How to Select the Ideal Deck Furniture

CT_wideimage_WithBlogTitle_deckfurniture_600x100Outfitting your outdoor deck with furniture that will last and look good is an important concern.  Here are some tips from Fiberon to help you find the ideal furniture for your outdoor space, including information on furniture sizing, the pros and cons of different materials, and more. Happy shopping!

How to determine the proper furniture sizes for your deck

To fit your furniture purchases into your deck, get a pad of graph paper, then follow these steps:

  • Draw your deck to scale (1 inch equals 1 foot, for example).
  • Mark the locations of stairs and doorways.
  • Cut out “furniture” using the same graph paper and scale. (Tip: Look online for furniture you like, then use the dimensions of those pieces for this exercise.)
  • Avoid overcrowding the deck. Give guests adequate room to push back their chairs and move around freely. Leave some general “walking around” space as well.
  • Remember to allow room for your grill.
  • If you host big gatherings, choose a table that fits your space, then purchase extra seating that can be stacked and stored when not in use.
  • Consider furniture with built-in storage or a box that can protect various deck items from the elements.
  • Pick furniture that’s well-suited to your local weather. Harsh winters, for example, can erode certain materials.

Which material is best for your deck?

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of different furniture frame materials.

Material Benefits Drawbacks
Wood
  • Solid and sturdy
  • Doesn’t get overly hot or cold
  • Available in teak, cedar, pine, and other species
  • Teak is extremely long-lasting with proper care
  • Hardwoods are more resistant to weather
  • Fades in sunlight
  • May require preservatives to prevent cracking, decay
  • Some species need oils to preserve natural color
  • Some species can splinter
  • Needs protection against moisture rings and heat marks
Plastic
  • Lightweight, easy to move
  • Chairs are usually easy to stack
  • Resists moisture, rotting, cracking
  • Resists fading
  • May contain recycled content
  • Can blow around easily in strong winds
  • Inexpensive pieces may look cheap
Cast Aluminum
  • Resembles wrought iron, yet easier to move and maintain
  • Stays cooler than wrought iron
  • Low maintenance
  • Won’t corrode, rust, or fade
  • Higher-end sets can be costly
  • Lower-priced sets might not be quite as durable
Rattan and Wicker
  • Synthetic versions are fairly weather-resistant
  • Synthetic versions available in wide range of colors
  • Synthetic versions can be washed with soap and water and left to dry
  • High-end synthetics usually won’t fade or crack
  • Natural fibers aren’t as hardy as synthetics
Wrought Iron
  • Elegant and timeless
  • Powder-coated pieces resist rust and chipping
  • Won’t blow around in strong winds
  • Difficult to move
  • Snow and rain can cause rust and deterioration
  • Very hot in the sun
  • Chairs can be uncomfortable without cushions
  • Annual refinishing recommended for older sets

Choosing the perfect outdoor dining set

You can find attractive outdoor furniture everywhere, from big-box home improvement stores to warehouse club stores to high-end furniture retailers. Let your budget be your guide. To further assist you in the buying process, use these tips from ConsumerReports.org:

  • CT_sideimage_DeckFurniture_298x403Pay attention to the height of the table and the chairs. If the table feels too high or too low, no one will want to linger.
  • Make sure the table is well-built — sturdy and stable, with capped, hidden, or rust-proof stainless steel screws and other fasteners,
  • Is the table finish smooth and uniform all over? Are any sharp edges visible?
  • Do the chairs fit comfortably close to the table, or do the armrests get in the way?
  • Can you easily slide the seats all the way back, or is the angle uncomfortable?
  • Do the cushions fit the seats and offer plenty of comfy padding? Can the material withstand the elements?
  • If you’ll need to purchase cushions, are the seats a standard size and shape? Can you find and buy cushions easily, or will you need to pay for custom-made cushions?

Know your furniture options … and your decking options

As with most significant purchases, doing some research will yield much better results. If you’re researching decking options, check out the advantages of Fiberon composite decking over wood — especially when it comes to low maintenance and durability. Composite decking has come a long way; you may be surprised by what you learn.

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