You’ve been dreaming of a shorefront property for years, and you finally have one of your own. In between planning elaborate BBQ menus and perfecting the placement of palm trees, take the time to outfit your patio with sturdy, comfortable beach house furniture for tanning, eating, and relaxing.
To make it through an eventful summer with your furniture intact, invest in outdoor furniture constructed for sunny beach environments. Sand, salty air, and ocean water can cause common furniture materials to crack, fade, and warp. What material is best for your tranquil beach home?
What Conditions Exist Near the Ocean?
You likely won’t have to prepare for a winter frost at the beach, but there are plenty of elements that can warp or degrade your outdoor furniture. At a beach home, the main weather concerns are moisture and humidity, intense sun, and salty sea air. Wet bodies and ocean waves mean your furniture will always be wet. Also, direct sunlight during the day will do its best to overheat materials and fade the lumber.
Every beach house resides in a unique area, and you should supplement your research with information about your specific locale. The top priorities when shopping for beach house furniture are resiliency to sun, water resistance, and whether the material absorbs heat.
How Materials Behave on the Beach
As you compare the various styles and costs of outdoor furniture, consider how long you plan to occupy your beach house. Do you want functional, dependable furniture that will last a decade? How often do you want to treat or maintain it? Here’s how the most popular materials endure beach elements.
Aluminum is lightweight, durable, and is an affordable material for outdoor furniture.
- Aluminum is a metal, and can become hot to the touch if left in the sun.
- Aluminum is water- and rust-resistant, making it a good fit for humid beach homes.
- Aluminum doesn’t require much upkeep and is easy to clean.
- Aluminum is lightweight, making it easy to move and potentially susceptible to wind gusts.
- For an additional price bump, you can opt for powder-coated aluminum that is corrosion-resistant.
The distinctive appearance of wrought iron has made it a staple outdoor furniture material.
- Wrought iron is heavier than aluminum, making it more difficult to blow over and to rearrange.
- Certain types of wrought iron can rust due to humidity and exposure to moisture. More expensive wrought iron is powder-coated to prevent rusting.
- Wrought iron is unique and handcrafted, which lends a distinct visual flair to your deck or poolside lounge.
- Wrought iron, like metal furniture, retains heat and needs to cool down if left directly in the sun.
- Wrought iron can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth to remove dust and sand.
If you are considering wood furniture, teak is the highest-quality option.
- Teak is extremely durable and resists sunlight without overheating.
- The timeless appeal of natural beauty in woods like teak is undeniable. Teak adds a rustic, inviting charm to your outdoor space.
- Teak requires consistent maintenance to avoid the “silvery patina” look.
- Teak is minimally affected by salty sea air. Because teak can resist the effects of rain and water exposure, it’s costlier than other woods.
- Teak is mostly available in one color option.
The least expensive material option, simple plastic, is also the least durable choice.
- Plastic furniture loses its color due to sun exposure. Summer heat can cause warping and cracking.
- Plastic is easily cleaned when dust or sand accumulates.
- Plastic is resistant to water exposure and rust.
- Plastic is lightweight. A gust of wind from the sea can topple plastic chairs and benches.
- Plastic is affordable, making it an acceptable placeholder for a season.
HDPE, or high-density polyethylene recycled lumber, is a sturdy and weather-resistant material option for beach homes.
- HDPE lumber does not absorb heat. Prolonger sun exposure won’t cause the colors to fade.
- HDPE lumber is resistant to moisture and salty sea air. It won’t crack, peel, rot, or warp due to weather.
- HDPE furniture is available in a wide variety of color options and styles.
- HDPE lumber is made from recycled material and is recyclable itself.
- HDPE lumber’s durability makes it a long-lasting but more expensive option.
The Final Verdict
Most high-grade materials are naturally resistant to water and rust, and some can be treated to prevent corrosion. The main caveat with beach homes is a material’s ability to resist heating. Aluminum is a terrific material, but it should be kept under shade or it will become hot to the touch in the sun.
Certain materials like plastic, aluminum, wrought iron and HDPE lumber are easier to clean, while teak requires more maintenance. Ultimately, your decision will be based on your budget and your personal style preferences.
Materials like wrought iron and teak look completely different — once you consider factors like durability and weather resistance, you should also make your selection based on what will complement your home’s unique style. To learn more, read our materials breakdown. After selecting your outdoor furniture, you can start to decorate your beach house.