Is "polywood" (recycled plastic) patio furniture worth the investment?
June 21, 2013 12:52 PM   Subscribe

We are getting a new patio soon (woo hoo) and are looking at furniture. We are in favor of using recycled materials, and we are not good at staining/storing our outdoor stuff. Someone told us about polywood (which is made from old milk jugs?) and it looks pretty sharp. All of the polywood sales sites promise 20-year or longer warranties, say that no maintenance is required, and promise that the stuff is basically weatherproof. But I'm skeptical. So, does anyone have polywood furniture? Does it perform as advertised? Is it comfy? Does it look nice? Are there any brands that are clearly better than others?
posted by AgentRocket to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Keep in mind that if you use any wood-replacing plastic composite, it tends to get REALLY HOT in the sun. Like...super-hot. Regular plastic furniture can get like this, but the thicker stuff tends to feel like lasagna fresh from the oven.
posted by xingcat at 1:12 PM on June 21, 2013

I have a green recycled plastic bench from By the Yard that faded to not-as-green a lot faster than I hoped. But it is indestructible, even sitting on my porch uncovered through six Minnesota winters. I would recommend wholeheartedly, but darn they are expensive.
posted by lstanley at 2:04 PM on June 21, 2013

You know what's even more recycled than buying something new-made-from-recycled-materials? Buying something used-made-from-anything!

Have you given any thought to hunting down some old metal postwar lawn chairs? A friend of mine has a big pile of them, and they're totally comfy and sturdy. They'll last through any heat, and if properly constructed, won't rust. You can paint them to match whatever tables/flamingos you might already have.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:26 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I grew up with some that are wood colored... Parents have had them for 10+ (15+?) years in a climate with four seasons. I don't know the brand, but definitely it was sturdy and pretty comfy.
posted by ista at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2013

I've looked at a lot of this material, but mainly with regard to its use as a substitute for timber decking rather than furniture. The main thing I've found is that the medium to long term structural integrity and appearance varies dramatically between various products that are available. There seems to be some correlation between cost and longevity from what I can see.

I'm very dubious about long-term warranties on this stuff. It hasn't been around long enough that anyone really knows for sure how durable it is and my cynical mind has me strongly believing that the manufacturers are relying on few enough people keeping a piece of furniture for 20 years, keeping the receipt for 20 years and being bothered to make a warranty claim anyway that they could offer any warranty period they like with little to no chance of having to honour it.
posted by dg at 5:12 PM on June 22, 2013

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