Elegant Outdoor Furniture for Easy Living

Elegant outdoor furniture may indicate that you have expensive and formal furniture but to you it just means it is beautiful and useful to you. Your elegant outdoor furniture simply means that is the way you wish to decorate your outside living space and is easy for you to maintain. You always want that outdoor living furniture to last a long time.

Some may select elegant outdoor furniture just for relaxing during the warm summer evenings. Others may want their patio furniture for entertaining and dining purposes for family and friends. It all depends on how you plan to use it that determines the type for you to purchase. If these pieces are going to be utilized by adults and not children you may want to choose a better quality. If the outdoor furniture is also going to be used by children it is best to have pieces that are constructed of very sturdy material so they will last longer.

Outdoor garden furniture is constructed of many different materials. Some materials consist of wicker, rattan, aluminum cast iron, plastic, resin, wood or steel similar to the old fashioned “spring” chair of the 1940’s. If your sitting area, patio, or backyard is in direct sunlight you may want to purchase aluminum cast iron frames that have muted colored cushions. Teak wood furniture is an excellent choice to be out in the open since it ages with a patina that is a silvery gray. Both the teak and aluminum cast iron furniture holds up very nicely when used by children because they are both sturdy plus the teak furniture will not splinter.

Elegant outdoor furniture does not all have to be the same; sometimes it may work better to mix and match the construction material. You can set up a bar table and chairs constructed of wood next to a bistro set made out of metal for pool side gatherings during the evening hours. Plastic outdoor garden furniture that is made today is very durable. Originally the only way to get Adirondack chairs was to have them constructed of wood but now they are also available in plastic; sometimes the plastic fades with too much sun but spray paint works well. The majority of the plastic chairs of today can be stacked which makes them easy to store during the winter.

Elegant patio furniture can be constructed using the following woods: cedar, Brazilian cherry, cypress, teak, mahogany, and a hardwood that is called eucalyptus cladocalyx. When these woods are well maintained they should last you a good thirty years or more. Good quality wood furniture is an excellent choice for almost any area of a backyard: an outdoor living room, flower garden, patio, deck, around an outdoor fire pit or fireplace and even around the swimming pool.

I am sure there are times when you want to escape to an area where you can be alone to be able to unwind. You can set up a comfortable chair for reading a book, place a teak meditation bench or have a comfortable lounge chair for putting your feet up and taking a nap close to the water garden or pond, in the center of a flower garden or a shady spot near the swimming pool.

Choose Ipe For Outdoor Furniture That Lasts

If you have never thought of outdoor furniture as an heirloom, think again. Ipe wood will change the way you view outdoor furniture forever. A tropical hardwood tree, Ipe is one of the densest woods known. In fact, it is so dense that it sinks in water. The density of the wood is what makes it ideal for use in outdoor furniture. It resists rot, insect damage and fire. It has a beautiful color and a fine to medium grain. These attributes make Ipe one of the most practical hardwoods to use for outdoor furniture. The choice to go with Ipe wood when investing in outdoor furniture means purchasing a product that is of such high quality it can truly be considered an heirloom to pass on to the next generation.

The one quality of Ipe wood that has kept it from widespread use until just recently is also what makes it such an excellent choice today. That is the density of the wood. Ipe is such a dense wood that in the past it has proven a very difficult medium with which to work. However , recent advances in manufacturing techniques have solved these issues, making Ipe the ideal wood to choose when you want the best in long-lasting outdoor furniture.

Many commercial builders have used it as decking for boardwalks, including the famous Atlantic City boardwalks.

Outdoor furniture constructed of Ipe is perfect for those who are looking for quality, durability and affordability. In addition, Ipe is available at a fraction of the cost of Teak. This hardwood is virtually indestructible. Its resistance to rot and insects makes Ipe outdoor furniture an excellent investment. It requires very little up keep and since it is so indestructible, not only can one expect to own it for a lifetime; it is truly something that can be passed down to the next generation.

With all of these excellent qualities, there is not much to say about the wood that is not favorable. It is harvested from managed forests, which allows the wood to be harvested with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. And, when dealing with reputable companies, consumers can feel assured that the wood that is harvested for construction of decking and outdoor furniture is done in an ecologically responsible way. That is not a claim that can readily be made with teak and other exotic hardwoods on the market today.

Another redeeming quality of this type of hardwood is its resistance to fire. According to the Nation Fire Protection Code, after subjection to fire for 10 minutes, Ipe has a rating of zero, which is the same as concrete. That is a significant improvement over most other types of wood used for decking and outdoor furniture.

While cedar has been the wood of choice in the past, that has changed in the last 20 years. This is in part because there are no longer any stands of old growth trees from which the cedar can be harvested. In order for cedar to have longevity as a material for outdoor furniture and decking, this is a necessity. Scientific research has shown that the heartwood of younger trees is not nearly as durable and resistant to rot as old growth trees and unfortunately, due to poor logging practices employed in the early part of the twentieth century, old growth trees no longer exist. The natural choice to fill the spot that cedar once held is Ipe wood. And given the fact that Ipe can be grown readily in managed conditions and does not require old growth wood to give it those enduring qualities, the reasons to choose Ipe continue to grow. Ipe wood provides so much in the way of usability, longevity and maintenance; it is the most logical choice when selecting outdoor furniture that lasts.

Ipe Hardwood For Quality Outdoor Furniture

Once the facts about Ipe wood are known, it is easy to see why so many people are choosing this for their outdoor furniture. Ipe wood, pronounced EE-pay, is a tropical hardwood that grows predominantly in South America. Unlike Teak or Mahogany however, Ipe is can be easily grown in managed forests using responsible forestry practices.

Ipe has a beautiful warm color and a smooth even grain. It weathers to an attractive silver hue if left untreated. If treated with a coating of light weatherproofing oil it will retain its rich warm hue.

Ipe wood is also known by other common names such as Brazilian Walnut, Amapa, Cortez, Guayacan Polvillo, Flor Amarillo, Greenheart, Madera negra, Tahauri and Lapacho Negro. Some common trade names for the wood also include Pau Lope, Diamond Decking and Ironwood. In the wild, these trees can grow to heights of 150 feet with trunks growing as big as 6 feet in diameter. The average size in a managed forest is generally around 100 feet with trunk diameters of around 2 to 3 feet. The grain of the wood is fine to medium.

Ipe wood has many clear advantages over other woods that are commonly used for outdoor furniture. Ipe wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect invasion. Although California Redwood used to offer these same advantages, researchers have found that only the heartwood of old growth Redwoods offer this protection. Because of irresponsible harvesting practices that were practiced for much of the early part of the twentieth century, old growth redwood is longer available.

Outdoor furniture constructed from Ipe provides superior natural protection from termites and other pests. With Ipe wood, there is no need to be concerned about dangerous chemicals and treatment processes to protect your investment, Ipe wood provides excellent protection without all those concerns. According to studies done by the United States Research Laboratory, Ipe wood left untreated in the ground was still insect free after 15 years! This resistance has earned the tropical hardwood the highest rating given to a wood. Without any treatment at all, Ipe wood products are guaranteed for 20 years and with a minimal coating of deck oil applied, the average lifespan is 100 plus years.

Ipe wood for decking is also a great choice. Decking made from Ipe wood is very slip resistant and has been ASTM-C1028-89 tested. This means that decking made from Ipe exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for Static Coefficient of friction in a wet environment. This makes it the perfect wood to use around pools, hot tubs and saunas where there is normally a higher occurrence of injuries sustained because of slippery floors. Another plus for using Ipe in this environment is the woods very low tendency to splinter. Around pools especially, this is a great advantage.

There are so many advantages to choosing this hardwood over other products that even Atlantic City chose to go with Ipe wood when the famous boardwalk there need to be replaced.

Determining the Best Type of Fastener to Use For Outdoor Furniture Construction

If you want to learn about selecting hardware for your next outdoor furniture project, then you’ll want to read this article. Specifically, I’ll be telling you about what type of hardware will perform best, why the type of metal used for fasteners and the finish used are important considerations, and how properly protecting or limiting exposure of your furniture to wet and winter conditions can increase life span. After you’re done with this article you will understand that the best choice of hardware for your outdoor furniture project is dependent on furniture style, material used for construction, selected location for the furniture and budget.

Selecting proper hardware for your furniture will help ensure a long life span, as well as improve the overall appearance of your furniture. Part of the problem is knowing what hardware to select when there are so many options available at the hardware store. The typical Lowes or Home Depot carries a huge selection of stainless steel, hot dipped galvanized, bright galvanized, plain steel, coated steel and brass bolts, nuts, washers and screws. Each type of fastener is suitable for certain applications, but not all are ideal for outdoor furniture applications.

In fact, choosing the wrong fasteners can greatly shorten the lifespan of your furniture, contribute to rot of wood furniture, cause unsightly staining, and even make your furniture unsafe to use.

One thing that needs to be noted right up front is, do not ever use unprotected steel fasteners for outdoor furniture, They will rust very quickly, and the steel will react with the tannic acid in the wood causing streaks and staining. The tannic acid actually speeds up the corrosion of the fasteners. Have you ever seen a wooden fence with black streaks running down the boards from the nails? This fence was installed with the wrong type of fasteners. The same thing will happen to your furniture. Even worse, as the fasteners rust, they will speed up the decay process of the wood around the rusted fasteners, ruining your furniture and making it potentially unsafe to use.

Hot Dipped Galvanized

Screws and bolts treated by hot dipped galvanizing are specifically designed for use outdoors. Electroplated galvanized or bright galvanized fasteners ultimately will not hold up as well as the hot dipped galvanized hardware. Zinc is used as a coating in both methods, and acts as a barrier against the elements and the tannic acids in the wood.

I strongly recommend only using screws or bolts in the construction of outdoor furniture, however. The galvanized finish on nails, either electroplated or hot dipped, can easily become damaged while hammering them in, exposing the nail head to the elements and allowing them to begin rusting quickly.

Adequate care must be taken when installing galvanized screws. Drill pilot holes in hardwoods, and be sure to use a bit that is not worn and susceptible to skipping in the screw head. For whatever reason, the galvanized screws seem to not be as well tempered as other steel fasteners, and are more likely to either snap off or have the heads strip out while installing them. Due to the allowance required for the hot dipped coating, galvanized bolts do not have as tight of tolerance on the threads, and are more likely to strip if over tightened.

Hot dipped galvanized fasteners are a fine choice for many outdoor furniture applications, including Adirondack Chairs, but are not the best choice for use in woods, such as teak.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the best choice for use in woods with higher levels of tannic acid, such as teak. Stainless steel is an alloy or blend of steel, nickel and chrome. The ratio of the other metals with the steel determine the weather and corrosion resistance of stainless steel. Because the steel is mixed with other softer metals, the stainless steel is not as strong, so predrilling of screw holes is highly recommended in all applications, and essential in hardwoods such as teak and mahogany. The added corrosion resistance more than outweighs any shortcomings that the metal may have, especially in outdoor furniture applications.