What you need to know before you invest in outdoor furniture.

If you’ve bought outdoor furniture only to see it fade and degrade quickly in the sun, you’re not alone in your frustration…

Furnishing outdoors in New Zealand is trickier than in many other countries simply because of the variety of challenging weather conditions. These include anything from salty coastal winds, heavy rain, high UV levels and extremely harsh sun. The challenging climate means our outdoor furniture needs to be made from tough materials.

Lounge Around’s outdoor furniture will vary in terms of its lifespan, but if you invest in quality furniture made from premium quality materials specific to New Zealand’s weather conditions “you can expect 10+ years of use from your outdoor furniture”.

Focus on fabric
Fabric that has been UV tested to a high standard in New Zealand conditions is what you need on your outdoor furniture. If you expose ‘normal’ fabric to outdoor conditions, fading and thinning will start to occur and it may start to look shabby within quite a short period of time.

Quality outdoor fabric is resistant to UV rays, water staining, is chlorine resistant and hard wearing.

“We use ‘Sunproof’ fabric. It’s woven from 100 per cent solution dyed Olefin yarn and applies excellent ultraviolet blocking agents which protect the polymer backbone of the fabric from the effects of UV radiation – it’s perfect for all outdoor applications.”

Solution dying is a clean manufacturing process, as the colour is added before the yarn is extruded. No dye bath processes are used, eliminating waste effluents, which may pollute air and water, making it friendly on the environment – an added bonus to an extremely durable textile.

Sunproof fabric has gone through a high level of testing and was evaluated by an internationally recognised research and service centre, the Hohenstein Institute, in Germany. It obtained a UV standard 801 certificate – protect 80 – which means it is capable of blocking more than 97 per cent of UV rays.

On top of UV resistance it’s also important to look for stain resistance and waterproofing in outdoor fabric.

Both types of fabric that Lounge Around uses are specifically chosen for their durability in harsh weather conditions. Sunproof is stain resistant and water repellent due to a special treatment to reduce the fabric absorption of soil, stains and water. The treatment means each fibre in the fabric is anti-adherent, keeping the fabric clean and dry.

Fading is another common short-coming of fabric used outdoors.

“Most patio umbrellas on the market use a dip-dyed polyester fabric, which fades so quickly that you can even notice a difference within 30 days.  It might not be as noticeable if you have chosen a light colour like beige, but vibrant or dark colours (like red, green or black) will look faded very quickly.”

The regular Olefin fabric used by Lounge Around in their furniture is at least eight times more fade-resistant than the polyester fabric that is found on the majority of patio umbrellas, and their solution-dyed Olefin blend Starbric is at least 20 times more fade-resistant than regular polyester. 

“The reason the Starbric is more fade-resistant is because it is solution-dyed – which means the fibres were pigmented before the fabric was woven together, giving it longer colourfastness than if the fibres were dipped/painted after the fabric was woven together.”

Another textile consideration for your furniture is making sure covers can be removed easily and machine washed. Lounge Around’s covers can be popped into a cold water wash with no need for harsh chemicals.

What do I look for in an inner?
Only quick-dry, reticulated foam should be used on outdoor furniture. Anything less will hold water and take a long time to dry, thereby limiting its use and causing mould and mildew to grow on the foam and fabric too.

“We use a porous, quick drying reticulated foam for our base cushions,” “It’s a marine grade, quick-dry foam, so water quickly passes through. It’s designed to filter water so no water is retained and a netting at the back of the cushion cover allows the water to come out easily and be ready again for use shortly after getting wet.”

This type of inner means no mouldy wet cushions and cushions can be used very quickly, even after a heavy shower.

For the back pillows, a plush filling is added, “for the perfect blend of support and comfort”.

Dine with peace of mind
It’s hard enough to find the perfect dining set that looks great, is comfortable and fits your deck or patio space perfectly, only to find that it’s degraded considerably after one season outdoors.

But it is possible to achieve comfort, looks and quality in outdoor furniture. For example, Lounge Around’s popular rattan furniture has the look and feel of traditional wicker furniture but with added attention to material longevity.

“We use a very thick half-round high grade polyethylene with extra strong UV inhibitors – an absolute essential in our extremely harsh sun.”

This means Lounge Around’s all-weather wicker is UV fade resistant and invulnerable to rain and moisture. It holds its rich look and feel for the long lifespan of the set.

Other options for long-lasting outdoor dining and lounge sets include concrete and aluminium, which fit with a wide range of aesthetics from contemporary to industrial.

But take care, because not all are created equal in terms of durability. Lounge Around’s frames are made from aluminium, which is strong and rust proof, but their point of difference is they are welded, not screwed together and then powder coated.

“This finish is three times as thick as paint and virtually impenetrable, so you can rest assured your patio furniture will fight off rain and sun year after year.

Maintaining great furniture
Once you’ve selected robust and stylish outdoor furniture it’s important to give it the best chance of staying in excellent condition. Most high-quality furniture will need only a wipe down occasionally, but with wood, you’ll need to stain or oil it regularly to avoid it greying off.

Low-quality furniture will need to be regularly cleaned and maintained but investing in high-quality furniture pays off when it comes to maintenance because the use of quality materials, premium fabrics and marine grade foam means the materials take care of the maintenance for you.