Iron furniture is built to last. Well cared for, good quality iron patio furniture can last for decades and is often handed down from generation to generation. Iron may be wrought or cast, although with the prevalence of cast aluminum furniture today, cast iron is uncommon.
Hand forging iron is a centuries old process that allows the metal to take on many shapes. Using solid round bars, the metal is heated and formed into designs ranging from traditional to contemporary and simple to ornate.
Limited only by the creator’s vision, wrought iron furniture is still popular today and there is satisfaction in owning patio furniture that was created by the human hand. Quality wrought iron is a true investment. You and your family will enjoy its rewards for many lifetimes.
Cast iron is extremely heavy and usually quite ornate. To make cast iron outdoor furniture, iron is melted to form a liquid which is then poured into a mold and allowed to solidify. Once removed from the mold, each part is welded together to create a piece of outdoor furniture.
Iron Furniture: Key Considerations
Heavy and solid, iron is well-suited for windy spots where light furniture might be blown away. Don’t expect it to be highly portable, though.
Although used throughout the world in outdoor situations, iron will rust if exposed to moisture without benefit of a protective (painted) finish. Knowing that iron patio furniture has this characteristic, it is important to buy iron furniture intended for outdoor use with a good quality powder coat paint finish.
What To Look For
- Heavy frames
- Smooth welds
- Thick, even paint
- Protective caps at the bottoms of legs
- Mesh wrought iron: little flex and clean edges where mesh meets frame
Care and Maintenance
Clean iron furniture regularly with warm soapy water and then dry it thoroughly. Wax the smooth surfaces and apply mineral or baby oil to textured surfaces. Oil springs and moving parts yearly. Immediately touch up any scratches or rust by lightly sanding the spot with a fine steel wool. Then apply several thin coats of paint, letting each coat dry well before applying the next. If you’re using a spray paint, apply with short light stokes.
Not wanting your wrought iron to sit directly on a wet surface, you will want to check the bottoms of the legs to make sure that there are protective caps (feet) on the bottom. These are plastic or nylon caps that are intended to be replaced in time. Over time, these caps will wear down from moving the outdoor furniture or simply age, which will cause them to ultimately dry out. When purchasing iron outdoor furniture you will want to ask if these parts are readily available so that you may maintain your patio furniture for long term use.
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