Wrought iron furniture has an unrivaled ability to harmonize with any decor; from rustic to avant-garde, opulent to minimalist, wrought iron pieces look as though they were designed with one purpose only, to fill the very space they presently occupy. Even slender, dainty pieces have a solid robustness about them that says I will not be ignored.
Discerning patio owners have long favored wrought iron for its endurance as well as its striking appearance. A well-built wrought iron piece is virtually indestructible, even with minimal maintenance. This is the kind of furniture that you’ll be passing on to your grandchildren.
Not all Alloys are Created Equal
Many people use the terms wrought iron and cast iron interchangeably, though these two metals have some significant differences. The distinction is actually hidden in their names.
Wrought iron is pounded and worked, or wrought, into shape:
- Smelted slowly
- More pure alloy
- Heavy and solid
- Corrosion resistant
- Textured grain
Cast iron is poured, or cast, into a mold while the iron is liquified:
- Heated quickly
- Less pure alloy
- Lighter weight
- Brittle, especially if cold
- More prone to corrosion
- Can be intricately detailed
In short, wrought iron furniture is extraordinarily durable, while cast iron is relatively delicate, and to our knowledge, is never used in the design of outdoor furniture.
This is not to imply that cast iron is “bad.” Cast iron is a fine choice in some situations. But if you’re looking for outdoor patio furniture that’s both rugged and universally stylish, wrought iron offers numerous advantages that other materials just can’t match.
Pros and Cons of Wrought Iron
Wrought iron furniture ranges from simplistic and straightforward to ornate and complex. It’s an extremely malleable material while being worked, allowing for elaborate shapes and designs while remaining strong enough to support a great deal of weight even on slender, curving legs.
Regardless of its shape or size, the advantages of wrought iron are universal:
- Durable – Wrought iron furniture can withstand the heaviest of use, even by commercial standards, for decades, or even generations.
- Heavy – Won’t tip at the slightest bump or blow away in the wind.
- Strong – Wrought iron furniture can handle any weight or size with ease.
- Resistant – Won’t fade in sunlight, stain or discolor, dent or scratch, lose its shape or otherwise deteriorate, with the sole exception of rust.
- Alluring – Looks great in any setting, fits in with any theme.
- Customizable – Simply adding new cushions or a different color finish can completely transform a piece.
Like all things, wrought iron furniture has a few disadvantages as well:
- Wrought iron absorbs the temperature around it; it may become uncomfortably hot or cold during extreme weather.
- Its weight makes wrought iron furniture less-than-ideal if you need to rearrange frequently.
- Though resistant to the elements, wrought iron furniture is not impervious to rust. The protective finish may need periodic touching up to prevent rusting.
Other than watching out for rust, wrought iron furniture requires very little regular maintenance. It’s easily cleaned with plain soap and water.
Iron might not sound like the most luxuriously comfortable seating surface, but a high-quality piece with a sculpted back and seat is easily comparable to wood, vinyl, wicker or leather, even without cushions. Some designs, such as sling chairs, have only an iron frame, with a fabric seat. Of course, lush cushions are always an option too.
A more subtle comfort factor is iron’s sturdiness, which is felt intuitively the moment you sit down. It will not bend, break, buckle, wobble, tip over or collapse. There’s no need to sit precariously on the edge of wrought iron furniture!
If you’re still concerned about the comfort quality of iron, you can always visit a local retailer and try a few out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
The Patio Furniture And Outdoor Living Blog at Today’s Patio