If you are trying to figure out what type of patio furniture you are looking for, there are loads of options that are available. Iron, wood, and plastic look very promising options, but the pros and cons make you second guess if they are right for you. Well, I am here to tell you about an alternative that is better than all the ones mentioned above: aluminum!
Aluminum has more uses than you would think, and you are probably using aluminum products without even realizing it! Their versatility and properties make them ideal patio furniture, but two types of aluminum can be made into furniture. They are extruded aluminum and cast aluminum. Read on to find out more about these types of aluminum patio furniture and see which one you will be placed on your patio next!
- There are many differences between regular (sheet or extruded) aluminum and cast aluminum due to the different manufacturing processes.
- There are still similarities between sheet or extruded aluminum and cast aluminum because the main material is still aluminum.
- Most people prefer cast or wrought iron patio furniture for aesthetic reasons, but some problems with it that put its worth in doubt.
Differences between Aluminum and Cast Aluminum
Even though the raw material for both aluminum and cast aluminum furniture is the same, the process it is made is different. So let’s see what differentiates them!
Right off the bat, the ways patio furniture is made are completely different. For normal aluminum, sheets of aluminum are first extruded (shaped) and then welded together. This welding process is usually at the joints of the furniture, for example, at the bends of a chair at the arm.
Cast aluminum is where aluminum is melted and then poured into a mold to create the furniture. There are three types of casting methods for aluminum but the ones used for furniture are known as sand casting. In sand casting, a mixture of fine sand is shaped in the form of furniture, just a bit bigger to allow for shrinking during the cooling process. Then the molten aluminum is put into the sand mold and allowed to cool to form the shape of the desired furniture. The cool thing is that the sand can be reused again so it is great for getting a consistent product!
The main reason for the difference between regular and cast aluminum is because of different manufacturing processes.
In terms of build, cast aluminum is a bit better than regular welded aluminum. This is because the molecular structure of the cast aluminum is made to be stronger in the mold. However, welded aluminum is still the flimsy, lightweight aluminum that is processed from a substance known as bauxite. Thus, the build quality of cast aluminum is much more solid while regular aluminum is more flexible.
Because of the different manufacturing processes, the weights of the two pieces of furniture will also be different. Extruded aluminum furniture is flexible because it is mostly hollow on the inside. This makes it lighter. However, as cast aluminum is made in a sand mold, the furniture would be more solid and heavier. It should be noted that aluminum is still a lightweight material compared to iron, so it would still be lightweight even if it is solid and not hollow.
Because extruded aluminum is shaped first and then welded together, it uses less aluminum than cast aluminum. The cost matters because cast aluminum uses more to completely fill up the mold. However, the extruded aluminum also has to be shaped first which brings up the cost. Overall, cast aluminum costs a bit more than extruded aluminum, but aluminum is still cheaper than other metals as furniture material.
As extruded aluminum is welded, there could be creases where water can get inside the hollow tubes and cause damage over time. There is also the problem where the welded areas can attract dust so they need to be cleaned from time to time. For cast aluminum, there are no gaps that water or dirt can get into, and cleaning and maintaining the patio furniture becomes much easier.
Aluminum is in the aviation industry, where planes have body parts made out of aluminum. That will tell you exactly how weather-resistant aluminum is. However, much like planes, patio furniture is also made from cast aluminum to make them more resistant to the weather. For extruded aluminum, it is so lightweight that a strong wind might blow it away. It is good against rain and snow, but the wind would be a big problem for extruded aluminum patio furniture.
Mobility and storage
Due to the flexible nature of extruded aluminum furniture, they are able to be stacked and moved around very easily. Cast aluminum is a little heavier so mobility might not be the issue, but storage is a bit tricky because you can really fold the furniture as it was made from a mold.
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Similarities Between Extruded Aluminum and Cast Aluminum Patio Furniture
There might be a lot of differences between extruded (normal) aluminum and cast aluminum, they are still made from the same material. This makes both types of aluminum furniture to be rust-proof. As aluminum are unreactive, they are great to withstand rain. Patio furniture made from cast iron or wrought iron is prone to rust and is more expensivehttps://backyardaim.com/how-to-waterproof-painted-wood-furniture-for-outdoors/. This makes aluminum patio furniture even better as an alternative!
Another thing that is similar between the two types of patio furniture is the fact they are very customizable. They are painted with powder coating, which uses the electrostatic component of aluminum to stick the paint. This is better than painting on the furniture as the paint will not peel or flake off, and is better against the weather, whether it is rain, sun, wind, or snow.
And because of the material, you can customize using cushions and other accessories easily. You also don’t have to worry about it getting ruined by aluminum because it is unreactive material. So be free and creative with the design of your aluminum patio furniture!
Is Cast Iron or Wrought Iron Patio Furniture Worth Getting?
A lot of people buy cast iron or wrought iron patio furniture. They are solid furniture materials that are built to last. However, unlike aluminum, iron tends to rust over time due to contact with moisture in the air. This means that you will have to take extra care to put on a protective wax on your iron patio furniture and conduct regular maintenance, especially during rainy days. They are also very heavy so once you place them somewhere, you will have to go to great lengths to move them around.
Unlike aluminum, iron furniture has to be painted on to decorate and these can peel off over time due to rain and wind. Wrought iron furniture is also expensive because of the manufacturing process. Add on top maintenance and painting fees, you will likely take a bigger hit on your wallet over time.
The good thing about aluminum is that it is rust-proof, low maintenance, as strong as iron, lightweight, and costs way less! It is also more customizable than iron which makes it a much better alternative. If you are considering buying patio furniture, then aluminum is a far better option at a lower price!
1. What are the pros and cons of aluminum patio furniture?
The pros of aluminum are that it is rust-proof, strong, lightweight, and less costly than other similar metals. However, as it is a lightweight metal it will get hot under the sun and be blown away by a strong wind. This can be easily solved by getting cast aluminum patio furniture.
2. Does aluminum patio furniture get hot in the sun?
As aluminum is metal, it will get hot under the sun so it’s better to have a cushion on top of it so the seating doesn’t get hot. However, if you move it away from the sun, it will quickly cool down.
3. Can you paint aluminum furniture?
You could paint the furniture, but it is unlikely to stay on much longer. That is why powder coating will give it a nicer finish that will last a long time. So consider getting it coated by a professional if you want to customize it.
Overall, cast aluminum is better for patio furniture than regular extruded aluminum. Their build quality is better to withstand weather changes and won’t be blown away by the wind. The cost between extruded aluminum and cast aluminum is not that much either so you are getting more for your money from cast aluminum. If you are moving and storing your patio furniture around a lot, then extruded aluminum could be a better alternative. Otherwise, your next patio furniture should definitely be made from cast aluminum!
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.