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The most important consideration when choosing an outdoor rocking chair is the materials from which the chair is made. Several types of metals or woods can be used to build an outdoor rocking chair, but not all materials will be rugged, long-lasting, and attractive. Be sure to consider high quality woods that are resistant to water damage and bug infestations, such as cedar or teak. If you want a metal outdoor rocking chair, consider a rugged metal like iron that has been painted or coated with a waterproof coating, or steel that has been coated or galvanized.
Above all, the outdoor rocking chair should be comfortable, strong, and attractive. The chair is likely to sit in a highly visible part of the yard, such as a front porch or patio, so look for attractive designs and materials. Cedar and teak are both naturally beautiful woods: cedar is a reddish-brown color, while teak can take on more of a yellow hue. The downside to these woods is that they are both fairly expensive, more so than cheaper lumber, but they will last a long time even when exposed to the elements, and will require little maintenance. The attractiveness of the woods is enough to make it a worthwhile investment.
Be sure the outdoor rocking chair is well-built. The chair will sit outside, often exposed to the elements, which means shoddy construction or sub-par materials can mean the chair will degrade or fall apart after a short period of time. Check the joints where different parts of the rocking chair meet, and make sure they are connected solidly; metal should be welded properly, and wood should be glued, screwed, nailed, tacked, or otherwise secured in such a way that the joints are strong and attractive.
Consider different rocker designs as well. The traditional style of rocking chair features curved feet on which the chair will rock, while other more modern outdoor rocking chair designs feature a base with pivoting arms that connect to the body of the rocker. If you are looking for a more rustic, traditional look, go with a wood rocking chair designed in the traditional manner. If comfort, function, and modern aesthetics take precedence over tradition, choose a more modern design that will perhaps accommodate more than one person.
Remember that exposure to the elements will mean the materials of the rocking chair can break down quickly. If you choose metal for your outdoor rocking chair material, make sure it is resistant to water damage. Galvanized steel is a good choice for such applications. Cedar and teak are both resistant to water damage as well as bug infestations; if these woods cost more than you want to pay, consider pressure-treated lumber.
@spotiche5- I know exactly what type of rocking chair you are referring too, and I agree that this material does look very much like real wood. I also like the fact that it does not wear like wood.
However, if you are going for a more modern look for your outdoor furniture, I think that metal rockers are perfect for this type of decor. They also hold up nicely after being in the elements, though they may need updated paint after several seasons.
I have outdoor rocking chairs that are made of a strong plastic material that has the appearance of wood. The chairs look great, and withstand the elements very well.
Unlike outdoor rocking chairs that are constructed of real wood, those that are made of this type of plastic material do not wear and splinter after several seasons of wind, sun, and rain. They are also not as expensive as rockers that are made of hard wood. In addition, most home improvement stores carry a variety of outdoor rocking chairs made of different materials so you can compare and contrast what is best for you. I would recommend those made of the durable, plastic material though.
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