Outdoor Tables – Considerations and Precautions

A table is a versatile piece in the home. A flat surface, it lends itself to functionality, allowing you to work, play, or just sit and rest your head. When sitting outside on a patio, or in your back yard, a table is no less useful. However the force of the elements means that you have to take special precautions when choosing a piece for this location.

An outdoor table has a lot more to deal with in terms of decay and degradation than an indoor piece. Not only do you have the rain, and the snow, and sleet, and hale, but you also have the sun constantly beating down on it, fading its colors, as well as the wind constantly blowing it, attacking it a little, every second of the day.

There are also social aspects to consider. Being outdoors makes people feel exuberant, especially children. This can cause people to climb on outdoor furnishings, or treat them a little more physically than they would with indoor pieces. For all of these reasons it is important to purchase a table which can withstand all of these elements, and still look attractive and be functional for years to come.

One thing most people don’t consider when purchasing a table is how the piece will weather over time. This is the most common mistake which leads to the purchase of plastic outdoor tables. She the plastic wont fall apart when it gets wet… it will even last for years against the worst of natures elements. But what you aren’t taking into account is how the plastic will age. Over time, the material will begin to stain. Its façade will discolor, and its hues will fade in the sun. Within a year your beautiful plastic outdoor table can start to look like something that was rescued from a trash heap.

Wood is a bit of a double edged sword when used in an outdoor table. If you just use a regular indoor wooden table, it will look terrible after a few weeks, and will completely fall apart shortly afterwards. That’s because indoor tables aren’t treated to withstand the elements, and so the wood becomes warped at the first sign of rain or snow. Over time the warping will lead to the wide scale degradation of the entire piece.

Most outdoor wooden tables however have been treated against the elements, either with a chemical sealing agent, or through the use of durable pressure treated woods. These precautions allow the table to repel moisture, maintaining the integrity of the wood.

Over time the wood will weather… which means that it will wear down to some extent, but because the moisture will be repelled, the material will take on an aged, antiqued look. In this way it will slowly evolve into a classic

Another table top material that will age over time is natural stone. It will also require a chemical sealant, however once applied, the stone will tend to take on an antique look over time as well, matching the appearance of great works of classic architecture.

As long as you pay attention to the properties of the material in your outdoor tables, you should be able to find something that perfectly fits your needs.