Whether you want to make a new outdoor wooden bench or recondition an old one, you need to use suitable wood. We usually make outdoor benches from pressure-treated cedar or pine. However, these are softwoods and need annual maintenance. You can find many other suitable types of wood to use as well.
If you want the best wood for outdoor benches, then you have come to the right place. In this post, we discuss the considerations to make for outdoor benches and then feature wood that is most suitable for making outdoor benches. So, read on to get a better grasp on outdoor benches.
If you have some outdoor space, adding benches to such areas improves the ambiance and provides a nice place for people to sit outside and enjoy a bit of fresh air, which is the most suitable wood for making outdoor benches.
Considerations for Outdoor Benches
Before we consider the wood to use, let’s take a brief look at the things you need to consider for outdoor benches.
Resistance to Rot and Insects
Any structure meant for outdoor use should consist of wood with a fair degree of resistance to rotting. The resistance levels to rot varies between different tree species. Regardless of the wood you choose for a bench, it should not be too water-absorbent.
Insects are another hazard to wooden benches. Treated woods can help get rid of insects, but they can cause some damage before the insects get affected by the chemicals in the wood. So, some natural resistance to rot and insects is desirable.
Effect of Climate
Your local climate may be wet or dry. You need to choose your wood depending on the type of local climate of your area. If you are from a location that receives a lot of rain and snow, the wood you use to make outdoor benches need to have a fair degree of resistance to water and moisture.
The Importance of Location
Where your bench is going to be located is also an important factor. You need to decide where to place your bench to make it convenient and not cause an obstruction.
Also, consider the position of the bench with reference to sunlight and the shade of the trees. Would the bench be better off on a lawn or a patio against a cabana? Again, the placement of your bench is an important factor.
Storing your Benches
It would be nice if yard season lasted all year long, but it doesn’t. The harsh winter season can be particularly harsh for outdoor benches. So when you build a bench, you also need to consider a place to store it during extreme weather.
The advantage of storing benches in a protected place during harsh weather is that the life of the furniture gets greatly enhanced.
Best Wood for Outdoor Benches
Now that we know the requirements for installing outdoor benches, we can look at the best wood for outdoor benches. Here are few types of the best wood you can use:
Ipe (pronounced as “e-pay” is a natural hardwood that is three times harder than teak. This wood is extremely long-lasting. The Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn Bridge are made of Ipe and are still standing after more than 75 years.
Ipe also shows considerable resistance to insects and does not splinter easily. It is not only scratch resistant but exhibits a natural slip resistance as well and does not soak up moisture easily. These properties make Ipe a suitable choice for outdoor benches.
Here is a wood from South America that is pleasant to look at and also durable and long-lasting. Tigerwood lasts more than 30 years if maintained properly. In addition, it shows considerable resistance to wood-boring insects, mildew, and mold and does not splinter easily.
All the above properties of tigerwood make it an ideal choice for using outdoors, like for making outdoor benches.
Cumaru wood has similar properties to Ipe. It is durable and resistant to insect attack, rot, and decay. In addition, this wood has a lovely golden-brown to reddish-brown color. Cumaru wood is readily available and is one of the cheaper wood options.
The other name for garapa is Brazilian ash. This wood has excellent properties that make it a suitable choice for making outdoor benches. It is light-yellow with a golden hue. Garapa resists insects, rot, and decay and, like tigerwood, can last for more than 30 years.
Also known as Brazilian Redwood or bullet wood, this wood exhibits more durability than California redwood. It also lasts longer and needs minimum maintenance, making it a suitable outdoor wood.
Massaranduba wood is seven times harder than California redwood, with a Janka hardness rating of 3,190. Thus, it is one of the hardest varieties of wood. Additionally, it resists decay and rot quite well, especially if you apply an appropriate sealer. If maintained properly, massaranduba wood can last more than 30 years.
You don’t need any introduction to teak. It is a universal wood that we find both indoors and outdoors. Due to its high durability, water resistance, and resistance to sunlight, teak is a suitable choice of wood to use for outdoor benches.
Teak also does not get dirty that easily and offers high resistance to insect attack due to its natural oil. The only downsides of teak are its cost and availability. Teak is an expensive wood and also quite scarce. But if you can get some genuine, legally produced teak, it will be worth spending the extra money.
Oak is a versatile choice for woodworkers, especially when it comes to outdoor applications. It is strong, durable, and has some beautiful grain patterns as well. This classic golden-brown wood will always be in fashion, indoors and outside.
You may have to apply some protective treatment to oak and cover the furniture when not in use, but generally speaking, oak is a good choice for outdoor benches.
Although this wood is softwood, it exhibits considerable resistance to the elements, making them compete comfortably with many other hardwoods. As a result, it makes Siberian larch a suitable choice for making outdoor benches.
It produces high quantities of natural oil that help to prevent insect attack, wood rot, and mold, also making it considerably water-resistant.
Another interesting characteristic of western cedar is its extremely slow growth, producing dense, strong, and scratch-resistant timber. Due to this reason, Siberian larch, although a softwood, is harder than many hardwoods.
Iroko (African teak)
We also call iroko as African teak because it is extremely similar to teak on a cellular level and in its characteristics. It is a native of the Ivory Coast, and the growth rate is extremely slow.
Iroko produces a high level of natural oil like traditional teak, making it resistant to pests, mold, fungus, and moisture. It also shares the good looks of traditional teak, so you can use it to make robust, attractive garden benches.
If you have some outdoor space, it is always a worthwhile project to build some outdoor benches. In addition, you will find several designs of outdoor furniture for your woodworking projects on the internet.
The important thing is to select the wood that you use to make your benches. As a woodworker, you need to be aware of the different types of wood available and select them.
We hope you now have sufficient information here so that you can make some robust outdoor benches that will last several years even if exposed to the elements.