The flexibility and amenities of a modern lake house make it the ideal getaway for relaxing weekends, fun celebrations, and summer vacations. If you recently bought a lake house, you’re likely planning the finishing touches to have it fully operational for the season.
Compared to a home in the city, a lake house must withstand the full forces of nature. Snow, ice, and rain can take a toll on your outdoor furniture in just a few months. To find outdoor furniture that can weather lakeside conditions, you must learn which materials hold up best in this climate.
What Climate Exists Lakeside?
The climate around a lake can vary, as lake homes are located throughout the country. In general, areas near mountains and forests will experience frequent rainfall and, in Northern regions, brutal winters with subfreezing temperatures. Materials in a lake house also contend with the dirt, muck, and grime from activities like hunting coupled with runoff from inclement weather.
Take the time to research specific weather and climate information in your house’s area. As you start shopping for durable outdoor furniture, prioritize water-resistance, handling fluctuating temperatures, lumber resiliency, and ease of cleaning.
How Materials Behave Near the Lake
Outdoor furniture at your lake house is directly exposed to the elements. When you begin comparing furniture options, consider how long each material will last. How often do you want to treat or clean your furniture? What materials limit damage from snow, rain, and grime?
Aluminum is a durable and popular outdoor furniture material.
- Aluminum resists water damage and rust, helping combat the elements at your lake house.
- The sleek surface of aluminum is easy to clean.
- Aluminum is often paired with other materials like sling fabric, HDPE lumber, or synthetic resin to create unique, functional furniture designs.
- Aluminum performs well in frigid winter temperatures without the need for special treatment.
- Aluminum is lightweight, making it easy to rearrange. However, strong winds can blow over chairs and benches.
Wicker is an affordable woven material with a timeless, rustic appearance.
- Wicker is not water-resistant and can become brittle or breakdown after prolonged exposure to rain.
- More expensive synthetic wicker can withstand moisture and resist rot.
- Wicker must be treated to maintain its structural integrity and appearance. Cleaning wicker is time-consuming.
- Snow and cold temperatures cause wicker to expand and warp, ultimately making it break.
- Wicker is among the least expensive outdoor furniture options for budget-conscious buyers.
Wood adds a classic look to your outdoor furniture, and teak represents the most resilient wood material.
- Hardwoods like teak are extremely durable, lasting much longer than softwoods like pine and cedar.
- Teak must be treated to maximize its performance and to minimize the “silver patina” look.
- If you follow proper upkeep with your teak furniture, you can avoid rot and mildew from moisture and rain.
- Teak produces its own oil, making it nearly impervious to the effects of frost and snow.
- Teak is generally available in its natural lumber color but is easily outfitted with cushions and sling for a splash of color.
Plastic is an affordable furniture material that is available in most outdoor supply and hardware stores.
- Plastic resists moisture and rusting, meaning you can leave it exposed in the event of a rain shower.
- Plastic is light and can be moved to storage without difficulty. If expecting inclement weather, weigh down plastic furniture or move it indoors.
- Simple plastic becomes brittle and can break easily in freezing winter temperatures and snowstorms.
- Plastic has a smooth surface that can be wiped down and cleaned with little effort after becoming dirty.
- While plastic is not ideal for cold climates, it can last through a warm-season without substantial degradation.
HDPE lumber, made from recycled plastic, is a stylish and sturdy choice for lake houses.
- HDPE lumber is ultra-durable, withstanding rain and moisture exposure without rotting or warping.
- The construction of HDPE lumber protects it from fluctuations in temperature so you can leave it outside during summers and winters.
- HDPE lumber can be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dirt, grime, and debris.
- HDPE lumber is heavier than plastic, wicker, or aluminum, making it stronger against wind gusts but heavier to move.
- HDPE lumber looks more modern than wood and is available in several color options.
The Final Verdict
For water and rot resistance, the top options are metals like aluminum, hardwoods like teak, and synthetic materials like HDPE lumber. These three materials are also best for colder climates where harsh winters cause other materials to degrade. Plastic and wicker last longer if protected from inclement weather and moved inside during the colder months.
Much of your decision will be based on your personal preference. Is your aesthetic rustic and natural? Teak furniture may be the best for your lake house patio or deck. Do you prefer modern colors or clean lines? Invest in a combination of aluminum, HDPE lumber, or plastic. Do you have a sheltered sunroom? Wicker may be your best bet.
Consider your budget and your local climate before making your final selection. For a deep dive, read more about our materials. Once you order your furniture, start considering how you will decorate your lake house.