The days of choosing outdoor furniture as an afterthought is long gone. With advancement in technology and designs from the world’s top product designers to choose from, it is more important than ever to make sure that you are making the best selection available to you.
Although the selection process can be overwhelming with many different options available, choosing well can be simple if you stick to certain recommendations. The most important factors are choosing the best raw materials for outdoor use, made according to highest specifications and quality.
We turn to Albert, quality control specialist of Tribù for his technical knowledge on what to look out for.
Q: What materials are the top raw materials for outdoor use?
There are many different materials suitable for outdoor use, but you should always choose the right quality and be sure to maintain & protect your furniture in the right way (use the specified cleaning products and very importantly, give the product time to work before you rinse it).
Q: When choosing furniture made out of each of these materials, what specifications can I look at to be sure that it is the best quality?
- Aluminium: Aluminium should be cast under high pressure and should always have a double powder coating. First, an epoxy primer that seals the Aluminium to avoid contamination with external structures is applied. Then, a structured polyester coating which makes the furniture more scratch resistant and easier to clean is applied as a finish.
- Stainless Steel: 316 Marine quality Stainless steel is the best. If you are using the furniture near a swimming pool or beach, you should always ensure that the stainless steel is electropolished too. Electropolishing makes the surface super smooth, preventing dirt from attaching to the surface.
- Teak: Choose A-grade (nearly no knots ) plantation teak > has nice long trunks because the branches are cut off. The way the wood is dried is also very important. It should be slowly dried in a kiln dry oven to 12% relative humidity (takes 6 weeks to 3 months depending on the thickness of the wood). The result is stable wood, ideal for the outdoor furniture environment.
- Wovern yarn/Synthetic weave: Should always be a combination of a core material that gives strength and stability (Tribù uses polyester) and an outer material for the aesthetics which also has a good UV resistance.
- Ceramic: the best quality is ceramic glued on glass. During the lamination process, glass cools down quicker than the ceramic which gives the surface a convex shape, necessary for good rain draining ability.
- Fabrics: UV resistance is very important. Tribù does real-time testing in 3 places over the world (Belgium, USA and Indonesia) and we do tests in an UV accelerator simulator to ensure superior UV performance is achieved.
Q: What should I look at when inspecting outdoor furniture for quality?
- Good comfort often guarantees good quality. At Tribù we emphasize superior comfort levels. Make sure the back is slightly bend to give good back support, armrests are at the right height and lean on the back legs. If the chair is unstable, this is not a good sign.
- Always check if allowance is made for water to drain from the furniture. This way, your furniture will dry quicker and dirt will be washed away. Table surfaces should have a slight convex shape and seats should have a slight slope.
- Make sure that all connections should close securely.
- Check if weaves stay in place when in use. Tribù discreetly fastens all weaves to frames to prevent unwanted movement.
- If you are buying cushions, ask about the type of filling. Tribù only uses outdoor resistant filling that can stay outside even during periods of rain. We use 2 types of filling: dryfoam or water-repellent fillings. Dryfoam fillings have an open cell structure so air can circulate freely. Water passes through the filling but dries quickly thanks to the large open pores, substantially inhibiting fungal growth. Water-repellent fillings have a cover in a laminated, water-repellent polypropylene material which prevents water from penetrating. The thread used to stitch the seams swells when getting wet, preventing water from penetrating through the seams. On top of that, the seams are protected on the inside with an extra covering. If nevertheless water should penetrate, the material is breathable, letting moisture out to prevent mold.