Five must-ask questions before buying outdoor furniture

Australia is a beautiful country paired with extreme weather conditions.

We all wish to enjoy the luxury of our outdoor living spaces so investing in good quality outdoor furniture that has been specifically designed to withstand our harsh climate, is essential.

Every piece of outdoor furniture you invest in should be comfortable, durable, practical for cleaning whilst also fulfilling your desired style and complimenting your home.

It is easy to be romanced into what looks fabulous in a store but you are potentially investing a substantial amount of money – and an ongoing relationship – with a brand that you must be confident in, so push for answers to these questions and check this one place for proof this furniture will last.

1. Where is the furniture made?

Always ask this question and dig deeper and ask for proof if the response is Italy, USA or similar.

It initially sounds impressive when you hear ‘Belgium designed’ or ‘Created by award-winning designer’ but, it is worth considering – if the furniture has been made in Europe (Belgium isn’t exactly renowned for their weather, nor skill in making furniture!), is it really going to stand up to our incredibly harsh climate?

The incredible weaving skill is not present in these countries, nor the beautiful teak (the only timber suitable for outdoor furniture) so the real answer is most likely Asia or China.

You are potentially investing a lot of money in their product so, if they cannot be honest about this, what else are they not being truthful about?

2. What is the warranty (by material)?

Wherever you are thinking of buying, the retailer should be able to provide you with a detailed warranty (by material) used in the creation of your furniture.

As it is outdoor furniture, you should be expecting a 5 year warranty; anything less than means the company are not convinced it is going to last.

Ask what qualifies for a replacement or a repair, what the process is and how quickly it will be resolved.

Ensure you have clear instructions on how to maintain your chosen pieces so you can look after it correctly.  You will get a good idea of how they will really respond to a claim when you press for answers.  If they are evasive or generalised with stating ‘any manufacturing fault’ beware!

3. Can you show me how to take the furniture covers off and put back on?

Getting a member of staff to show you how easy (or tricky) it is to remove a furniture cushion cover is a great test to witness what you are going to have to go through at home.  The covers should be easy to remove and not require a gym membership or multiple people!  Putting back on is just as important because this can be tough if they have not been made for this essential practicality.  If you are in our showroom, ask us – we would be very happy to show you how easy this is done with all our furniture.

4. Where is your teak from and is it certified?

The general industry reply to this question tends to be ‘A Grade’, however, this doesn’t really provide the detail you require.  Read our article on ‘Understanding Timber’ for more information.

Always ask to see the official certification for teak.  Legitimate brands will have this and proudly show this to you.

If they cannot, please do not purchase as this timber does not support and protect the planet, the wildlife or the people of that country.

5. Ask staff what they love about the brand and why should you invest.

This is a great question to ask as the reaction and response will tell you a lot!  Also ask, are there any downsides to the brand or design you are considering.  Realistically, there are pluses and minuses to everything so hearing this feedback is very useful.

And the place to look? 

Pick up a dining chair or if you are feeling agile, drop to the floor and have a good look under the furniture.

This is a hidden area where poor manufacturing cut costs and save time.  Under the furniture is reflective of the passion, attention to detail and quality control this brand stands for.  Needless to say, if you don’t like what you see, don’t buy it!

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