What is the best patio furniture material for a hot climate?

The Lazy Susan team have picked what we think are the best 5 patio furniture materials that are well-suited for those of you who live in warmer climes...

We recently explored whether our cast aluminium garden furniture gets hot in the sun, and we wanted to follow that up with a closer look at what other materials are suitable for a hot climate...

If you’re lucky to live somewhere hot, which is certainly not the UK as we sit and type this, then you'll want patio furniture that can withstand high temperatures and intense sunlight without deteriorating quickly.

In our last article, we discussed the importance of “thermal conductivity”, and in it we stated that:

“Cast aluminium, as a metal, has excellent thermal conductivity, which simply means that it is a very good conductor of heat. In other words, your aluminium garden table and chairs from Lazy Susan will become hot to the touch when exposed to direct sunlight.”

We went on to say:

“This at first might seem a disadvantage but most outdoor materials, even wood will get hot to the touch in the summer sun. The big advantage aluminium has over other materials such as wood and resins is that it will not be damaged by the sun's UV rays. Yes, it might get a little warmer to the touch but it will not fade or crack under any high heat.”

What that all means is that any patio furniture material with good thermal conductivity, when exposed to sunlight, will become hot to the touch, but it will also dissipate that heat the quickest.

This is what prevents the furniture from fading or splitting in the sun or if you take it out of direct sunlight, and pop it in the shade, it will cool down much quicker.

Here are our top 5 patio materials that are well-suited for hot climates:

1. Cast aluminium patio furniture

Cast aluminium patio furniture from Lazy Susan 

Naturally, we had to include cast aluminium on our top 5 and we’ve put it in the number 1 spot. As a small family-run business we could sell any material but we chose cast aluminium as we found it best suited to the UK climate, where we can see all four seasons in one day.

However, what makes it suited to the inclement weather here, also makes it perfectly suited to a hot climate. It is lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust, and our classic styling has proven to be incredibly popular in France, Spain and Italy.

Aluminium doesn't absorb heat like other metals, so it stays cooler to the touch than other metals, even in direct sunlight. That said, it can still get hot to the touch - all materials will get hot in direct sun!

It is, however, best suited to withstanding high temperatures, intense sunlight, sudden temperature dips or rainfall, without warping, cracking, or fading.

Why cast aluminium patio furniture is good in hot climates:

  1. Thermal Conductivity
    Cast aluminium has good heat-resistant properties, making it well-suited for withstanding high temperatures. Unlike other metals that can become uncomfortably hot when exposed to sunlight, aluminium remains relatively cool thanks to our powder coating. It is also a great conductor of heat, so when hot, if it is quickly cooled by a passing shower or drop in temperature it will not crack or split like resin and wood can.

  2. Corrosion Resistant
    When exposed to moisture, raw aluminium will naturally form a protective layer of oxide on its surface to prevent corrosion. Our range is further protected with a durable painted finish so it will not rust or degrade over time.

  3. Lightweight
    Cast aluminium is lightweight compared to other metals like iron or steel, making it easy to pick up, move and rearrange as needed. This is convenient in hot climates where you may want to adjust your seating arrangements at different times of the day to position yourself in the shade.

  4. Durable
    Cast aluminium is incredibly durable and long-lasting. It is not prone to cracking, warping, or rusting, even with prolonged exposure to the elements. This makes it a practical choice for outdoor furniture that needs to withstand the high temperatures and sudden fluctuations from passing downpours that we often see in warmer climes.

  5. Low Maintenance
    Aluminium furniture requires minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning with soapy water is sufficient to keep it looking clean and ready to use. Unlike other materials, aluminium does not need to be repainted or treated to maintain its appearance and structural integrity.

2. Synthetic wicker outdoor furniture

Synthetic wicker outdoor furniture

Synthetic resin wicker is another very popular choice of furniture for outdoor spaces in hot climates because it is engineered to be resistant to UV rays and moisture.

It can fade, crack, or warp in hot sun over time, but like cast aluminium, it is lightweight (the resin rattan is often woven over a cast aluminium frame), offers a more laid-back look to the classical stylings of our range and is easy to clean with just soapy water.

Why cast synthetic wicker furniture is good in hot climates:

  1. UV Resistant
    Synthetic resin wicker is engineered to withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight. It can fade in time and splitting and stretching is common with heavy use, especially on the points the resin rattan is wrapped around the frame, such as on the arms of chairs.

  2. Moisture Resistant
    Resin wicker furniture is resistant to moisture, which is beneficial in hot and humid climates where occasional heavy rainfall or high humidity levels are common. Unlike natural wicker furniture such as bamboo or grass rattans, which can rot or mould growth can form when exposed to moisture, synthetic resin rattan remains unaffected.

  3. Durable
    Synthetic resin wicker is durable and can withstand the rigours of outdoor use, including hot temperatures, frequent use, and occasional impact. It doesn't warp or splinter like some types of wood might under extreme conditions.

  4. Low Maintenance
    Synthetic resin wicker pieces are easy to clean and maintain, also requiring only an occasional wash with soapy water to keep them looking their best. This is convenient in hot climates where your furniture can accumulate food and drink spills, dust, or other debris more quickly.

  5. Comfortable
    Resin wickers are pliable so offer more comfort without cushions or upholstery. That said if you live in a hot climate or even here in the UK, we would recommend you use them as they can get hot and sticky in the sun, which is rather unpleasant to sit on.

3. Teak outdoor patio furniture

Teak outdoor patio furniture

Teak is a hardwood that naturally resists moisture and pests, making it ideal for the making of outdoor furniture for use in hot and humid climates.

It is highly durable and can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. On the flip side all that natural beauty and weather-resistance, coupled with its scarcity, regulation and the need for sustainable planting, means it comes with a hefty price tag.

Why teak a is good wood for hot climates:

  1. UV Resistant
    Teak is naturally resistant to heat, sunlight, and humidity, making it one of our favourite patio furniture materials for hot climates. The high oil and silica rubber content and the tight grain structure mean it can withstand prolonged exposure to intense sunlight without fading or deteriorating.

  2. Moisture Resistant
    That high oil and silicon content also act as a barrier against moisture, preventing it from warping, rotting, and mould and mildew growth you can see with other types of wooden furniture. The dense grain structure also enhances its resistance to moisture absorption and helps it maintain its shape and strength over time.

  3. Durable
    Teak is one of the most durable hardwoods available, making it highly resistant to wear and tear. It is sturdy, robust, and able to withstand the rigours found in our outdoor spaces for many years.

  4. Low Maintenance
    Whilst teak will require more maintenance than metals and synthetic resins, that maintenance is less than other types of wood. Occasional cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient to keep it looking its best. However, teak will naturally weather to a silver-grey patina over time, which many people find attractive. If not it will require treating with teak oil to preserve and protect it.

  5. Comfort
    Of all the outdoor furniture materials on our list, teak furniture offers the most comfort in terms of how hot it gets in direct sun. The smooth surface will still get hot to the touch, but it won't get as hot as metal or plastic furniture might. That said, if you live in a hot climate, we would still look for seating with removable upholstery and pair it with a parasol or some other structure for shade.

4. Powder-coated steel patio furniture

Powder-coated steel patio furniture

Stainless steel is a common type of outdoor material here in the UK, especially for use in the trade sector for cafe tables, etc. However, stainless steel furniture gets incredibly hot to the touch in direct sun.

Steel furniture often is generally used for more contemporary-looking furniture, so if you do want that look, then make sure you opt for steel that has been powder-coated like our classically styled cast aluminium collection.

It has better resistance to rust and corrosion, making it suitable for hot and humid climates. Even when painted, steel can still get super hot in the sun, so you will want to add cushions and pair it with shading to keep it cool.

Why powder-coated steel is good in hot climates:

  1. Heat Retention
    While steel is the material on this list that will absorb and retain the most heat when exposed to direct sunlight, it does offer good thermal conductivity like cast aluminium. It is best paired with outdoor cushions and positioned in the shade though.

  2. Corrosion Resistant
    Powder coating gives the steel a protective layer that helps it resist rust and corrosion, which is important in hot and humid climates where moisture levels are high.

  3. Durable
    Steel is a strong and durable material, but it can be susceptible to dents, scratches, and chipping. If you do find any damage, and the same would apply to cast aluminium, repair it before moisture can penetrate.

  4. Maintenance
    Powder-coated steel furniture, much like our range, also requires minimal maintenance. However, it is essential to inspect the powder coating periodically for any signs of damage and repair it promptly to prevent corrosion from setting in as steel is susceptible to rust.

5. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) patio furniture

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) patio furniture

HDPE plastics are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to cracking and warping in the sun. They are also lightweight and won't absorb heat like metal furniture can. That said, they are prone to fading or discolouring over time and, while designs are getting better (and more substantial-looking), they can still look and feel a little flimsy.

Why cast HDPE is good in hot climates:

  1. Heat Resistant
    HDPE is highly resistant to heat and will not crack or split in high temperatures. This makes it ideal for hot climates where intense sun and high temperatures are common. It will not get as hot to the touch as metal but it will get sticky, which isn't nice to sit on, so best also paired with cushions.

  2. UV Resistant
    It is also UV-resistant, meaning it won’t quickly fade or lose structural integrity when exposed to sunlight. Over time and with constant sun exposure it can fade or discolour and in some cases even warp slightly.

  3. Moisture Resistant
    HDPE is non-porous and of all on our list the most resistant to moisture, so it is perfect for positioning close to water. This is also particularly beneficial in hot and humid climates or at the coast where moisture levels are high.

  4. Durable
    HDPE is a durable material that is resistant to scratches, dents, and stains. It can withstand the rigours of outdoor use, including exposure to extreme temperatures and weather conditions, without deteriorating. If it does get scratched, unlike metal and wood, it can be tricky to repair.

  5. Low Maintenance
    HDPE furniture is easy to clean and maintain. It typically requires only occasional cleaning with soapy water to remove dirt and debris, making it convenient for use in hot climates where outdoor furniture may accumulate dust and dirt more quickly as unlike here in the UK there is not much need to store or cover it.

Our final thoughts…
Our final thoughts…

At the end of the day, when choosing the best patio furniture material for you and where you live, it should depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, comfort, and style when making your decision.

And of course, we are a little biased, however, we stand by our product range. We know that after exporting large quantities of our chairs, tables, benches and loungers to Spain, Italy, south of France, etc our cast aluminium collection is a reliable and durable option for those of you living in countries with a sunnier disposition.

It offers a great all-around combination of heat resistance, thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, durability, low maintenance, and classically styled good looks.

In addition to choosing the right furniture material for a hot climate, it is also important to think about those all-important accessories we have touched on throughout.

Our parasols and cushions are made from breathable outdoor water-resistant fabrics will make our furniture much more comfortable to use and help keep you cool and protected.

Lighter-coloured finishes will also reflect heat better than darker colours. So, if you're concerned about our furniture getting hot in the height of summer, then choose our White Metal Patio Furniture over our black and grey.

Also, if possible, try and position your patio furniture in a shaded area or pair it with a parasol or awning. This will help to keep it cooler and more comfortable to use, especially if eating.

Our Does an aluminium garden table and chairs get hot in the sun? article takes a closer look at the suitability of our cast aluminium garden tables and chairs and why getting hot in the sun is a good thing.

If you have any photos of your Lazy Susan Patio Furniture in the summer sun, then we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or Upload Here.

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