Looking to set up your porch or patio with a durable, long lasting set of furniture? Finding the right material or make for outdoor furniture can be tricky, especially if you're not familiar with the different woods, metals, and plastics that are often used for porch furniture.
That said, choosing the right kind of material is something that we take seriously when crafting out hanging porch beds and bed swings. While our daybed swings are usually designed for either indoor or outdoor use, we do make it a point to choose to work with material that will last you years and years.
That said, for those of you who are curious what materials make for good outdoor furniture, we've come up with a short guide to help you better-understand the different materials as well as what they're advantages and disadvantages are.
Southern Yellow Pine
Pine wood is a light, flexible, low cost wood whose grain is fairly straight. There are approximately 120 different species of pine around the world and come in a variety of colors. Southern Yellow Pine's color usually ranges somewhere between a tan color to a golden yellow brown.
Its straight wood grain makes it relatively easier to paint or stain, which will add to its longevity and durability, especially if you're planning on locating it outdoors.
While pine woods are not naturally resistant to decay, pine woods can be pressured treated to better fit outdoor conditions. They're also relatively hard, with Southern Yellow Pine arriving at a Janka rating of 690 (a little softer than red cedar).
Nevertheless, pine remains a strong softwood that can resist wear and many last years outdoors. What's more, amongst all the pines, Southern Yellow Pine is said to have the highest load-bearing capacity, and is often used in construction, boat-building, and flooring.
When it comes to Southern Yellow Pine being used as material for your hanging porch bed, then, you can guarantee its safety and longevity, especially if the wood is stained or pressure treated.
Western Red Cedar
Another popular woodworking material, cedar is an excellent wood for outdoor furniture or use. Cedar is naturally outdoor resistant, giving it an edge over pine, and has good insulation that helps keep it cool even on a hot day. Cedar is also rot and decay resistant, and moist resistant, further solidifying its outdoor compatibility.
Additionally, Cedar wood releases a neurotoxic chemical, called Thujone, that is a natural insect and bug repellant. What's more, even Cedar's aroma works as an insect repellant, which really makes it an ideal material for outdoor furniture.
Cedar is not without its shortcomings, though. Like pine wood, it's also recommend that cedar wood be treated before being placed outdoors (though for a different reason). Without treatment, there's a possibility for cedar wood to gray and weather over time, turning it into an ash-like color.
Because of this, it's important to note that cedar requires more maintenance compared to pine. If stain or sealer was applied to your cedar furniture in the past, then it's recommended that you reapply it every few years in order to help it maintain its color.
Another popular choice amongst outdoor furniture woodworkers, cypress is one of the most rot-resistant woods out there. Cedar is a first growth (or also called old growth) wood, which simply means that it takes a very long time to grow. This slow growth, however, works to its advantages, as it's able to create a denser grain, which contributes to its resistance to rot.
Cypress also has natural oils in the wood called cypressene, which act as a natural preservative that contributes to its resistance to rot and decay. It's these oils that allow cypress to last for decades even if left untreated, making it a fitting wood for your hanging porch bed.
Rattan is yet another material that's popular amongst garden sets. It's a flexible and natural material that's weaved into a variety of things, including furniture. Considered one of the fastest growing natural materials, rattan is strong and durable despite its flexibility.
There are other furniture made from a synthetic polyethylene resin. This type of rattan requires less maintenance compared to wood, and is strong and durable despite it being one of the cheaper options for your outdoor furniture. The main advantage of synthetic rattan over natural rattan is that synthetic rattan works better in withstanding moisture and sunlight.
Moving on to metals, aluminum is one of the most popular options for metal outdoor furniture. It's lightweight and yet durable, inexpensive and low maintenance. Best of all, aluminum never rusts, requiring very little maintenance even when used for outdoor furniture. Aluminum is also very affordable, and can be worked into different shapes.
Although it's already considered a pretty weather-resistant metal by itself, many continue to recommend finishing aluminum outdoor furniture with a protective powder coating that not only compounds its protection against weather and scratching, but also allows it to carry a bit more variety in terms of color.
Though it's not as commonly used for hanging porch beds it's sometimes used in porch swings and other patio furniture.
One disadvantage that aluminum has over woodworks is that because it's a metal, it has a tendency to heat up in high temperatures. So if you're planning on setting it underneath direct sunlight, we recommend having seat cushions fitted to the frame so that you can stay cool and comfortable.
By itself, steel and stainless steel can be susceptible to rust, which makes it less ideal material compared to aluminum. However, most outdoor steel furniture is often powder coated with a protective finish. This also means, however, that steel furniture also requires regular maintenance checks to make sure that there are no cracks in the coating. That said, steel is a cheaper alternative to wood, and is easy to clean with lots of color choices.
Choose from Our High-Quality Hanging Porch Bed Swings
Given all this, we at Four Oak Bed Swings have always made it a point to provide high-quality handcrafted bed swings that will serve and last you for years and years.
Many of our hanging porch beds are made with Southern Yellow Pine, Western Red Cedar, and Cypress, giving you that classic country look and feel while still maintaining that high-durability and longevity that makes each porch bed swing a worthwhile investment.