‘Out of the woods’ tips for furniture

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

When my husband, Scott, and I first looked at our new house, one of the biggest selling features was the outside. It has more space — both covered and exposed — than our previous home, and the views are hard to beat. However, what I have quickly learned is that often more space means more furniture as well. Luckily, our outdoor table and chairs fit nicely into the existing area, but we have room for a bench and some other items, too.

I have started browsing and am now contemplating various outdoor materials. As I weigh my options, I’m considering wooden outdoor furniture as a big contender. Here are some things to keep in mind:

• Pick a good wood. Some woods are more susceptible to rot or bug infestation and therefore require much more maintenance. Woods that are dense, like teak, contain plenty of natural oils that help to protect it. Teak, eucalyptus and shorea are all good choices that tend to be more durable than other varieties. Keep in mind that teak, although durable, will patina over time. If you do not like the look of the silvery patina, you may want to seal it regularly.

Acacia is another good choice, but remember to seal it if you plan to keep it in an area where it can get and stay damp (like in the grass). Cedar is one of the least expensive options. If you go this route, experts recommend resealing the material at least once a year. If you keep this up, they say your furniture can last up to 20 years.

• Avoid the glue. When shopping, avoid furniture that has been glued or stapled together. Instead, lo ok for stainless-steel screws, dowels and pegs or mortise-and-tenon joints.

• Be responsible. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council stamp. This will let you know that the wood used to make your furniture came from responsibly managed forests.

• Test it out. I am a big proponent of shopping online for most things. However, when it comes to furniture, I like to see, feel and test out items before committing. Think about things like weight. How often do you move furniture around? Can you move your chosen pieces easily? Consider comfort as well. If you can’t sit on that piece of wooden furniture for a long period of time, can you add a cushion?

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com.