When you envision the perfect setting for an outdoor event, there’s a good chance a wrought iron bistro set features somewhere in your imagination.
For centuries, this material has been favored for its toughness and classical appearance, and choosing wrought iron patio furniture for any open-air space is considered a smart move.
Is wrought iron good for patio furniture?
There are many benefits to using wrought iron for patio furniture including its heftiness, durability, and classical look that can be as intricate or bold as its design calls for.
However, it can also be more expensive and is heavy to move, so it might not be the right fit for every patio.
If you’re on the search for the perfect patio furniture and have always loved wrought iron as a material, it makes sense to consider it.
This guide walks you through everything you need to know about it and how to know if it matches the style and practicality requirements of your future patio furniture.
What is Wrought Iron?
Wrought iron is a popular material used for outdoor furniture, and it’s characterized but a fibrous or slightly bumpy surface and appearance.
This unique iron is known for being dense, strong, and malleable, and it gets stronger each time it’s melted down and reworked. Its name, wrought, means worked, as it can be melted and made into any shape possible.
The composition of wrought iron is predominantly iron but with just 1% of something called ‘slag’, which consists of silicon, phosphorous, sulfur, and aluminum oxides.
Once heated to the right temperature, the iron is removed and worked with a hammer or other blunt instrument to mold it into the final shape.
Wrought iron was commonly used in the 19th century as a building material, but today, it’s more commonly seen on patio furniture, art and design works, and other decorative pieces.
Most of the outdoor furniture is covered with a powder coating which adds to its durability and weather resistance but also gives manufacturers the chance to create a wider range of colors and finishes.
The Benefits of Iron Pieces
There are many good reasons why wrought iron patio furniture is such a popular choice, and not just the fact that it’s been around for centuries.
If you’re weighing up options for materials for your patio furniture and wrought iron is on your mind, you’ll want to know what it offers above the competition:
Having heavy furniture might not be a plus for every patio but if you want something that’s going to stay put in high winds, wrought iron is the way to go.
Its solid feel and heavy weight make it good for windy weather so if your home is prone to strong gales, you can be guaranteed it’ll never move.
You never have to give a second thought to your wrought iron patio furniture, whether there’s a snowstorm outside or you have a group of rowdy teenagers partying up at your house.
The material can take a beating and will hold up in all kinds of weather, so it’s a stress-free type of furniture you never have to think about.
A good piece of wrought iron furniture can last more than 25 years on your patio if you take the steps to protect it.
Although they’re expensive to invest in initially, the long term rewards will be worth it, and it’s a piece of furniture that won’t lose its value or looks any time soon.
Rust and corrosion-resistant
Patio furniture must be able to stand up against the elements and if you want something that will never rust or corrode, a powder-coated wrought iron piece is the way to go.
Although iron on itself is defenseless against rust, the addition of a powder coating helps, and as long as you’re taking care of it, you’ll never face this problem.
Timeless and elegant look
Wrought iron furniture has been used for centuries, long before patios were even a thing in the average home.
The simple addition of one of these bistro sets or a garden bench made of wrought iron adds a romantic touch and looks more expensive than most of the other outdoor furniture materials on the market today.
Variety of designs
The malleable nature of wrought iron means it can be molded in just about any shape your heart desires.
When it comes to patio furniture, you can have intricate details, bold lines, and romantic curves, or even all three on one piece.
This flexibility in design allows just about patio décor to find a match with wrought iron furniture.
Is Wrought Iron Right For Your Patio?
With all of its advantages, there are some things to be mindful of with wrought iron that could make it a mismatch for your patio.
First and foremost, it’s one of the more expensive options for patio furniture out there, and might not be accessible to everyone.
There are cheaper types of iron available, however, these come with fewer benefits than the real deal.
Those living in hot climates or with a patio that’s more exposed to the sun might not find wrought iron a good fit either, due to its heat-retaining abilities.
Just an hour in sunlight is enough to make this material hot to the touch and if you’re trying to cool off and relax, it might not be the most comfortable place to sit.
Wrought iron has more of a classic look, but that doesn’t mean it needs a classical style patio to fit in.
Depending on the décor of your outdoor space, you can pretty much guarantee that a wrought iron piece will fit in, or stand out, whatever you choose, so don’t let this stop you from considering the classic material.
Another point to note is that the heavier feel of this metal makes it harder to carry, and thus the furniture won’t be easily transported.
While this might work for a garden setting or something you plan on keeping permanently in place, if your goals for a patio include moving pieces around to suit the upcoming event, wrought iron is likely going to be too heavy.
Ongoing Care and Maintenance
No matter how durable or reliable wrought iron is when used as patio furniture, it still requires a little bit of care and maintenance.
As an important investment, learning how to take care of your furniture will pay off with great dividends, and the simplest way to do this is to wash it every few months with a mild detergent and water mixture.
For further protection, you can use an automotive car wax and apply a coating to your furniture just as you would your car.
This will protect it from rain damage, bring back its original shine, and keep dirt and debris from building up on it.
When you start to notice chips or scratches in the powder coating of your patio furniture, you can use some medium sandpaper and sand off these rough spots.
Once clean, apply another coat of paint that closely resembles the finish, and it’ll blend in without being noticeable to the naked eye.
In addition to the ongoing care and cleaning, you should keep your patio furniture covered when required.
This doesn’t mean putting something over it every night, but just during the week if you only use it on weekends, or covering it up if you go away on vacation.
Some people even store their patio furniture away completely during winter and keep it indoors, which is another great way to ensure its longevity.
Add-ons and Accessories for Wrought Iron Furniture
To make the most of your wrought iron pieces, there are some accessories and add-ons you might like to consider.
Depending on the furniture you have and the unique requirements of your patio, any of these might help to enhance their usability.
Wrought iron is renowned for its strength but it still needs to be protected if it’s left outside for longer periods.
If you plan on having a break from the patio or winter is coming and you won’t be using it, a simple chair cover is cheap to purchase but can keep your furniture in good condition for years.
It’s great to enjoy your outdoor space in good weather but sometimes, a large umbrella might be required.
When dealing with wrought iron especially, you’ll want to keep your table covered from the sun, as well as your guests, so it doesn’t heat up too much for them.
Using heavier furniture made of wrought iron means you have to protect the ground underneath, and this is true for everything from pavers to a more sensitive wooden deck.
Some carefully placed felt pads at the bottom of each chair and table leg can prevent scratching and dents which are common with heavy pieces like this.
Any wrought iron chairs should be equipped with at least a cushion on the base and possibly one on the backrest.
This will soften the harshness of the metal and also protect your legs and backside from burning.
As wrought iron has good heat retention, it warms up at the slightest hint of sunlight and can create quite a shock to sit on without warning.
Metal protection product
There are products made specifically for metal furniture like wrought iron patio pieces, and you can apply them once a year or so for extra protection.
These are especially helpful if you live somewhere with excess humidity, lots of moisture, or by the ocean, as it will keep them rust-free more effectively than in their natural state.
If you have green goals for your patio, the addition of some creeping vines to cover your wrought iron pieces is an easy way to do it.
This durable material thrives with living greenery growing on it and it can add some much-needed nature to the concrete space.
A Timeless Choice for Any Patio
Wrought iron has become one of the most renowned and beautiful choices in patio furniture materials, and there are so many ways to put it to use in your open-air space.
One thing is for certain, though, choosing wrought iron patio furniture will leave you with a timeless piece, and a material that seems as if it were made just for enjoying the outdoors.
The material and construction of your patio furniture are even more important than how it looks, and with something like wrought iron in the mix, you’re guaranteed a quality product.
If you still want to learn more about choosing the right stuff for your patio, we’ve answered a few FAQs that can give you a push in the right direction.
Can I Leave Patio Furniture Out in Winter?
Patio furniture is designed for outdoor use and this includes the colder months, but you might still need to take added precautions to keep it protected during this time.
For colder climates, covering your patio furniture and moving it away from areas where it will be exposed to rain or snowfall is best.
Should I Cover My Patio Furniture Every Night?
A cover on your patio furniture can protect it against the elements but it’s usually not required every night unless stated by the manufacturer or left in an exposed area.
With materials like wrought iron and aluminum, these outdoor furniture pieces are okay to be left uncovered on the patio, but during colder seasons when they’re not being used, a cover could be key to their longevity.