Very few materials can be made into furniture that is as attractive as it is long wearing. Many materials require sacrificing endurance for good looks, or compromising style for durability. Wrought iron furniture gives you both in a unique combination of elegance and ruggedness.Wrought iron has been used for centuries in applications requiring strength and permanence. Today wrought iron is used in appealing patio furniture that stands the test of time. Available in classic, transitional and contemporary styling, wrought iron furniture is a smart choice, not just for the patio, but for the porch, deck and lawn.
Not all wrought iron furniture is created the same, though. When it is made well, wrought iron furniture can last a lifetime. It will withstand rigorous daily use and exposure to the harshest weather. When it's not made well, it will likely not make it into the next season without corroding.
Armed with a little knowledge, selecting the perfect set can be easy. Here are a few pointers that will help you identify quality wrought iron furniture:
- Coating is crucial. If not properly coated, iron will oxidize and rust when exposed to water and air. It is imperative that wrought iron be adequately protected during the manufacturing process. Quality wrought iron furniture follows a laborious, multi-step process to prevent oxidation, beginning with a wash and chemical treatment, followed by an epoxy primer protective undercoat, and finished with a thick polyurethane powder coating. Inferior wrought iron offers very little protection, and often is merely treated with a coat of spray paint.
- Welding matters. Manufacturers of quality wrought iron furniture take important additional steps to prevent moisture from causing rust by applying full-circumference welds wherever iron components intersect. Craftspersons then grind and sand the welds for a seamless transition. Rough, shoddy welding is never seen in quality wrought iron furniture.
- It's no lightweight. Go ahead, heft it. Good wrought iron furniture is solid and heavy. Quality wrought iron furniture can often be immediately distinguished from lightweight, price-focused imports by its substantial weight alone.
- Comfort is key. While it's substantial, it is also comfortable. In fact, quality wrought iron furniture is designed with relaxation in mind. Each piece is hand-formed to provide the utmost in comfort, something mass-produced imports cannot come close to matching.
- Promises made, promises kept. The talented artisans who make quality wrought iron furniture take pride in their work, and they stand behind it. It's typical to find a five or seven-year warranty on these well-made pieces, but do not be surprised to find some warranties that extend to 20 years.
- Kettler, a company that began in Germany in 1949 and now has manufacturing and distribution centers in the United States;
- Woodard, in business for over 140 years, which today uses generations-old techniques in harmony with high-tech manufacturing processes; and
- OW Lee, an Ontario, California-based company that began in 1947 making custom wrought iron gates for Hollywood mansions.
Choosing leisure furniture from any of the above manufacturers will ensure that you are buying the very best and avoiding costly mistakes.
Now that you know what to look for, all that remains is deciding on the style of quality wrought iron patio furniture that suits you best. Whichever style you choose, you may rest assured that you are selecting a durable, lasting product that will retain its good looks throughout the seasons for many years to come.
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Loaded with important information about the different types of patio furniture materials and styles as well as great style tips from our team of designers, you'll find everything you'll need to help you create your own backyard escape. As an added bonus, we've also included a useful checklist that you can complete and take with you when you go shopping for patio furniture.
Trying to identify antique or vintage patio furniture?
While we are always interested in helping readers with vintage or antique furniture questions, unfortunately, it isn't really our specialty and our knowledge is limited. We've listed 2 resources below if you have questions about antique or vintage furniture identification or appraisal.