’t get blown over.
  5. Inspect
    Prevention is better than the cure so regularly inspect your furniture for any signs of damage, such as scratches, chips, or loose fixtures and fittings. Address any issues promptly by cleaning or retouching the affected area to prevent further deterioration.
  6. Screw-In Feet
    As mentioned above we supply screw-in feet for all our garden tables and chairs to prevent direct contact with hard patio surfaces. This protects the furniture from chipping and scratching and the furniture from damaging your patio surface. If you lose any you can purchase various pack sizes from our Shop.
  7. Guidelines
    Always follow the care and maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your cast aluminium furniture. This ensures that you're using appropriate cleaning agents and methods for your specific patio furniture.

By following these tips and maintaining a regular cleaning and protection routine, you can help significantly extend the life of your cast aluminium garden furniture and keep it looking as good as new for many years. 

6. How You Use 

How You Use

The frequency of use and the weight placed on your furniture are other factors that could impact how long it lasts, so try to avoid exceeding limits and use furniture for its intended purpose only.

Here are several things to consider to ensure the longevity of your cast aluminium furniture:

  1. Weight
    Overloading our furniture could lead to structural damage so please exercise common sense.
  2. Assembly
    Follow our assembly instructions carefully as improperly assembled furniture could be less stable and more prone to damage.
  3. Handling
    Handle the furniture with care and avoid rough handling, especially when moving or repositioning items on your patio and avoid placing hot items directly on the furniture's surface.
  4. Moving
    Lift, don't drag when moving your furniture across your patio surface. This will help prevent chips and scratches to both the furniture and your patio.
  5. Secure
    In windy conditions, secure your furniture to prevent it from being blown over. Consider adding weights or anchors to keep items stable if you can't store them in a shed or your garden is open to the elements.

By being mindful of these factors and adopting good maintenance practices, you can extend the life of your furniture and ensure that it remains in good working and looking condition. 

7. Manufacturers Guidelines

Manufacturers Guidelines

Lastly, follow any care and maintenance instructions provided by the furniture manufacturer as they will be tailored to the specific characteristics of the cast aluminium used in their products.

This is crucial for the following reasons:

  1. Safety
    Manufacturer's guidelines often include safety recommendations and usage instructions. Adhering to these guidelines helps prevent accidents and injuries. It also ensures that the furniture is used in a manner that minimises the risk of damage.
  2. Assembly
    Patio furniture typically requires assembly, and the manufacturer will provide detailed instructions for this process. We supply our collection Ready-To-Assemble and we looked at the advantages in The advantages of Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) outdoor furniture. Correct assembly (such as finger-tightening all bolts before finishing with tools) ensure that our furniture is correctly assembled, stable, and secure. Proper assembly will help to contribute to the furniture's longevity and prevent potential structural issues.
  3. Warranty
    Manufacturers should offer warranties that cover defects in materials or workmanship. Following the manufacturer's guidelines, including proper assembly, usage (i.e. The product must only have been used for normal domestic purposes), and maintenance instructions, is often a requirement to maintain the validity of the warranty. Failure to follow these guidelines may void warranty coverage. You will find details of our 3-year guarantee here.

Different patio furniture materials require specific care and maintenance. Manufacturers provide guidelines such as the many instructional articles such as our How to clean and maintain Lazy Susan garden chairs post that detail how to clean and protect. 

Following these recommendations will help preserve the appearance and durability of your cast aluminium furniture, and maximise the value and longevity of your investment.

In conclusion...

To answer the question of how long will cast aluminium furniture last, a well-maintained and high-quality set from Lazy Susan will last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more.

However, this will vary depending on the factors mentioned above: Regular inspection, cleaning, protection, and addressing any issues such as chips promptly will help to maximise the lifespan of your cast aluminium patio furniture.

In general, a well-maintained and high-quality piece of cast aluminium furniture should last for many years, often exceeding that decade or more with a little regular TLC. 

Cheaper or lower-quality options may have a shorter lifespan, however, again if you store it, clean it, maintain it and regularly inspect the furniture for any signs of wear and tear, addressing any issues promptly, you will prolong its life. 

If you have specific concerns or questions about the lifespan of our cast aluminium furniture, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Service Team.

If you have any photos of your new Cast Aluminium Furniture from Lazy Susan in your garden or on your patio, we’d love to see a few snaps for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or Upload Here.

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