There are two basic categories of aluminum patio furniture: aluminum framed furniture and cast aluminum patio furniture. Patio furniture which is sold as just ‘aluminum’ typically make use of a hollow aluminum frame, whereas cast aluminum furniture is solid and heavy. This does not automatically translate to greater durability, with both types carrying their own benefits relative to the manufacturing quality of the furniture itself.
Here we’ll be taking you through a comparison of aluminum vs cast aluminum patio furniture, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages, as well as key information to keep in mind when shopping for a new item or set.
The majority of aluminum-framed patio furniture goes through an extrusion process, resulting in a hollow, round, or square frame. When opting for aluminum patio furniture, be sure to check the quality of the item or set. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the item the better the quality.
Heavy patio furniture will also sustain high winds with less chance of blowing over. However, lighter furniture may be preferred for the elderly, or an outdoor space for children, due to being easier to move around.
Another great feature to look for when shopping for aluminum patio furniture is the addition of supports between the framework. This will ensure that the frame does not dent or bend when sustaining high wind.
Your furniture will most likely be powder coated with a smooth finish. It is best to check customer reviews to ensure that a good quality finish has been used, otherwise your patio furniture could be susceptible to peeling.
Another important, but fairly minor, factor to motivate your purchase is the use of brass welded joints instead of standard steel/aluminum. While opinions may differ, welded joints which are not neatly sanded down are typically a marker of shoddy manufacturing.
The vast majority of extruded aluminum patio furniture is built from various sections of cast aluminum bolted together. Whenever possible, look for full-circumference welds, although aluminum manufacturing of this caliber is typically quite costly.
The heat dispersion of extruded aluminum furniture is also slightly better than cast aluminum. After extended hours in direct, scorching sunlight, your furniture will still stay cool to the touch. When shopping for patio furniture in regions which have a hot climate, always keep an eye on what type of cushions or slings are used. Leather and similar fabrics can get too hot to touch.
Tubular frames for patio furniture are also comprised of extruded aluminum. Extruded tubes are created by feeding molten metal through a die. This opens up a great deal of creative potential, allowing for an unlimited complexity of designs.
Most tubular extruded aluminum furniture features vinyl straps or fabric slings. When opting for this type of patio furniture, it is best to see whether or not replacement parts are available, as the durable frame will most likely far outlast the slings or cushions, if provided.
Heavier than extruded aluminum and both lighter and more durable than wrought iron, cast aluminum patio furniture is the first choice for most. Supplied with a solid, long-lasting high-quality powder coated finish, cast aluminum furniture is known to last in excess of thirty years with very little maintenance.
The finishing quality of your cast aluminum patio furniture needs to have the utmost attention to detail. A rich, thick finish featuring secure bracing and a textured appearance are usually signs of quality craftsmanship.
Rough textures without a degree of intricacy are most likely cast using a process of sand-casting, the cheaper manner of manufacturing. On the other hand, die cast patio furniture gives a far better appearance.
Each item of each piece of furniture is cast and finished perfectly before being welded or bolted securely. Always ensure that the item of furniture carries seamless welds and joinery, with a surface texture akin to being handcrafted.
The use of filler within cast aluminum is a hallmark of quality, protecting and supporting the patio furniture. If your prospective purchase appears as if it is finished only on one side, then it has not been formed using a 3D mold and is typically of inferior manufacturing.
Sectional cast aluminum furniture should always feature welding around the full circumference of each join. Bolted assembly is typical for lower priced patio furniture, however solid welded joints indicate the best quality. When bolts are used, make sure that they are made from stainless steel or aluminum.
Aluminum patio furniture should be the prime choice for any outdoor living space. It is eco-friendly, with recycling requiring just 5% of the energy expenditure needed to manufacture the aluminum itself. Neither extruded aluminum nor cast aluminum patio furniture will rust, making both fine choices for any outdoor entertainment area.
The final choice comes down to your budget. Extruded aluminum patio furniture exhibits excellent longevity and design style when choosing from trusted brands, with the cost being up to four times lower than a high-quality cast aluminum item or set of the same type.
One should take care when purchasing patio furniture which is constructed using a blend of steel and either cast or extruded aluminum. If the steel is not treated with a superior finish, then rust and corrosion will eventually develop.
Sets and furniture items solely comprised of aluminum are the best option for outdoor use, especially when living near the coast. For a compromise, look around for a blend of cast and extruded aluminum. While not as common, this is a good mid-way point for those constricted by a tight budget.