How to Buy Outdoor Patio Furniture
USA Made Patio Furniture
With so much outdoor furniture manufacturing done in China, many consumers are looking for patio furniture USA made. Is USA made patio furniture still a thing? Actually, there are options, primarily made from “composite.”
Composite outdoor furniture is made from recycled milk jugs and other plastic bottles.
While some of this raw material is found domestically, ironically USA made patio furniture is made primarily from imported plastic. The USA doesn’t recycle enough to satisfy the demand for this type of material. Manufacturers bring in millions of dirty, smelly containers, they clean them, and then grind them into small pieces. Small pieces are melted and filtered to exclude everything unwanted. UV inhibitors and dye is added to the molten material and then lumber is extruded into long planks.
Planks are cut into any shape by computerized machines, making the design options very diverse. Excess that is trimmed off can be ground up, melted, and sent through the extrusion process again. All scrap is used leaving no wasted material.
How does composite outdoor furniture fare in our harshest of dry and hot conditions in Phoenix?
Great! One of the distinct advantages of this material is that it doesn’t get hot to the touch like metal or retain heat once put into shade. It will not crack or peel, rot, rust, or corrode. It resists mold, is very easy to clean, and is heavy. It’s virtually maintenance free. Wipe it off or hose it down when dirty. It’s perfect for hot, windy, dusty conditions. Sounds like Arizona, right? It’s manufactured with the intention of leaving it outside year ‘round.
While this material was once stereotyped as coastal, or nautical in design, many traditional and contemporary designs are available. This type of outdoor patio furniture comes in many colors, different textures, and many of the chairs are very comfortable with no cushion. Deep seating pieces come with Sunbrella cushions, available in hundreds of fabric choices. You’ll find pieces to create conversation areas, chaise lounges for your pool, bars and bar stools for entertaining, dining sets, courtyard benches and bistro sets, and even fire features.
Composite USA made patio furniture can easily be purchased over time. Additional pieces will match perfectly when added later because the frames are made with computerized formulas that result in identical color matches again and again.
- Anesia St. Clair
Get Your Arizona Patio Ready for Winter Guests
One of the perks of living in Arizona is that our family and friends want to visit us in the winter. We welcome them with open arms and even brag a little about our perfect weather. Of course you’ll be spending plenty of time outside… coffee in the morning, grilling out for dinner, fire feature at night. Is your yard ready to impress?
Here are some things you can do to make your Arizona patio a paradise for your guests:
- Hose everything down. Why does it smell so nice after the rain? The smell of dust is gone. Your Arizona patio is always dusty and needs hosing almost daily.
- Clean your screens and windows. You’ll improve your view from the inside out.
- Shine up your grill.
- Clean your Arizona patio furniture. Remove any cushions first and hose off the frames. Use a sponge to wipe the frames with a bucket of highly diluted dishwashing soap. Hose again and wipe dry to avoid water spots. Vacuum off the cushions and use your sponge to work loose any bird droppings.
- Check your schedule for upcoming pest service and lawn care. Have pest control completed at least a few days before your guests’ arrival. Any residual smell and dead bugs that tend to surface afterwards need to be gone. It’s nice to have your lawn service completed just before your visitors arrive, but with enough time for you to complete your final hosing and cleaning afterwards.
Now for the fun part – decorate and add some pops of color!
- Install a colorful wind spinner near your Arizona patio. These whimsical yard ornaments stake into the ground and have a colorful metal design that spins with the wind.
- Hang a wind chime.
- Add colorful yard décor. You can add outdoor wall art, yard stakes, solar stakes, or colorful pieces that hang from your trees, pergola, or Arizona patio beams. Think suns, geckos, and kokopellis, quail, roadrunners, toadstools, flowers, and turtles.
- Lay down a new patio rug. Add instant color and warmth and color beneath your feet.
- Toss out some Sunbrella throw pillows.
- Dress up your outdoor dining table with a table runner, placemats, lanterns, and shatterproof dishes. Coordinate with your rug or throw pillows for a designer look.
- Add a colorful umbrella. Your guests will love our sun but will soon enough be looking for shade as well. Sunbrella umbrellas add instant shade and color wherever you need it.
- Anesia St. Clair
Patio Covers Phoenix: Space Planning Your Back Yard
Dirt back yards behind new homes leave the possibilities for how to use your outdoor space endless. Homes typically come with a small covered patio. Due to our near-constant sunshine, to fully enjoy the outdoors we need additional patio covers Phoenix that give us more shade. More shade means more space to use rather than look at.
We often have an easier time decorating the inside of our homes because each room already has a specific purpose. We know we’ll put a sofa and some chairs in the living room because we’ll be sitting there. Our kitchen has a table, and our bedroom has a bed. Once you define what you’ll be doing outside you can create “rooms” accordingly.
If you’ll be eating, you need a table and chairs. Establish a space for that. Cooking? Figure out where your grill and some work space will be. Socializing? You need chairs facing each other. Looking at a view or watching kids in the pool? You’ll want seating facing in the right direction. You can create these areas by grouping outdoor patio furniture together and having blank space between groupings. A rug can really define a space when the hardscape beneath is the same throughout the yard.
Consider what time of day you’ll be outside for different reasons. If you like to go out for morning coffee, a simple bistro table and two chairs is perfect. It can fill a smaller space. Be aware of where the sun is in the morning and place your outdoor patio furniture accordingly. If you have a pool, you’ll want chaise lounges facing the sun so you can dry off. Consider adding a Sunbrella umbrella or patio covers Phoenix for areas used during the day. Fire features are enjoyed at night. Dedicate areas without patio covers to nighttime use under the stars.
Once you define uses for your spaces, back fill the surrounding areas with greenery. Our outdoor spaces tend to be heavy on flat, hard surfaces and neutral colors. We have our stucco house, hardscape on the ground, and a concrete perimeter wall. To make your space inviting, it needs to be softened with some texture, movement, and bright colors. Plants naturally do the trick! Be sure to add pots for height and additional brilliant color. Metal trellis with well-chosen vines that thrive in radiant heat are great for providing height without width against your perimeter walls.
- Anesia St. Clair
Composite Patio Furniture
Have You Heard of Composite Patio Furniture?
Composite patio furniture is increasing in popularity at a fast pace, and has been referred to by many names. Some call it recycled plastic, resin, polywood, HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) or compare it to Trex® deck boards. Composite patio furniture has a long history in the United States, with one leading manufacturer being in business over 100 years. Small companies are starting to pop up and it’s now being made overseas as well. The dominant raw material for composite furniture is recycled plastic – water bottles, milk jugs, detergent bottles, and the like. Over 500 one-gallon milk jugs can be repurposed into a single chair.
Mainstream companies manufacture their own lumber. They buy the plastic that would otherwise go to the ocean or landfill. They clean it, melt it, and extrude it into long lengths of lumber. UV stabilizers and dye is mixed into the solution at the molten stage to create excellent color fastness, even in sunny locations. Variations in quality are due in part to the design of the furniture itself. Heavier pieces with thicker lumber will outlast pieces made from thin planks. You’ll find a wide variety of traditional to contemporary designs in sofas, dining sets, Adirondack chairs, and more.
How does composite patio furniture fare in our harshest of dry and hot conditions?
Great! One of the distinct advantages of this type of outdoor furniture is that it doesn’t get hot to the touch or retain heat once put into shade. It will not crack or peel, does not absorb moisture, doesn’t rot, rust, or corrode, resists mold and fungus, and is heavy enough to resist wind. It’s manufactured with the intention of leaving it outside year round regardless of weather conditions.
Composite patio furniture is a practical investment, it’s environmentally conscious, and will serve you with many years of entertainment and relaxation. If you haven’t considered it before, it’s worth a drive to your local dealer to check it out.
- Anesia St. Clair
What is composite recycled outdoor patio furniture?
Recycled plastic patio furniture is increasing in popularity at a very fast pace, and has been referred to by many names. Each company manufactures its own raw material lumber and trademarks their lumber name. Some knock-off brands use these trademarked names as their own in an attempt to bring them into the same category. Think of Band-Aids and Kleenex versus off-brand bandages and tissues. While Band-Aid brand hopes everyone refers to bandages as “Band-Aids” they certainly acknowledge that people refer to off-brands as Band-Aids as well when the quality is not the same at all. Envirowood is a trademarked name for the lumber that Seaside Casual composite furniture is made from.
Polywood is a trademarked name reserved only for furniture manufactured by a company named Polywood. It is easy to find other competing companies referring to their furniture as “Polywood” when clearly it was not manufactured in Syracuse, Indiana at the Polywood factory.
Composite lumber is of varying quality. Longevity in the industry is perhaps the best reflection of quality in this market because the product has been tested in multiple climates for so long. Some manufacturers refer to this material as HDPE, or High Density Polyethylene. In this overview, we’ll refer to this furniture as composite.
Recycled Furniture Production Method
The first step in the manufacturing process is extrusion. Individual pieces of lumber are made in long lengths then cut. The raw material is recycled plastic, such as milk jugs, water bottles, and detergent bottles. The extrusion is a slow process that results in a consistent finish with no voids and 100% color permeated throughout the material. UV stabilizers are mixed into the solution to further improve color fastness. Foaming agents are added in varying degrees per brand, along with proprietary mixes of polymers and other secret ingredients that differentiate one from another.
Broad Range of Furniture Options
Many different shapes and thicknesses of lumber are created to satisfy the wide array of furniture pieces that are manufactured. The design variations are endless. Several colors, from earth tones to vibrant rainbow colors are made, and multiple colors of lumber may be mixed into a single piece.
Recycled composite patio furniture is colored solid throughout, will not crack or peel, does not absorb moisture, doesn’t rot, rust, or corrode, resists mold and fungus, is very easy to clean, and is heavy. It’s manufactured with the intention of leaving it outside year round regardless of weather conditions. While this material was once stereotyped as coastal, or nautical in design, many traditional and contemporary designs are widely available.
100 years of Experience in Recycled Patio Furniture
The United States recycles a tremendous amount of plastic. The raw materials are plentiful. The longest standing mature manufacturers of recycled composite outdoor patio furniture are found in the United States, one with over 100 years of experience.
- Anesia St. Clair
Should I be afraid of wicker outdoor patio furniture?
Like many other categories, wicker outdoor patio furniture runs the gamut in terms of quality, price, how it’s made, and what it’s made of. If you want temporary furniture that looks good for a party, it doesn’t matter what you buy. Buy it for it’s design and pretty color. If you want furniture that’s going to last, you need to carefully interrogate what you’re getting before you pay for it.
The word wicker itself is misleading. There are several words used when referring to this type of furniture that are confusing and sometimes inaccurate. It’s a good idea to know a few terms:
Wicker: To bend; the act of weaving. Wicker does not refer to a type of material, but rather what has been done with the material.
Rattan: The name referring to approximately 600 species of palm trees. Rattan furniture would be made from fibrous, strand-like material from these trees. Wicker furniture could be made with rattan. Many times “rattan” furniture is made with reed, cane, seagrass, or bamboo rather than actual stems from a rattan tree. All of these materials are organic.
Vinyl: A synthetic resin or plastic consisting of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or a related polymer. Vinyl is in powder form before it’s compounded into the material that you see in furniture. During compounding, it’s mixed with various additives and modifiers. How the compounding is done dictates how rigid or flexible the material is, how thick it is, how color fast it is, and how it will react to sun exposure in general.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride, the world’s third most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is less flexible and elastic than other similar materials. In order for it to be adequately heat resistant for full sun applications, an expensive chlorination process must modify it. PVC is petroleum based and is used in everything from intravenous tubes, underground pipe, flooring, and imitation leather. Exposure to the elements can lead to surface embrittlement and microcracking. PVC carries with it an environmentally unfriendly stigma. Many consumer products today are labeled “PVC Free” to let buyers know that it’s not included in their item.
Polyethylene/Polypropylene: Polyethylene is basically synonymous with plastic, resin, and HDPE (high density polyethylene). There are some technical chemical variances that create different densities and strength of this material. It may be clear, cloudy, or opaque depending on the catalyst used during production. This is a very good type of material to use in the manufacturing of outdoor patio furniture. As with most anything, there are differences in overall quality of polyethylene given the application. For example, would you want clear polyethylene as your base material with a color applied to the surface? No. You would much prefer a product that is opaque and colored all the way through. In other words, all polyethylene patio furniture is not created equal.
Resin: A heat resistant, plastic chemical-based substance that is made from a mold. It begins as a liquid and then hardens. The hardening is irreversible, so there is no concern that resin patio furniture will ever melt in hot sun climates. The word resin is quite general considering it can be derived from petroleum, plants, or insects, and many additives can differentiate one particular resin product from another. You can generically refer to resin as plastic.
Synthetic: Patio furniture is sometimes referred to as synthetic if it’s not made from real rattan, reed, cane, bamboo, grass, or similar plant parts, or metal. Synthetic patio furniture is often used to describe the various plastics
All-Weather Wicker: This is a very general term often used to describe any non-rattan polyethylene, resin, or recycled plastic outdoor furniture. This means it is intended to be used outside without concern for temperature, sun exposure, humidity, rain, salty air, or snow.
Woven: Woven is a newly adopted term that the industry uses to refer to any type of synthetic wicker patio furniture. Since wicker carries with it a connotation of olden days, rattan, sun-fragile furniture that doesn’t hold up well, woven is the new wicker. Customers often say “I don’t want anything wicker” until they start to touch the synthetic woven pieces and discover how durable they are. Then it’s just a matter of style and if they like the more contemporary designs available today. Many people learn to love it once they are comfortable with its durability.
Mixed Media: This term typically means that there are woven panels mixed with aluminum. The piece could be largely woven with aluminum trim, mostly aluminum with woven panels in the seat or back, or a mix of woven chairs and coordinating aluminum tables, or vice versa. Mixing materials within the same set is very popular and attractive. It provides for more versatility in designing an outdoor space that resembles an indoor space. You can even mix materials to help define different spaces, or rooms, within a large space such as a back yard with several sitting areas.
To summarize, wicker furniture is an exciting, versatile category that can be very durable and enjoyed for many years. Real rattan furniture should be considered temporary. It won’t last in the weather. Quality woven outdoor furniture is probably made by hand, and therefore may be more expensive than other sets. If you’re looking at a woven set and it’s inexpensive, it’s probably cheap. It’s made from vinyl, PVC, thin synthetic material, lacking UV stabilizers, the construction may be substandard, and the cushions are probably not Sunbrella. If you’re looking at a high end set, you’ll know it. The quality will be unmistakable. Touch it and examine the materials. You get what you pay for – there really are no shortcuts here.
- Anesia St. Clair