March 14, 2014
Why Outdoor Furniture Commands Its Price
Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Casual Furniture
When it comes to shopping and purchasing outdoor furniture, there are many choices. From big box stores to custom-order design stores, the brands and prices vary greatly, so you should know what you are getting for your money.
There are many foundations in outdoor furniture: Resin, eco-friendly plastics, wood, steel or iron (the least expensive) and aluminum. Aluminum is by far the most favored because of the minimum amount of maintenance required to care for it and it is available in many forms. Extruded aluminum, which is hollow and formed on a machine, wrought aluminum which is hollow and formed by hand, and cast aluminum. Cast aluminum is made from a casting of a design that has liquid aluminum poured into it and is allowed to set. The liquid aluminum can be made from pure aluminum or from recycled aluminum with fillers in it (less expensive). The designs in the castings can be very intricate to quite contemporary and this dictates the price of the furniture. Any one of these designs require extra handling due to the fact that the manufacturers need to make sure that there are no rough burrs in the details that might cause cuts on small hands.
At Bucks Country Gardens, we carry a wide variety of quality outdoor furniture: Iron, wood, resin wicker and aluminum, including extruded, wrought and cast. All of our furniture is from highly regarded companies that carry a wide selection of designs, fabrics and price points. With this being said, let’s get started so you know where the pricing comes from.
Size does matter. The scale of the furniture as well as the construction will dictate prices. Does the chair have braces on the legs for support? Will this chair hold up when Uncle Bill comes to visit? Is the chair hollow or solid? Solid furniture is heavier and costs more. Every day I hear “Oh, I saw something similar to this at half the price”. There tends to be a reason for that so make sure you know what you are looking at when comparing chairs.
The design of the furniture also decides price. The more intricate the design, the more handling is required. Filing and cleaning of ornate furniture pieces can be labor intensive.
The next aspect to consider are the finishes. Quality companies who manufacture metal furniture use a series of baths to clean the furniture before going into the painting process. The companies we buy from use an electrostatically charged paint system that is applied so as to get into every nook and cranny, this assures the best finish available. The paint usually has a UV stabilizer in it to help with fading, just like your automobile. With this multi-layer finish, your furniture can stand up to the harshest weather conditions and still look great. Another factor to consider is that many of these companies also add hand painted details that enhances and personalizes the look of your furniture.
Wicker furniture has become very popular and can be manufactured in many ways. Erwin and Sons Company, whose furniture we are very proud to offer our customers, creates beautiful, hand woven resin wicker pieces. Their craftsmanship is worth the wait: A sofa can take up to three days to weave and a chair in one full day, depending on the weave pattern. The resin wicker (all-weather polyethylene) that they use offers UV stabilizers and a solid color throughout. Some companies only use a top coated color that bleaches out over time, reflected in their less expensive price.
Fabrics can make the furniture come to life. There are many different types of outdoor fabrics available to the consumer. Sunbrella is the most popular fabric brands and has the best fade resistant values on the market, but there are other companies who have fabrics that work just as well but do not demand the designer price. Warehouse and big box stores tend to carry fabrics that look like high-design but in fact only have the colors printed on top and white underneath. This will fade a lot faster than a solution dyed acrylic fabric. Acrylic blends are very soft, comfortable and allow the customer to customize their own outdoor oasis.
Lastly, with all of the choices available to the consumer, reputable furniture companies offer warranties on all of their furniture: Anywhere from 1–15 years on the frames and 1–3 on sling-styled seating and cushions. With premium quality furniture, the customer is able to add additional pieces on to their set over several years, acquire replacement cushions to fit exactly and have their furniture repaired or replaced when needed. Hopefully this helps you to know what to look for when buying outdoor furniture. Simply do the homework and buy what you can afford, but always know you really do get what you pay for.
Donna Dentner | Lifestyles Manager