Wood in outdoor furniture

There are few materials that are pleasing to the sight and to the touch, like wood. This natural and warm material, the courtyard is no exception. This living material harmonizes and ages like everything organic and, therefore, interacts strongly with its environment.

Lounge 1-3, material Tzalam
Photography: Juan Gabriel Peón

The choice of outdoor wood furniture, whether on a roofed terrace or not, a pool or a garden, should be carefully chosen, as they will be exposed to sun and moisture. Both, enemy elements of this material.

Wooden sofa
Photography: Pexels.com

The extreme conditions of the Yucatan climate, force us to be more careful when using wood outside, since ultraviolet rays are aggressive, as well as the relative humidity of the environment. Since wood is a hygroscopic materials, its volume changes changes per the amount of water it absorbs or dislodges, in relation of the place’s relative humidity where it is found, causing distortions, such as a cracks, buckling, shrinking, etc. In order to avoid them, the wood must be dry, that is, with a moisture content ranging between 10 and 15%. In this wat, you can have a mechanical and dimensional control of the material. Not all materials are resistant to sun exposure, moisture, and the attack of insects and organisms.

Wooden table and bench

In the region, there are species whose characteristics make them stable and resistant, and therefore, suitable for outdoor furniture usage, their choice depends mainly on the product’s design. These can be soft like our cedar (Cedrela odorata) and our mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) or hard as the machiche (Lonchocarpus castilloi) and the jabin (Piscidia piscipula), among others. Teak (Tectona grandis), native to the East Indies, is incomparable for outdoor use, due to its great stability, self-lubrication, lightness and easy machining. In the design and manufacture of benches, chairs, sun beds or tables, it is essential to consider that joints and assemblies must be articulated to resist the material’s movements, caused by their exposure to climatic elements, it is convenient to allow the wood to work freely without straining.

Armchair with arms
Photography: Juan Gabriel Peón

“Wooden furniture in exterios requires three fundamental elements: the choice of suitable wood, a design that considers the characristics of the material and a constant maintenance.”

To keep the furniture in good condition, a coating is required to help them maintain their color, hydrate them and protect them from water. For this purpose, it shouldn’t be used products that form a rigid fil, because they will break with the movement of the wood fibers.

The frecuency in the application of these products depends on their quality. To prolong the life of outdoor furniture, it is convenient to cover them using acrylic textiles, specially designed to resist; using them in upholstery or as complete linings, they work as ideal covers when the furniture is not in use and during the worst hours of the day.