While corten steel may be in fashion, rust is generally not a feature you want associated with your garden, let alone your garden furniture. Unfortunately, all materials with iron in are prone to rust to some extent, even stainless steel is stainless not because the steel itself is rust-proof but because it is coated in chromium which reacts with the oxygen and moisture in the air to produce a microscopic layer that protects the underlying iron in the steel from rusting. So how to make sure that your garden furniture set doesn’t rust? Especially as garden furniture, unlike the indoor variety, is left exposed to the elements all year round?
While simply making garden furniture out of stainless steel might appear to be a good option, generally this is not done by the vast majority of manufacturers – as this puts up the price of the raw material by up to 500% as well as creating additional construction costs due to stainless steel not being as malleable as other kinds of steel or iron.
Just making your garden dining set out of stainless steel might be a bit pricey however there are many other alternatives suitable for outdoor use. At Primrose our Hectare ranges are made from powder coated steel. This provides significant durability even if left outdoors all year round, and the powder coating ensures there will be no visible rusting on the surface, meaning you will be able to enjoy your furniture year after year. As this type of steel comes with powder coating, it also means that there is no need to paint it to protect it from the elements, which is often necessary after a time to keep other types of metal garden furniture looking its best. While powder coating doesn’t guarantee no rust will occur, powder coated steel is valued as one of the best trade offs between durability, weatherability and price.
Another popular alternative is Aluminium. This material when exposed to the elements develops a thin oxide layer on the outside which protects the material from further damage. However, as with many materials, if this protective coating is scratched or dented, it does leave a space for rust to occur in the damaged area. Additionally cast aluminium, due to its lightweight construction, is often unsuitable to be kept outside as it can be blown about in strong winds, thus making damage to the furniture even more likely.
Cast iron is another popular material for garden furniture, partly because it is so heavy, as this means it is not prone to being knocked over by the wind. However of the three materials discussed here it is the most prone to rust. Being made from iron, it has a high chance of rusting if left uncovered in the elements, however much cast iron furniture is now treated with a protective spray which helps reduce this risk, and if it is painted this also helps prolong its life.
Whichever type of metal you choose for your garden furniture, it is always wise to be wary of the risk of rust occurring and look after your furniture by packing it away when not in use or covering it if this is not feasible. Stay tuned for more information on looking after metal garden furniture next week.
Charlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.
When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.