What is the best sun lounger material for easy care and maintenance?

This month we’re asking what is the best sun lounger material and picking our 5 favourite low-maintenance options…

We recently took a closer look at all things sun lounger in last month’s guide to garden sun loungers post. This month, with summer just around the corner and our attention shifting to our gardens, we want to expand on the points we made about the importance of quality and durability when buying new.

In that article, we said:

“Sun loungers come in a variety of materials, each offering different benefits and styles. Consider factors such as durability, weather resistance, maintenance requirements, and how well the material will complement your home and garden.”

We went on to say that you should:

“Invest in a sun lounger made from high-quality materials that are designed for outside use, built to last, and require little in the way of maintenance. They might cost you more upfront but they will last longer and you won’t need to spend time and money on re-applying weatherproof coatings.”

In this article, we want to look a little closer at the different materials on sale in the UK and see which are the best sun loungers for easy care and maintenance.

Maintenance is easy to overlook. How many of us have purchased wooden furniture for our gardens only to see it weather because we have failed to maintain and protect it from the elements? Or we didn’t realise how much time and cost would need to be invested to keep them looking good and weather-resistant?

Not that we are anti-wood, it is probably the easiest material to restore, however, many of us can’t be bothered with the hassle.

For the team here at Lazy Susan, the best sun loungers are those you can leave outside in your garden or close to a pool and with very little maintenance they’ll look great.

So to help you decide, we want to look at what we think are the 5 best materials and how best to maintain them. Sunlounger materials that are durable, weather-resistant, and will require minimal money and effort to upkeep.

To be honest, many of the basic steps for cleaning each material are the same for all 5 and any other garden furniture, however, there are some key differences in terms of our go-to methods and the types of protection we recommend applying.

1. Powder-Coated Cast Aluminium Sun Loungers

Powder-Coated Cast Aluminium Sun Loungers

Starting with what we know best and what we’ve sold for over 15 years now, our metal garden sun loungers are constructed from lightweight but rust-resistant and durable high-grade cast aluminium.

The key if you go for cast aluminium, is to look for ones that have a powder-coated finish like our collection. Raw aluminium does not rust like steel or iron but it can oxidise - where you’ll see a white chalky layer that forms to prevent it from corroding - so the powder coating adds an extra layer of protection against the elements. We discussed this in detail in our advantages and disadvantages of powder-coated aluminium article.

One of the other big advantages cast aluminium has is that it is extremely low maintenance and super easy to clean. The powder-coated finish will not require reapplication, it is bonded "electrostatically" to the metal to create a strong and durable coating.

The following is our simple go-to method for cleaning our loungers and garden dining collection:

How to clean powder-coated aluminium

  1. Brush
    Start by brushing off any loose dirt, leaves, or debris from the sun lounger with a soft-bristled brush.

  2. Solution
    Mix a little car shampoo in a bucket with warm water. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the paintwork.

  3. Wash
    Using a soft sponge, cloth, or soft-bristle brush, wash the surface of the lounger, making sure you get into the latticework, and paying attention to any areas with any stubborn stains such as bird droppings or buildup on areas such as the wheels, etc.

  4. Rinse
    Once you've cleaned the entire surface, rinse the lounger with a garden hose on a spray setting to remove any soapy residue.

  5. Dry
    Use a clean towel to wipe dry or leave it in the sun to air dry completely before using. This will help prevent water spots on our darker finishes.

  6. Inspect
    After cleaning, take a moment to inspect your loungers for any signs of wear, such as scratches or chipped paint. If you notice any issues, address them promptly with our Touch-Up Kits.

  7. Wax
    If desired, we would recommend the application of a light coat of car wax to help water and dirt run off the powder-coated finish and enhance its lustre.

2. Resin Wicker Sun Loungers

Resin Wicker Sun Loungers

Resin rattans mimic the look of natural rattan but what you end up with is wicker-style sun loungers that are much more resistant to moisture and damage from the sun.

They are easy to clean, and they typically don't require any special maintenance. On the flip side, the resin strands can stretch and split, and some of the darker colours are prone to fading over time.

How to clean resin wicker rattan

  1. Hoover
    Begin by removing any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the resin rattan strands with a hoover with your soft brush attachment. This will prevent you from scratching the lounger but get all that loose dirt that can work its way into the woven wicker.

  2. Solution
    You can use a specialist plastic garden furniture cleaner if you wish but we find that washing up liquid in warm water is just as good.

  3. Wash
    Dip a soft-bristled brush or sponge into the soapy water and wipe down the resin wicker, paying close attention to any areas where dirt has built up. Avoid using abrasive brushes or harsh cleaners that could damage the rattan strands.

  4. Rinse 
    After washing, rinse the sun lounger thoroughly with a garden hose on a gentle spray setting to remove any soapy residue.

  5. Dry 
    Use a clean towel to dry thoroughly or, weather permitting, leave it to air dry in the sun.

  6. Inspect
    After cleaning, inspect the synthetic rattan for any signs of damage, such as loose strands or cracks. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration. It can be a little tricky to repair if they have fully snapped but an epoxy resin is always worth a try and is great for preventing splits from becoming a bigger issue.

3. Teak Wood Sun Loungers

Teak Wood Sun Loungers

While teak requires a bit more maintenance than the other materials in this article, it is hands down the best wood for outdoor use due to its natural resistance to rot, insects, and weather damage. The tight woodgrain and high silica levels help prevent it from absorbing moisture.

A teak lounger can be left outdoors year-round, but without maintenance, it will develop a silver patina over time. Some people prefer this, however, if you want to keep it looking like new, then it will require periodic cleaning and oiling to keep its distinctive honey/golden brown appearance.

How to clean teak wood

  1. Brush
    Use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of the teak wood.

  2. Solution
    Mix a solution of mild detergent or teak cleaner with warm water in a bucket. You can also add a small amount of bleach to help remove stains, but be sure to dilute it properly and avoid using too much, as it can damage the wood.

  3. Wash
    Dip a soft-bristled brush or sponge into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the teak wood, following the direction of the wood grain. Pay particular attention to any areas with stains or mildew buildup.

  4. Rinse
    After scrubbing, rinse the teak sun lounger thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue or cleaning solution.

  5. Dry
    Allow the teak wood to air-dry completely before applying any treatments or oils. This step is essential to prevent moisture from getting trapped in the wood, which can lead to mould or mildew growth.

  6. Protect
    Apply Teak Oil or Sealer I you want to maintain the natural colour of the teak wood or provide additional protection against the elements, you can apply teak oil or a teak sealer after cleaning and drying. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application, and be sure to allow the oil or sealer to penetrate the wood thoroughly before using the sun lounger.

  7. Inspect
    After cleaning and drying, inspect the teak sun lounger for any signs of damage or wear. If necessary, sand down any rough spots or stains with fine-grit sandpaper and reapply teak oil or sealer as needed to maintain its appearance and durability.

4. Plastic Sun Loungers

Plastic Sun Loungers

Plastic sun loungers are lightweight, affordable, and extremely low-maintenance. They're easy to clean with soap and water, and they won't rust or corrode.

You get what you pay for so you need to look for high-quality, UV-resistant Polyethylene (PE) plastics to ensure longevity. They will often fade in time but it will take several rather than a few years of heavy sun exposure.

How to clean PE (polyethylene) plastics

  1. Brush
    As with other materials, start by brushing off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the surface with a soft-bristled brush or a dry clean cloth.

  2. Solution
    Mix up some car shampoo or washing up liquid in a bucket with warm water. You could also spray on a multipurpose cleaner that is suitable for plastic surfaces.

  3. Wash
    Dip a soft sponge or cloth into the soapy water and gently wash the surface, paying close attention to any areas with stains or grime buildup such as seats and tabletops. Avoid using any abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals that could scratch or remove the surface sheen from the plastic.

  4. Rinse
    Once you've cleaned the entire surface, rinse the sun lounger thoroughly with a garden hose on a gentle spray setting to remove any remaining soapy residue.

  5. Dry
    Use a clean towel to dry off or leave your loungers in the sun to dry completely before using. This step should help prevent water marks but if you do see them, spray a little glass cleaner on and buff it out with a glass cloth.

  6. Protect
    Even though many on the market claim their plastic is UV-resistant, we would still recommend the application of a UV protectant if exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods such as on a balcony or by a pool. They will help prevent fading and degradation caused by UV rays.

  7. Inspect
    After cleaning, inspect the plastic sun lounger for any signs of damage, such as cracks or discolouration. Address any issues with the manufacturer or retailer promptly to prevent further deterioration.

5. Synthetic Mesh Fabric Loungers

Synthetic Mesh Fabric Loungers

Sun loungers with mesh fabric are breathable, quick-drying, and resistant to mould and mildew. There are several brands on the market, but they are all basically made from woven polyester with a PVC coating, often wrapped around powder-coated aluminium frames.

Durable performance fabric offers a great combination of style and comfort, they’re super easy to clean, and they generally don't require any special maintenance beyond the occasional washdown. On the downside, the mesh fabric can stretch and lose its shape with regular use.

How to clean synthetic mesh fabrics

  1. Brush
    Start by brushing off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of the mesh fabric using a soft-bristled brush or a hoover with a brush attachment. This will remove any debris that has become embedded in the fabric mesh.

  2. Solution
    Mix up some washing-up liquid and warm water in a bucket. You can also use a specialised cleaner formulated for outdoor fabrics if you wish. The frame itself you can wash as per the above with the same solution.

  3. Test
    Before applying the cleaning solution to the entire fabric surface, we would recommend you test it on a small, inconspicuous area (such as the underside) to ensure it doesn't cause any discolouration or damage to the fabric mesh.

  4. Stains
    If there are any stubborn stains on the mesh fabric, apply a small amount of the cleaning solution directly to the stain and gently scrub with a soft brush or sponge. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric.

  5. Clean
    Dip a sponge into the cleaning solution and gently wash the entire surface of the mesh fabric, working in small sections at a time.

  6. Rinse
    After cleaning, rinse the mesh fabric thoroughly with a hose on a gentle spray to remove any soap or cleaning solution.

  7. Dry
    Once rinsed, allow the mesh fabric to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. Avoid using a dryer or exposing it to direct sunlight while wet, as this can cause shrinkage or fading to the fabric mesh.

  8. Protect
    Apply a specialist water repellent and UV outdoor fabric protector and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

Sun Loungers from Lazy Susan Garden Furniture
Sun Loungers from Lazy Susan Garden Furniture

All materials if left outside in the sporadic weather conditions found in the UK will get dirty and require cleaning. However, when it comes to sun loungers, we have found the above 5 materials the best suited in terms of durability and low maintenance.

Of course, the best type of sun lounger material for you will depend on your style, what works with your current home and garden, how much you want to spend, and the level of maintenance you're willing to undertake.

For the team here at Lazy Susan we are a little biased but for us, a cast aluminium sun lounger offers several advantages over the other 4 materials that make it an excellent choice for our gardens:

  1. Durability
    Cast aluminium is highly durable and resistant to rust, corrosion, and weather damage. Unlike the other materials, it is mildew-proof, fade-resistant, and will not warp, crack, fade or rot when exposed to wet or sunny weather.

  2. Low Maintenance
    Cast aluminium requires minimal maintenance compared to other materials. It is easy to clean with soapy water, and it will not require painting, staining, or sealing to maintain the durable powder-coated finish and the integrity of the metal.

  3. Lightweight
    Despite being lightweight, and therefore easy to pick up and move in or out of the sun, a cast aluminium multi-position lounger still feels incredibly sturdy and stable. It can withstand the weight of occupants without bending or sagging, providing firm support and comfort when paired with our Sun Lounger Cushions.

  4. Versatility
    Cast aluminium can be moulded into a wide range of designs and styles, allowing us to create our classically styled trademark metalwork. The intricate latticework is designed to complement your outdoor space without going out of style.

  5. Longevity
    Our cast aluminium loungers are built to last for many years, even with regular use and exposure to the inclement climate here in the UK. The material's inherent strength and durability ensure that your investment in outdoor furniture will provide enjoyment for many summers to come.

  6. Temperature Regulation
    Unlike other metals that can become uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight, powder-coated cast aluminium tends to stay cooler to the touch, thanks to its ability to dissipate heat quickly. We looked at the advantages of this in our What is the best patio furniture material for a hot climate? article.

  7. Environmentally Friendly
    Cast aluminium is a sustainable and eco-friendly sun lounger material choice. It is fully recyclable, so at the end of its lifespan, it can be melted down and repurposed without contributing to environmental waste. Our Can garden furniture be recycled? article looks at this in detail.

We think the combination of durability, low maintenance, versatility, and classic good looks make our cast aluminium loungers an excellent choice, providing you with all-day comfort when paired with our plush cushions and many years of laid-back enjoyment.

If you have any photos of your Lazy Susan Sun Loungers, 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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