Here are our 5 metal garden furniture tips to help you make a selection from the large range on offer. There are many aluminium patio sets that can be bought, where the choice of design and quality can differ greatly. With so many apparently similar items on offer, it can be quite a daunting task to choose the right metal patio set when considering such key issues as value for money, zero maintenance, durability and practicality.
Avoid Cheap Metal Garden Furniture
At the cheaper end of the spectrum, the raw material used tends to be recycled waste metal that is simply ground down, heated and then pressed into the required shape using stamp forming moulds, speeding up production and reducing costs. So the first point from our metal garden furniture tips is do not buy reclaimed aluminium. Further cost cutting exercises can be achieved in these budget ranges by incorporating design features such as flat-packaging and self assembly. Needless to say, this can be very inconvenient for the consumer, but more importantly, from the design point of view, flat packed chairs do not afford the structural integrity that can be achieved by an aluminium chair, for example, that has had its various components hand welded together.
How Long Is The Guarantee?
The second piece of advise from our metal garden furniture tips is to make sure that the warranty is not too short. The first clue to achieving value for money is to look at the suppliers’ confidence in their own product, in other words the length of a product’s guarantee.
Sand Casting Is Best
For those wishing for longer lasting metal patio furniture, one should consider the materials used in construction, the assembly process and joints, and finally the finishing methods employed. In contrast to the recycled and pressed metal methods of the budget ranges, hand cast aluminium furniture is made using virgin raw material that has been melted and poured into a sand mould. The use of these traditional and skilled methods ensures that any impurities are burnt off and removed during the smelting process, and together with this natural resistance to brittleness, it also results in an aesthetically pleasing rustic finish that cannot be replicated by a machine press. Therefore from our metal garden furniture tips the third recommendation is, insist on sand casting!
Aluminium Extrusion Is Strong
Turning more specifically to other manufacturing features, it is often thought that solid aluminium table and chair legs are naturally stronger simply because of the greater density in material. On closer inspection, it is interesting to note that it is a sufficiently thick hollow leg that in fact adds strength to the overall design.
A good quality patio set should always include chair and table legs that have been extruded mechanically during manufacturing. This is a process where molten metal is accurately and continuously drawn out to produce a uniform and continuous tube which is then re-heated and cooled rapidly several times to temper the metal and increase its load bearing capabilities. A hollow feature adds to the strength as it naturally limits where stresses and therefore any potential fracture might otherwise travel, much the same way an arch will encourage forces and stresses away from the centre of the distance it spans. This is the fourth point from our metal garden furniture tips list.
High Tech Powder Coating
The finish on good quality garden furniture is also very important, as it is this very surface that will be in direct contact with the elements. Again, cheaper furniture is simply dipped in powder coating which is in turn left to dry, where as furniture that carries a five year guarantee will be more substantially treated. Employing methods that are more commonly associated with high quality metal paint finishes in the car industry for example, negatively charged powder coating is applied to the positively charged aluminium. This encourages the particles of both materials to adhere to one another, ensuring the finish does not split. This type of garden furniture can withstand both hot and extremely cold temperatures. This the final and perhaps most important consideration from our metal garden furniture tips checklist.