“I don’t want to spend too much money on something that’s going to sit outside in the elements”.
If you’ve ever had that thought about outdoor furniture , you’re not alone. I hear that view expressed often. But here is why you should think and do the opposite.
A lot of cheaper outdoor furniture is manufactured for European conditions not for the “acid test” conditions of Australia. Whilst our Aussie climate makes outdoor living fantastic (and worth spending on), it does take its toll on furniture, especially if you live near the coast.
Coastal cities like Sydney have the perfect conditions for rust (the process where iron molecules combine with oxygen in the presence of water). Okay so most places have oxygen and water, but the addition of the humidity factor means water is present a lot of the time and high temperatures and salty air act as accelerants to the rusting process making coastal Australia rust heaven!
So if you’ve bought a cheaper setting made from mild steel, rusting is inevitable. I’ve seen rust start within weeks.
So what are the alternatives?
Outdoor grade stainless steel is over 300 times more rust resistant that mild steel. This is because the chromium found in stainless steels reacts quickly with oxygen environments, to form a fine barrier that is highly durable and non-reactive. The rusting rate is less than 0,05 mm per year.
Aluminium is even better. It doesn’t rust. Don’t believe me? When last did you see rust spots on a plane? It does weather and corrode (not the same as rust!) but the resulting aluminum oxide forms a thin, hard layer that actually protects the metal from further corrosion.
Okay so now perhaps you’re thinking :
“Aluminium and stainless steel are too expensive, I’ll just get another cheap setting when mine’s rusted through”.
That’s false economy. Not convinced? Let’s do the numbers.
That $299 mild steel setting you may have bought from a chain hardware may last three years at best. The equivalent setting made from outdoor grade stainless steel would cost around $999, so three times as much but it is three hundred times more rust resistant!
So over a fifteen year period your stainless steel setting will still be going strong, but you would have bought five cheaper settings, totalling $1495 - already 50% more. The aluminium version would be holding up even better.
Buying quality is not only good for your pocket, it's good for the environment too: just think of the piles of rusting garden furniture at your local waste disposal dump. I can't remember a council cleanup that didnt have garden furniture on it!
Us Aussies, are house proud and design conscious….. so don't let the exterior let you down with worn, tatty looking patio furniture.
In a nutshell: buying quality is cheaper and better in the long run.