Which Outdoor Furniture Material is Best for Your Beach House?

If you own beachfront property, chances are you spend as much time on the shore as you do on hardwood floors. And it’s no wonder why. Spectacular sunsets, fresh air, the repetitive sounds of rolling waves—you have the best that nature has to offer right in your backyard.

Whether you love outdoor entertaining or quiet solitude is more your speed, you need high-quality furniture that will keep up with your lifestyle and the local climate. Finding the best outdoor furniture for oceanfront living takes some upfront research, but we can help if you’re not sure where to start.

In fact, the legwork is already done. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular outdoor furniture materials and how they handle oceanside environments.


Consider the Conditions

POLYWOOD South Beach 3-Piece Folding Adirondack Set on the beach
South Beach 3-Piece Folding Adirondack Set in White

Oceanside conditions vary depending on where you live. For example, the climate in the Gulf of Mexico is different from that of a coastal town in Maine. However, there are certain outdoor elements that all beach homes face:

  • Humidity
  • Salt spray
  • Moisture
  • Sand
  • Sun exposure
  • Wind
  • Intense storms (hurricanes, nor’easters, etc.)

Keep these conditions in mind when searching for beach-friendly furniture. You’ll want outdoor dining and lounge pieces that are resistant to water, wind, fading, salty air, and other inclement conditions.


Materials Matter

Here’s a list of popular outdoor furniture materials, including how well-suited they are to seaside settings. Note that no material is “bad”—it’s just going to require more maintenance or will need to be replaced sooner.

Furniture Material

 

    Performance Rating   

(1 = Low, 5 = Top)

Aluminum 4
Hardwood 3
Softwood 1
HDPE 5
Natural Wicker 1
Synthetic Wicker 4
Wrought Iron 2
Injection-Molded Plastic 2

Aluminum

Aluminum

Thanks to its durability and affordable price tag, aluminum is a favored furniture choice for outdoor living.

Pros

  • Lightweight material that’s easy to move and store
  • Resistant to pests, water, and rust; powder-coated options are even more durable
  • Doesn’t require much upkeep or cleaning

Cons

  • May be moved by strong winds
  • Becomes uncomfortable in hot and cold weather

Hardwood

Pros

  • Wind-resistant
  • Relatively resistant to rot, insects, and salt air
  • Not prone to warping or cracking
  • Remains comfortable to the touch in hot and cold weather

Cons

  • Needs regular maintenance to remain resistant to moisture, humidity, insects, sand, warping, and cracking
  • Can discolor if left out in the sun for too long
  • Heavy material that’s hard to move and store

Softwood

Cypress, cedar, and redwood are the most popular softwoods for making outdoor furniture. They’re generally less expensive and more accessible than hardwoods, but that decrease in price may mean a decrease in durability.

Pros

  • Easier to move than hardwoods but heavy enough to resist wind
  • Stays comfortable in hot and cold weather

Cons

  • May warp or fade when exposed to direct sunlight
  • Susceptible to moisture and humidity
  • Easily damaged by insects and sand

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Orange POLYWOOD Adirondack Set & Ottomans

HDPE lumber can be more expensive than other materials, but many homeowners believe poly lumber is worth the cost because of its durability and longevity. For many, the notion that this furniture is typically made from recycled materials also offsets the overall cost. 

Pros

  • Remains at a comfortable temperature in most conditions
  • Won’t easily fade, rot, warp, splinter, peel, or chip
  • Withstands moisture, humidity, wind, insects, and salty sea air
  • Low-maintenance and easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavier weight; moving the furniture may be challenging

Natural Wicker

Natural wicker is a beautiful lounge furniture option that’s woven with plant-based materials, such as willow, rattan, bamboo, or reeds.

Pros

  • Easy to move around (so you can catch the best view at sunset)
  • Comfortable to sit on no matter the temperature

Cons

  • Helpless against strong winds
  • Requires constant upkeep to prevent breakage, fading, and other weather-related damage

Synthetic Wicker

Like its natural counterpart, synthetic wicker furniture can be woven from a range of various materials. Synthetic wicker is manufactured specifically for durability and includes nylon, HDPE, PVC, and PE materials.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Resistant to moisture, humidity, salt, and insects
  • Does not get too hot or cold in extreme temperatures
  • Easy to clean and requires little maintenance

Cons

  • Lightweight styles are vulnerable to wind gusts
  • Some styles are thin and prone to breakage

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron furniture is a popular choice for outdoor furniture thanks to its elegant, almost whimsical appearance. This material is particularly susceptible to rust, so it may require a good deal of maintenance in coastal climates.

Pros

  • Wind resistant due to its heft
  • Low-maintenance and easy to clean
  • Treated options resist moisture, humidity, and salt corrosion
  • Pest resistant

Cons

  • May get too hot or cold to use in high or low temperatures
  • Heavy and challenging to move 
  • Prone to rusting

Injection Molded Plastic

The most inexpensive option for outdoor furniture material, injection-molded plastic is a common choice for those who own rentals or primary homes at the beach. 

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Resistant to moisture, humidity, rust, and salt corrosion
  • Stays at a comfortable temperature in hot and cold weather

Cons

  • Vulnerable to strong winds
  • Quickly fades under direct sunlight
  • Warps and cracks in extreme temperatures

FAQs

What’s the best beach furniture?

Oceanside environments are beautiful yet harsh, so you want durable lounge and dining sets that can handle some rough-and-tumble weather. The best beach furniture resists coastal elements such as salt, humidity, moisture, wind, and sand. Pieces should have some weight to them but not be so heavy that they’re tough to move around your outdoor space. HDPE, aluminum, resin wicker, and teak furniture are great options to explore. 

What is coastal-style furniture?

Coastal-style furniture often refers to beachy designs colored with sandy neutrals and blue, green, and grey hues. Kicking back in coastal furniture should make you feel like you’re on vacation—it’s casual, laid-back, and infused with calming shoreside vibes. It can also refer to nautical-themed pieces. 

How do I protect my beach furniture?

You can protect your beach furniture by storing it under a covered porch or in a shed when the weather gets bad. Alternatively, weatherproof covers can be used to shield each piece from the elements. Keeping furniture in a shady spot and regularly cleaning off salt, sand, and dirt also helps it last longer.

How do you protect outdoor furniture from water?

Place your patio furniture far enough from the water’s edge so waves and rising tides won’t reach them. If your furniture gets wet, dry it off with a towel right away. Situate the furniture in a covered spot to keep it out of the rain, and store it in a dry place when not in use. For added protection, apply a sealant to the surfaces to keep out moisture and humidity.

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