What Outdoor Furniture is Waterproof? These Are The Materials to Look Out For — According to Experts

From wood to steel, there are many materials to choose from when it comes to picking the perfect waterproof textiles for your backyard. Here is what the experts think when it comes to finding the right weather-proof furniture

a firepit with chairs around in a modern backyard
(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Design: Richardson & Associates)

From summer days to stormy nights, if you want your outdoor furniture to stay looking its best then the best way to do that to invest in weatherproof designs.

While furniture that can survive the harshness of the mid-summer sun is one thing, designs that are waterproof are something else entirely. After all, if your furniture warps, rots or otherwise suffers when exposed to water, you'll always be at the mercy of an unexpected downpour. Realistically, most outdoor furniture isn't really designed to be left outside all winter, exposed to the elements on a long-term basis, but you'll find materials from the best outdoor furniture brands are weather-resistant enough to ensure your patio sets last for years to come.

We asked the experts which materials to look out for.

4 outdoor furniture materials that are waterproof

Co-founder of luxury garden furniture company, Gardenesque, Ali Wooldridge says good quality waterproof outdoor furniture should have 'moisture-resistant qualities as a priority,' as this will decrease the chance of 'irreversible damage, such as rust, rot, or warping'.

Even when purchasing waterproof goods, the experts say we should do what we can to take care of them. Ali tell us that 'while your furniture might be weather resistant, we always recommend covering when not in use to keep your furniture looking it’s prime and ready to use when the sun comes out'.

1. Eucalyptus FSC wood 

Wooden patio connected to a private building, with seating area and cozy lounge zone, open window with entrance to the house.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ali tell us Eucalyptus FSC wood is ideal if you are looking for weather-resistant outdoor furniture.

Ali says this material is a 'dense, rot and decay resistant material that is designed to last, making it ideal for all weather types,' but she explains that this type of wood needs 'seasonal care and winter storage to keep the wood looking it’s best for longer'.

Caroline Burvill of Gaze Burvill says wood is a great choice as it 'is never cold to the touch in winter, unlike stone or metal, but also it is not burning hot in the heat of the summer sun. It sits comfortably in the garden space, at ease surrounded by plants, hedges, vegetable plots and beautiful views'.

2. PE Rattan

Modern designed terrace with wicker furniture and plants

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ali says PE Rattan is great as a water and weather-resistant furniture, especially 'when finished with an aluminium frame'.

Aluminium is known to be 'extremely durable against the elements', it is also is 'moisture resistant', so Ali says 'you can leave it out all year round should you not have the storage space'. However, it still might be a good idea to cover your outdoor table out of season with a cover, like this from Amazon, to protect it from the elements.

Rattan is perfect for the outdoors as it is 'very easy to clean and can be powder coated to give a more aesthetic final appearance,' Ali adds. When it comes to which outdoor furniture lasts longest, this is the one material to know.

3. Powder coated steel

Outdoor garden chairs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'Powder coated steel can also be a good choice for weather-resistant patio furniture, such as those used in egg chair fames,' Ali tells us.

If steel is treated properly and powder coated, Ali says it can be 'very effective'. But says that you should 'also cover with a furniture cover when not in use for extra protection'.

Powder coating materials also helps with chemical resistance and makes it easy to clean.

4. Teak wood

Rocking chair on the pavement under the trees

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'Teak wood is great for rainproof furniture, as it has oils which are naturally moisture resistant, and so is less likely to rot or warp, like other woods,' Ali notes. But just like any other wood based furniture, it will 'need regularly treating throughout the season to keep it protected,' Ali adds.

Why is waterproof furniture important?

a neutral paved patio area with a cream outside chair, table and large plant pot with climbing plants in the background

(Image credit: Charlotte Lea Photography. Landscape Design: Garden Studio Design. Interior Design: Erica Delorme.)

Furniture maker Richard Louise from Alabama-based Dovetails and Stitches tell us that there are 5 reasons as to why you need to get your hands on waterproof outdoor furniture.

1. Durability: Richard says waterproof furniture is 'designed to withstand various elements such as rain, snow, and humidity which by definition reduces wear and tear, preventing rust, rot, and other damage that can occur with non-waterproof materials'. The longevity of waterproof furniture means 'less frequent replacements and better value for money over time'.

2. Low Maintenance: 'I believe there is an inverse relationship here with durability because as durability rises, maintenance needs generally decline. Waterproof materials are generally easier to clean and require less upkeep compared to other types of outdoor furniture,' Richard tells us. He says this therefore makes them ideal for the outdoors settings where your furniture is more exposed 'to dirt, dust, and other environmental pollutants'.

3. Protection Against Mold and Mildew: 'Waterproofing is crucial not only for the frames of outdoor furniture but also for the cushions,' Richard explains. 'Cushions without waterproof treatments are particularly vulnerable to moisture absorption, which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew'. To prevent this, choosing 'waterproof or moisture-resistant cushions, or using protective covers, can greatly enhance their longevity and maintain their appearance'.

4. Versatility: 'Waterproof outdoor furniture is designed to fit a variety of settings, from residential backyards, balconies, and gardens to commercial spaces such as cafes, restaurants, and hotel terraces'. Richard says this adaptability allows furniture to thrive in different climates and environments. 'For me, it makes dining alfresco an even more delightful experience, enhancing both comfort and style in outdoor dining settings,' he adds.

5. Cost-Effectiveness: 'Although generally speaking, waterproof outdoor furniture comes with a higher initial cost, its durability and low maintenance requirements make it a more cost-effective option in the long run,' Richard notes.

Waterproof pillow covers for outdoor furniture

Advice & Gardens Editor

Faiza is the Advice & Gardens Editor at Livingetc. She previously worked for The Independent as a News Feature Writer, where she wrote articles on lifestyle, entertainment, news and more. She also worked as an Audience Editor for the newspaper for over two years. Spending a few years in the newsroom, Faiza also previously worked for Sky News as an SEO reporter, where she produced stories based on trending topics. Lifestyle and Interior design is a space Faiza has been interested in for quite some time and as she continues to grow in the field, she will be diving into an interior design course to further her skills. Faiza has a background in SEO, social media and reporting. Her passion for writing goes beyond her work as she loves all things poetry and creative writing.