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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Challenge of Outdoor Furniture for Seaside Living

by Eddie Wharez

Whether you have owned a beach property before or not, you are probably amazed at how the elements including the salty air is not necessarily the best—even the life expectancy of a house at the beach is considerably shorter. That is why you must be really careful when choosing outdoor furniture. Here's some information to help out in your decision-making process, including some tips and considerations.

Before you go shopping, it would be wise to ask yourself some questions:
  • Will my outdoor furniture be used only by me and my family, or will it be for a rental property?
  • Will I have space for a seating area large enough for more than two people?
  • Will my terrace or patio be used occasionally to entertain or perhaps have a nice dinner with my spouse or friends?
  • Will the furniture have to stay outdoors or could it be stored?
  • Will my outdoor furniture follow a specific design or theme, maybe traditional, eclectic or transitional?
  • How much time will I be willing to spend looking after furniture?
Now let's begin:

Teak is one of the most durable woods in the market, it goes from reddish brown to silver gray once it has weathered; you can prevent it from happening if you take care of it with special oil or stain.

Outdoor wicker: Rattan, water hyacinth, sea grass, banana leaves, bamboo and the like, add the tropical and classical feel we all like when we are in a vacation site. The beauty of the natural materials will last longer in an enclosed area, however, most of it will not do so well at full exposure to the elements.

Wrought iron is a very sturdy material ideal for windy areas, available in a variety of designs. Just keep in mind that, even with the best of treatments, iron will still rust. So, think twice about it if you need it for a beach home. If feel you are going to miss the enchantment of the iron work, guess what? Nowadays you can get cast aluminum in the traditional look of iron, especially if you want keep a Mexican design for your home.

Resin and cast aluminum: These two elements will do wonders together. They are usually weather proof, care and rust free. All you need to do is hose them down, vacuum them once in a while and your set will look like new! Perfect for rental properties. Just a small piece of advice: Check the weight of them, because on a windy day you don't want any of your chairs to end up somewhere else than on your terrace!

As far as fabric is concerned you'll find quite a large selection of patterns and colors. For fabric to endure the weather, it has to be polyester based, vinyl or acrylic, so it dries quickly and resists mildew. Keep in mind that even the most water-resistant fabrics will break down when they sit outside for too long without use. Therefore, storing fabric will extend the life and beauty of your cushions. Remember, cushions will be basically the only thing you will want to replace after a few years; but, you'll probably love to change colors and patterns anyway, right?


Eddie Wharez is the owner and designer of Diseños Casa y Jardín. If you have any questions or comments, contact him at eddiewharez@yahoo.com, visit www.eddiewharez.com or just simply drop by his gallery on Old Cholla Road. You will be pleasantly surprised.