Wood is an incredibly absorbent natural material. It will happily wick up water, moisture — and even vapor from the air — given the chance.
Thanks to woods super-absorbency, (also referred to as hygroscopicity), this material can be very vulnerable to warping. And if wood is left damp for long enough, it can even begin to rot and decay.
That’s why outdoor furniture must be made from naturally rot-resistant timber. So, where does that leave Maple wood?
Well, in this post you’ll learn what the best wood is for outdoor furniture. You’ll also discover what makes for durable outdoor lumber — as well as why Maple wood doesn’t quite fit the bill.
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What Is The Best Type Of Wood For Outdoor Furniture?
Outdoor furniture is going to be exposed to a lot of rain and humidity. So any wood used for an exterior structure needs to be decay-resistant and stable.
If it isn’t, then moisture will cause that furniture to twist and crack. Worse still, repeated wet/dry drenching cycles will cause rot to grow on that furniture.
That is why one of the best woods for outdoor furniture is Teak wood. This tough tropical hardwood is one of the most rot-resistant lumbers you can get your hands on.
And this is all thanks to its oil content. You see, Teak wood is a very oily lumber, filled to the brim with natural tree oils.
This oil acts like a wood preserving finish, preventing Teak wood from readily absorbing water and moisture. In fact, this oil is so thick, that even bugs and termites can struggle to burrow down into it.
What’s more, this water-resistant oil means that Teak wood doesn’t go through shrinkage/cracking due to drying out. This is why Teak wood is such a popular lumber choice for boats, garden furniture, and garden decking too.
Related Post: Can You Apply Lemon Oil On A Teak Wood Surface?
How About Maple? Is Maple Wood A Naturally Water-Resistant Lumber?
No, it is not. Maple wood has no natural defense against moisture. So, it is vulnerable to wood rot, decay, bugs, and insects.
What’s more, it is not a stable wood either. So, it will bend right out of shape, if it hasn’t been properly sealed.
Related Post: Is Maple Wood A Good Choice For Chainsaw Carving?
Does Maple Wood Need To Be Treated Before It Can Be Used Outside?
Even chemical treatments aren’t enough to protect Maple lumber from the great outdoors.
Wood treatments involve infusing chemical preservatives into wood. These preservatives act like a fungicide, and they prevent the bacteria responsible for wood rot, from thriving.
But, Maple wood has such a low resistance to rot, that even wood preservatives aren’t going to be enough. In short, don’t use Maple wood for any outdoor furniture.
But I Thought Maple Wood Was A Stable Wood?
Natural Maple wood is not stable at all. It may be tough, but it is warp-prone, particularly if it has not been coated with a sealant.
The only kind of Maple wood that is stable is specially treated ‘Roasted Maple’.
Roasted Maple is regular Maple wood, except Roasted Maple has been put through a super-heated process. This caramelizing treatment results in a darker and more stable version of Maple wood.
However, Roasted Maple wood still isn’t rot-resistant, so it isn’t suitable for outdoor furniture either.
So What Can You Use Maple Wood For?
Maple is fantastic for interior furniture, musical instruments, flooring and kitchen cabinets. But, it will still need to be properly finished and seal to protect it from moisture.
Nonetheless, this hardwood is plenty tough enough to last inside, if it’s well-cared for.
To Sum Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…
- 1). Outdoor furniture needs to be made from durable wood with natural rot-resistance.
- 2). Maple wood is a non-durable hardwood. It will fast succumb to wood rot and bugs if it is used to make garden furniture.
- 3). A better choice for outdoor furniture would be to use Teak wood. Especially as Teak wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects.
Hygroscopy – an overview | ScienceDirect