Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 28, 2021

Wooden table and chairs on a patio

Choosing the best wood for outdoor furniture depends on the specific weather conditions of your area, the type of tools you will use and the budget available. Before you start building, it’s important to think about these three factors to ensure the durability and success of your project. Our guide helps you determine the best type of wood to create the outdoor furniture that you’ve always dreamed of.

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Best Types of Wood for Outdoor Furniture


Featuring a beautiful golden sheen, teak is the best all-around for outdoor furniture. Its tight grain repels water, so you never have to worry about shrinkage or swelling with this species. Therefore, it’s the best wood for outdoor cabinets with doors and drawers that remain the same size throughout the seasons.

Teak is also incredibly strong, which means that it also ages well and retains its color nicely. Its natural oils also prevent insect invasions better than most other woods. All these qualities make teak the best all-around wood for outdoor furniture, but also the most expensive.


At a lower price point than teak, shorea is a plentiful hardwood that grows abundantly in the Pacific Rim. This makes it affordable and popular for outdoor furniture. Because it holds up well to harsh weather and is insect-resistant, shorea is the best wood for Adirondack chairs. Its color fades gracefully to gray over time, unless you treat it with teak oil on an annual basis.


The vibrant and look of redwood is one of the reasons why this species is so popular for outdoor furniture. It is a naturally UV-resistant softwood which keeps it from fading. It’s less likely to shrink or warp but can be prone to scratches and dents. When protected with a coat of clear sealer, redwood is the best wood for stylish outdoor benches. However, redwood trees are in limited supply and grow slowly, which results in a heavy price tag.


This is a type of softwood that fades beautifully but is easy to ding or dent. It provides excellent moisture resistance and fades beautifully with sunlight. Lightweight by nature, it is the best wood for garden bench slats since it allows for easy moving and rearranging. Cedar also paints and stains very well, to match other furniture in your home. Estimate the cost of painting your furniture to prevent its soft grain from becoming rough overtime.


The most inexpensive wood for outdoor furniture also happens to be the most resistant to the sun’s UV rays. Though rugged, acacia is prone to rotting when left on wet ground. Therefore, it’s the best wood for a porch swing. Before starting your project, it’s important to keep in mind that acacia is rigid and can be tough to sand. Choose the best type of tools for this type of wood to make the work easier on yourself.

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How to Choose the Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture

Regardless of personal preferences or what you plan to build, the main characteristic when looking for the most durable wood for outdoor furniture is strength. Furniture that will live outdoors must be hardy in order to endure the elements, resist rotting and prevent pests.


Weather plays an important factor in the durability of your outdoor furnishings. Some types of wood are better able to withstand rain and water, while others are best suited to resist the harshness of UV rays.

Wood Type Water Resistance Sun Resistance
Teak High High
Shorea High Medium
Redwood High High
Cedar High Low
Acacia Low High

Woodworking Style

Some woods are naturally stronger than others. Be sure to choose a wood species that works well with the type of tools that you will use for your project. Otherwise, you may end up with dents or unwanted splitting.

Wood Type Strength
Teak Hardwood
Shorea Hardwood
Redwood Softwood
Cedar Softwood
Acacia Hardwood


The price of different types of woods is reflective of their desirability. Some species are also more abundant than others, and this is also a determining factor when it comes to cost.

Wood Type Price Range
Teak High
Shorea Medium
Redwood High
Cedar Medium
Acacia Low

Use our furniture building cost guide to make sure that your furniture project stays within your desired budget.

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What wood is most weather resistant?

Naturally resistant woods include teak, shorea and redwood. They rot less over time and can handle weather changes better than others.

What wood lasts longest?

Cedar wood is the most durable. It can last 20 or more years without showing decay or warping. Other long-lasting woods are teak and white oak.

How long does wood last outside?

Untreated woods can show signs of aging in two years or less. The exact durability of the wood will depend on factors such as sunlight, temperature ranges, water exposure and contact with the ground.

What is the best wood for a picnic table?

Cedar is a functional and affordable wood that is good for picnic tables. It does well in the outdoors and is lightweight, but its soft quality makes it more susceptible to dings.

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