What you should know about cast aluminum outdoor furniture:
Cast aluminum is the material of choice today for outdoor furniture – it’s light, rustproof and beautiful. Why is there such a tremendous range of prices among different brands?
For the same reason that there is a big range in anything – differences in quality.
High-quality cast aluminum is made of 100% virgin aluminum – which means that there is no added “junk metal” or previously used aluminum. This makes for a stronger frame, and one that will hold its finish a lot better. In addition, cheaper cast aluminum furniture will have a much more durable finish – typically a thicker primer and topcoat(s), and often a UV-inhibitor to protect the finish from sunlight-induced fading.
There will also be differences in the cushions – better furniture will have solution-dyed acrylic fabric that will not fade like cheaper cottons and polyesters. Additionally, the interior padding of a better quality cushion will hold its shape and “bounce” much better than a cheap one, as well as providing superior drainage for faster drying-out after a rain.
Besides the inherent quality differences, also be aware that mass merchants typically change fabrics (and sometimes frame colors and styles) every year, so that it can be exceedingly difficult to replace a damaged cushion or chair with a matching one. Parts, such as plastic feet, grommets and bolts, can also be hard to acquire from a mass merchant in future years. Before you buy, make sure that you have insured that you can service your purchase. Would you buy a car if you were unsure of what repair services would be available to you?
So, as with any purchase, shop carefully and ask lots of questions. You’ll be glad you did!