How long will wood garden furniture last?

We are taking a closer look at how long wooden garden furniture will last and how the popular types of wood on sale in the UK will perform if you look after them correctly…

Here at Lazy Susan, we sell metal patio furniture. It is not that we are anti-other materials, far from it. All have their pros and cons. We simply chose cast aluminium because we felt it was best suited to the UK climate and how we like to use our gardens.

We recently looked at the 3 patio furniture materials we think are the most weather-resistant and therefore best suited to our climate. We selected Teak for its resistance to water due to a high natural oil and silica content and its relatively low maintenance compared to other types of wood.

In this article, we want to take a closer look at the longevity of wooden garden furniture. How long will the popular types of wood on sale in the UK last if you look after them correctly? Teak is probably the most expensive to buy but is the old saying of "getting what you pay for" true?

Is wooden garden furniture the right choice for the UK climate?

While wooden garden furniture is suitable for the UK climate, the right choice of timber and maintenance is essential. That is what we want to focus on here. And as much as we are team cast aluminium, wood offers a timeless, natural look that complements a wide variety of outdoor settings and garden decor styles.

It has a warmth and character that will only enhance the ambience of any outdoor space. The top-quality wooden sets, especially those made from hardwoods like teak and eucalyptus, are highly durable and can withstand outdoor conditions for many years. Even some softwoods can last a long time with proper treatment and care.

Wood has a suppleness that allows for natural give, making it comfortable to sit on. It also tends to stay cooler in direct sun compared to metal furniture, something that we’ve just looked at in our What is the best patio furniture material for a hot climate? post.

One thing we would stress is if you choose wood over cast aluminium, be sure to purchase furniture made from sustainably sourced wood, to ensure it is an environmentally friendly choice. Look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification to ensure sustainable practices.

How long should different types of wood outdoor furniture last?

The climate here in the UK, characterised by the relatively mild but wet conditions we seem to be experiencing at the moment, can pose a challenge for outdoor wooden furniture. However, with the right precautions and timber choice, it can be well-suited for our gardens and patios.

The popular types of timber on sale in the UK include:

1. Hardwood Garden Furniture Sets

1. Hardwood Garden Furniture Sets

Hardwood furniture is known for its durability and resistance to the elements. Teak, for instance, has a high natural oil and silica content that makes it highly resistant to moisture and rot.

Along with Teak, other popular hardwoods used in the UK garden furniture industry include Ipe, Acacia, Shorea, Eucalyptus and Oak. If regularly maintained, such as cleaning and applying a protective oil or sealant, then they should have a lifespan of up to 20 years.

2. Softwood Garden Furniture Sets

2. Softwood Garden Furniture Sets

Softwoods are less durable than hardwoods but can still last a significant amount of time with proper care. Cedar is a common wood used for garden furniture in the UK as it has a good natural resistance to decay, which can help extend its lifespan.

Other common types used include Pine, Fir, and Spruce, but compared to hardwoods their lifespan tends to be around half, so say up to 10 to 12 years if you apply a stain, paint with a protective outdoor finish, or seal at least every 2 years to protect it from the elements.

3. Pressure-Treated Wooden Garden Furniture Sets

3. Pressure-Treated Wooden Garden Furniture Sets

Pressure-treated wood is another popular material in our industry and common in large DIY/Home stores. It is essentially a softwood that has been chemically treated to better resist the elements.

It definitely enhances durability but it does alter its appearance, giving the wood a slightly green or brown tint, a rougher surface and a slightly "chemically" odour. That said it can be painted and once left outside for a while the smell should disappear.

Common types of wood used for pressure treatment include pine, fir, and spruce. The wood is dried to remove moisture, loaded into a pressure vessel to create a vacuum, and then a chemical preservative such as Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), or Copper Azole (CA) is introduced.

The process produces timber that should have a lifespan of around 15+ years, however, it will still require regular maintenance to prevent splitting and warping.

4. Composite Wooden Furniture Sets

4. Composite Wooden Furniture Sets

Composite wood is the new kid on the block and it is made from a blend of wood fibres and plastic resin. It offers the look of wood with enhanced durability and resistance to the elements.

The common type used in our industry is known as a Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC), and it is also used for decking and garden buildings such as sheds. It requires significantly less maintenance than the real thing and can last up to 20 years. However, whilst it mimics real wood, it tends to lack the warmth and natural beauty in our opinion.

How to extend the lifespan of wooden patio furniture

How to extend the lifespan of wooden patio furniture

The longevity of wooden garden furniture depends on several factors including the type of wood, the quality of the construction, the environmental conditions, and how you choose to care for and maintain it.

To keep your furniture looking good and resistant to the elements, we would advise you to follow these 5 basic steps:

1. Regularly clean your wood garden furniture

At least once every three to four weeks remove all dirt and debris with a soft bristle brush. Regularly wash the furniture down with a specialist wood furniture cleaner and warm water.

2. Store your wood garden furniture when not using it and in winter

When not in use, during the winter or in bad weather, store your furniture indoors or use protective breathable covers. Alternatively, pair with a garden structure such as a pergola to offer you and your garden furniture shade and protection from the elements.

3. Avoid direct ground contact

Elevate furniture off the ground to prevent moisture absorption, which can quickly lead to decay and rot. There are several products on the market that are easy to affix; such as rubber feet, furniture cups or screw-in metal wood feet.

Look for a suitable product that will fit securely and lift the furniture off the ground so the wood is not absorbing too much. The For Wood Feet sets from Vital Parts are a great example that allows you to elevate and adjust for uneven surfaces.

4. Inspect the wood for damage

Regularly check your wooden garden furniture for signs of damage such as cracks, splits, or moisture ingress and address them promptly.

5. Regularly seal and protect your wood garden furniture

Apply a suitable sealant, stain, or oil (as appropriate) for the type of wood you have to protect the furniture from moisture ingress and UV rays. Regularly applying a good quality sealant, oil, or wood preservative will protect the wood from moisture, extend its lifespan, and keep your furniture looking great.

Lazy Susan’s final thoughts…
Lazy Susan’s final thoughts…

Wooden patio furniture can be a beautiful and durable choice for your garden, offering both style and functional benefits.

In the UK climate, it’s essential to choose the right type of wood and commit to regular maintenance to ensure longevity. With these considerations, wooden furniture can be a lasting and charming addition to your outdoor space.

Teak, Eucalyptus, and Iroko are probably the best choices in terms of moisture resistance, making them ideal for the UK climate.

However, they will still require extensive maintenance to keep them fit for purpose. By following the 5 maintenance steps above you can significantly enhance the longevity of your wooden garden furniture, regardless of the type of wood it is made from.

If you don’t want to spend time and money maintaining it, please look at our classically styled cast aluminium collection. Our What garden furniture is best for the UK climate? article looks at why we think it is the right choice.

Lazy Susan Patio Furniture

Cast aluminium does not rust or corrode, making it highly resistant to the wet conditions we often see.

We apply a durable powder-coated finish, so it will not rot or warp and this does not need to be reapplied if looked after. So unlike wood, it will not require regular sealing, staining, or oiling to protect it from the elements.

It requires very little upkeep. It can be easily cleaned with a little car shampoo or washing up liquid in warm water, whereas wooden furniture is best cleaned with specialist products.

Cast aluminium is highly durable and can withstand exposure to sun, rain, and even snow without deteriorating. Plus, whilst a robust metal, it is generally lighter than wooden furniture, making it easier to pick up and move around your garden or patio. Handy if you want to rearrange your patio or store in the off-season.

Of course, it is worth stressing that wood can be easily painted, stained, or treated to match different styles and preferences. It can be easily refinished to restore its appearance after years of use

However, if you live in the UK and are looking for patio furniture that can withstand our wet climate with minimal maintenance, then we think cast aluminium is an excellent choice.

If you have any photos of your new Lazy Susan Patio Furniture, 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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