Located on the banks of the Mississippi River and just north of the Minnesota River, Minnesota experiences humid summer months and bleak winters. These temperature extremes have a real effect on the look, characteristics, and longevity of the wood materials used in your patio spaces.
Depending on the manufacturing process, the wood used in your patio furniture will have traces of organic oils and moisture, imparting a unique look. The wood swells and shrinks with ambient temperatures. This swelling and shrinking affect the structure of the wood, making the wood lose its strength and sheen, eventually splintering. However, certain wood types fair better than others when withstanding Minneapolis’ extreme weather changes.
Choosing Materials for Your Patio
There is a myriad of options when it comes to patio furniture material, but wood tends to be a mainstay – and for many reasons. Even when the competition offers stainless steel, wrought iron, plastic, and aluminum, wood materials are more aesthetically pleasing. Patio materials made from steel may provide more strength, but they tend to be bulky and expensive. Wood materials, when properly picked and cared for, can be just as durable as steel materials.
Note that all wood materials will benefit from regular maintenance, including cleaning with a mild detergent, application of wood oil, and proper storage.
Low Maintenance Patio Furniture Materials
Northern and Western Cedar variants are used for outdoor furniture, with the raw wood being a natural insect repellent. One of the unusual properties of cedar wood is that it is very lightweight, making it the ideal material for patio furniture that will be moved a lot throughout the year.
Cedar wood is a low maintenance building material, even allowing you to skip the regular treating process typically recommended for wood preservation. When left in its natural state, you will find that Cedar will become an almost silver gray over time.
A renewable resource, Eucalyptus hardwood is high-quality and in high demand. Even though a relatively new material, it stands well against the more popular wood types, with the wood being incredibly durable with a naturally smooth finish that requires little maintenance. It is rot and decay resistant, and its unnaturally high oil content makes the wood naturally repellent to rain and sleet. It’s a versatile wood, allowing you to stain it into your favorite tones.
If you have a problem with critters making your patio experience unpleasant, then invest in patio material made from cypress. It’s a naturally insect resistant wood. One of the properties of cypress is that its structure is relatively uniform, with very little shrinking occurring throughout the changing seasons. Due to the scarcity of mature plants, cypress makes a beautiful, premium patio furniture.
Teak is considered one of the best woods for outdoor furniture, in particular for places that experience humid continental climates like Minneapolis. There’s a reason why teak is the chosen wood for boat building – its oil content makes it water repellent, and the thick, straight grained surface will prevent splintering. Patio furniture made of teak wood is the type of furniture that is given down throughout the generations.
A Word on Availability and Pricing
Keep in mind that prices for wood tend to be volatile. For example, Western Red Cedar tends to be highly available in Midwest cities like Minneapolis, lending for low costs and high availability. Your home renovation team will be able to source materials to make your ideal patio furniture.