outdoor furniture

Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture: 7 Types & How To Choose One

Wooden outdoor furniture can go a long way in accentuating your patio or deck space. From having a spacious sectional to enjoy a bonfire on to Adirondack chairs to sit in while you devour a good book, there are many ways to decorate your outdoor living area. 

Yet, with so many excellent weather-resistant woods, what is the best wood for outdoor furniture and décor? 

Here, we’ll explore the best wood for outdoor furniture and guide you to choose the right option for your project. 

1. Teak Wood 

Teak is one of the strongest and most durable hardwoods, so many use it to make outdoor furniture. Because of its high oil content and tight wood grain pattern, teak furniture holds up well against the rain and sun. It also has a natural resistance to rotting, termites and acid. 

Furthermore, teak is low-maintenance even when left uncovered. Over time, the weather conditions will cause the teak to turn a silvery gray. You can leave the color as is or bring the teak back to its natural color with a light sanding and polish treatment. 

With all its natural beauty, it’s no wonder teak is a favorite for patio furniture. 

2. White Oak Wood 

White oak wood is another durable wood that is moisture- and rot-resistant. Unlike other oak varieties, white oak is less susceptible to warping and twisting, making it great to use in outdoor spaces. 

To bring out the natural colors of this wood, it’s essential to use a sealer or stain to protect the timber. 

Notably, white oak’s hardness makes it a problematic wood for beginners to work with. So, if this is your first DIY project, it may not be suitable for you because it requires hand and machine tools. In this case, consider purchasing different construction supplies for your project. 

3. Cypress Wood 

Cypress wood is a softwood, meaning it comes from a needle-leaved tree (conifer) rather than a tree that sheds its leaves each autumn (deciduous). Compared to other woods, cypress wood is lightweight, making it ideal for outdoor projects. 

Cypress wood is in the same family as cedar, redwood, and sequoia, so it shares rot-resistant properties with these timbers. Aside from its use in outdoor furniture, it’s also popular in boat building. 

Yet, it’s important to note that cypress wood has a lower density, which means it dents more easily than other woods. 

4. Black Locust Wood 

Although you can find black locust wood in the U.S., this wood species most often comes from Asia (China, to be exact). It’s a popular choice for outdoor uses because it can last up to 100 years without rotting! 

Like white oak, black locust wood is incredibly hard, so it’s best to have some woodworking experience before using it. However, its strength and durability allow it to withstand fire damage, insect infestation, and deterioration from moisture. 

5. Eastern Red Cedar Wood 

As the name suggests, the heartwood of eastern red cedar is a gorgeous reddish-brown color, which is why many love it for outdoor furniture. The sapwood is a pale yellow color that can appear as streaks and stripes throughout the heartwood. It’s stunning! 

The natural oils in eastern red cedar help act as a natural repellent against pests, such as: 

  • Ants 
  • Mosquitos 
  • Termites 

Although eastern red cedar is a softwood, it has excellent hardness, allowing it to handle damp environments without swelling or warping. 

6. Ipe Wood 

Ipe, or Brazilian hardwood, is another one of the best wood options for outdoor furniture. Hailing from Central and South America, it most commonly comes from the natural forests of Brazil (hence its alternative name). 

Ipe’s natural oils make it water-resistant, so it’s unlikely to warp or rot. These oils also act as a repellent against fungi, insects, and termites. However, applying a sealant every few years can help increase the longevity of your ipe furniture and maintain its beautiful, deep colors. 

Because ipe and teak are two of the most commonly used woods for outdoor furniture, read more about ipe versus teak wood to see which is best for you. 

7. Pine Wood 

With over 120 varieties of pine, there is much versatility when using this type of wood for your outdoor furniture. From dining tables to lounge chairs, pine is a great wood, mainly because its smooth, even texture gives it a beautiful look. 

However, pine is not the most durable compared to other woods. In fact, pine is more popular for indoor rather than outdoor furniture. 

Thus, if you want to make outdoor wood furniture with pine, opt for a pressure-treated option for better resistance to rot and decay. Also, stain the furniture to help it last longer. 

Picking the Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture 

The best wood to use for your outdoor furniture will ultimately come down to several factors. First, consider your budget. Some woods, like teak and ipe, are much more expensive than white oak or eucalyptus. 

You also want to think about the properties of the wood. For instance, if you live in a very humid climate, you need something that will hold up well against moisture, pests, and rot. 

Finally, consider the grain color. While you can stain the wood to alter the color, it is lovely to show its natural beauty in the furniture design. 

Whichever wood you choose, it’s imperative to choose good wood. What does this mean? 

Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. This label tells you that the wood came from a well-managed forest with lower-impact logging methods. If the wood you wish to buy doesn’t have a label, ask the seller more about its origin. 

Get Materials for Your Outdoor Furniture Project 

When you’re looking for the best wood for outdoor furniture, you have several excellent options to choose from. From teak and ipe to white oak and eastern red cedar, you can’t go wrong with any of the high-quality timbers on this list. 

For assistance choosing wood for your outdoor furniture, get in touch with us at Harbor Exports! Our team can help you with all your woodworking needs. 

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