June 11, 2021

Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture | 5 Options and a Guide

What is best wood for outdoor furniture?

So, what is the best wood for outdoor furniture? I cannot tell you how often I have answered that question. If you are considering making or purchasing a new table or chair, you will probably be looking to protect it from the weather. The best way to do this is to start with weather-resistant timber, meaning that it will give you a long life expectancy so that you do not have to keep replacing the same table for years. There are two main types of weather-resistant timber; they are the A and B classes.


Cedar is naturally resistant to weather and insects. That makes it a strong wood for outdoor furniture. Softwood produces natural protective oil that is a defense to rot, decay, and moisture. No chemical preservative is needed. Cedar is stable, dense, and hard. Cedar is lightweight. 

That is why it suits outdoor furniture that you have to reposition with time. Weight should not be a limitation. It stains well. That is why it matches a variety of existing furniture. It is also easy to sand and applies a finish. Although that means it makes the grain course, that makes it beautiful. 

You can make a finish of your choice that suits the environment. As it starts aging, it turns to a beautiful silver-grey color.  Moisture does not make it crack. Less maintenance is required. What keeps insects away from cedar are resins that are barely noticeable. It is softwood that scratches easily.


Redwood has an attractive natural color that makes outdoor furniture beautiful. The color neither fades off nor changes. What makes it durable is the excellent way it withstands harsh climatic conditions. You do not worry if you choose to make it part of your outdoor furniture. 

However, it scratches and dents easily. Use a sealant after applying a finish to the surface. The lack of a seal makes it produce a red pigment. That pigment tends to stain clothes when people come into contact with the furniture. It is easy to cut, saw and drill. It is affordable. 

A coat makes it beautiful. It has natural insect and moisture-resistant qualities. The softwood requires minimal movement. It is resistant to shrinking and warping. Heat does not affect redwood. An oil-based stain-blocking primer is ideal for redwood. A protective sealer makes it stain-free.


Teak is durable, waterproof, and resistant to sunlight. This makes it the best wood for patio furniture. It does not attract dirt and is resistant to insects. Teak is ideal for boatbuilding. That shows the power of protection against water and adverse weather conditions. Although it is not affordable, the features are worth it. 

teak patio furniture

It ensures you have lasting furniture that does not require extra maintenance and repair costs. Teak has value for money. It is a rot-resistant wood that does not need treatment. Due to its high demand, it has been scarce lately. Teak takes polish quickly. 

That is what makes it attractive. It is for beachside furniture. That tells how strong it is. No matter how much water gets to the wood, it does not rot. The tight grain makes it a strong wood. Workability is one of the strengths of teak wood. 


Oak is strong, durable, and sturdy. It is a great hardwood for outdoor furniture. The golden-brown color that comes with oak is beautiful, and it matches multiple home designs. Although it lasts longer, it requires protective treatment so that it lasts longer. It is ideal for garden furniture. When not in use, cover the wood furniture. 

Oak is stainable and straight-grained wood that is resistant to decay. It splits easily, and there is no need for pre-drilling screw holes for fasteners.  It has a natural resistance to water and rot. To enhance its durability, add paint or oil to the furniture. As it ages, it develops a grey color. It is ideal for wetlands. There is white and red oak. 

White oak needs you to honor its details. It has less porosity than red oak. That prevents moisture absorption in the end grain. A pilot hole must be drilled to prevent the wood from splitting while driving in screws. It works well with machines. The cost depends on cuts.


Mahogany is easy to machine, and sand and gives a beautiful finish to your outdoor furniture. African mahogany performs better than the rest. Although it is not affordable, it is understandable. 

It comes in multiple colors. It is durable for outdoor use. It needs maintenance so that it retains its color. It darkens with time. That is why it has attracted users who like dark colors. It is readily available since it grows faster, unlike Teak wood. 

mahogany tea set

Since teak wood is scarce, mahogany is an appropriate substitute. Amongst the mahogany wood is the Sapele mahogany, Brazilian Tiger mahogany, and Luan mahogany. Mahogany is reddish-brown to blood-red in color. It is easy to cut, and it needs a finish. 

Characteristics to look for in wood for outdoor furniture


The durability of wood for outdoor furniture depends on the material. Some wood materials exposed outside need replacement after some seasons. These are not appropriate for outdoor furniture. 

The above-mentioned woods have qualities that allow them to withstand outdoor conditions. Even after years, they still look new. Less wear and tear under the sun and water makes the furniture durable. 

The frequency of use should not shorten the life of the furniture. Although hardwood is difficult to work on, it is durable. Teak is a hardwood that lasts longer. Appropriate seasoning is what you have to master. The natural resistance that comes with hardwood allows it to last longer. The chances of warping, splitting, and swelling are low. However, some softwood like Cedar is also durable. 


Applying a preservative does not mean the type of wood used is not strong and durable. It helps your furniture to retain its original color. Sometimes it gives you the color of your choice. 

Choose the type of stain that matches your vision. Staining has to last for years so the process will not have to be repetitive. It gives a beautiful finish to the furniture. The best protection comes from the stain.

Weather Resistance

Different woods suit certain climates. Woods like acacia and cedar are resistant to moisture. The chances of cracking due to harsh climatic conditions are low. Woods like cypress are ideal for warmer areas since they have aesthetic qualities that become attractive when exposed to sunlight. 

Water Resistance

Before choosing your wood for outdoor furniture, look at your area. In that case, what you consider is humidity, and rainstorms. These water-based issues ruin your furniture if it fails to endure the weather condition. There are areas with frequent rain storms and high humidity. 

Be sure that your furniture is resistant to damage from water-based issues. These degrade your material and affect your health as well. Moist conditions accommodate the growth of fungi. Organic material retains water, and that makes it withstand water-related conditions. 


Financial implications are every user’s concern. That is why you end up having to choose the wood that suits your budget. As much as high-end material attracts more cost, try to stay within your means. 

You end up failing to maintain the furniture, which results in more costs. A comparison of price and value is of utmost importance as it guides you through buying your material. Time is taken and resources for maintenance matter too. That is how you evaluate alternatives.


After some months, clean down your garden furniture to remove dirt. Wood-like Teak does not attract dirt, but at some point, it has to be cleaned. Use warm water, soap, and a brush. Clean your outdoor furniture on a sunny day so that you let it dry. Cleaning and repainting are two ways of maintaining outdoor furniture. 

The way you take care of your outdoor furniture determines its life. Appropriate outdoor furniture requires little attention. Some materials demand intensive care that costs more due to the special products required. Lower maintenance materials are convenient. 

For those who want to put a personal touch on an existing project, see our guide on painting over Danish oil.

David D. Hughes

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