Picture this- you live in a very rainy area and a sunny day is a rare commodity. Today, the weather is perfect. It’s a picturesque summer afternoon.
You rush to the patio with your favorite book and a cold glass of ice tea.
As you are about to sit on your wooden chair and it suddenly snaps! Your dreams of enjoying a nice leisurely afternoon are shattered. Sounds terrible, right?
That’s exactly what may happen if you don’t choose weather-resistant wood for your furniture that is going to be exposed to moisture frequently. Don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of woods that are fit to take on the world.
But, before we take a look at the ideal lumber for your patio furniture, we need to understand how rain affects your wooden items.
How Does Rain Affect Wooden Items?
So, what exactly happens to wood when it is exposed to moisture? Why did your chair snap in the hypothetical scenario we have made? Let’s take a look at the science of it all.
Lumber cannot contain any more than 30% moisture in it. This is the upper limit. Since most woods contain around 20-30% already, you should make sure that the rain makes minimal contact with your furniture.
Fortunately, the types of wood we are going to mention don’t soak up or absorb moisture that easily. So, you don’t have too much to worry about. You will need to do some maintenance nonetheless.
What happens when moisture gets beyond the aforementioned 30%? You see, when the wood is part of a tree, the cell naturally contains a lot more moisture than 30%. When it is cut, the moisture dries out and it is then processed.
When it makes contact with the moisture again, it may absorb it and this will cause it to swell. As it dries up again, it will shrink. This constant change in size will cause some warping and cracks to form. That will make the wooden item look significantly worse.
Another thing you need to worry about is the formation of fungi. You may have heard of these organisms. These are dangerous for your wood as they eat away your furniture and cause it to rot.
This is yet another reason you should opt for weather resistant lumber, as fungi thrive in the presence of oxygen and moisture.
What Kind Of Lumber Is Good For Rainy Weather?
It is important to note that no wood is going to give you complete protection against rain. All woods absorb some amount of moisture. It’s just part of their nature. The only way you can combat it or slow down this process is through some treatment. Anyway, we’ll get to that later.
Nonetheless, these 10 kinds of wood absorb a minimal amount of moisture and get impacted least by the moisture. This makes them excellent options for your patio furniture.
Straight off the bat, we have a pretty expensive wood. Ipe, also known as Brazilian Walnut. As you can probably tell from the name, this wood is shipped right in from Brazil, which makes it quite difficult to find sometimes.
Along with that, it is also a tad bit on the expensive side. However, you will be rewarded for taking the time to track this wood down and making a significant investment, as this is one of the finest woods when it comes to moisture resistance.
A testament to its resilience is the fact that it has a Janka hardness of 3,510 lbf. This is so hard that it makes the material hard to work with without some high-quality machinery.
If you are planning to craft your wooden items- unfortunately, this is not a viable option for you.
There are so many songs and poems written about how beautiful this material is and for good reason. Mahogany is a sight to behold. You’d be hard-pressed to find materials that rival the appeal of its rich reddish-brown hue.
However, Mahogany is going to set you back a little bit in terms of utility. Again, we think it’s going to be money well spent as you find a nice balance between aesthetics and utility.
In terms of utility, this water-resistant wood earns its stripes with an impressing resistance to shrinking and swelling. You won’t have to worry about cracks and warping affecting the looks of your furniture.
Another great thing about Mahogany is the fact that you can mold it pretty easily. It is agreeable to a DIY project.
This is a really solid option if you are in the market for a wooden item that will last through the years. This is arguably the most weather resistant wood.
If your furniture or showpieces are made of this material, the rain won’t do much damage to them. Teak is so reliable against moisture that, it is even used to make ships and for a large variety of construction purposes.
What makes it even more durable is the fact- fungi and other organisms can’t get to this wood. This item is also unaffected by insects and termites. That makes Teak an ultra-durable option.
Here is the thing- Cedar is a softwood. It’s just like how it sounds. These types of wood are not the sturdiest options. In other words, you should not use them for purposes that require a lot of strength.
To put things into perspective, this wood has a Janka strength of 350 lbf. Remember how strong Ipe was? 3510 lbf. That’s right, it is 10 times weaker than its Brazilian counterpart.
But, don’t let this lack of strength take anything away from this great material. It is still an excellent option for rainy weather. It won’t rot or form mold easily. The only downside is there going to be some mild shrinkage and swelling.
On the plus side, its soft nature means that you can easily mold it to whatever shape you want to.
This item is expensive but effective at the same time. Well, this may be a bit misleading. You see, this depends on what type of Redwood we are talking about.
Certain types of Redwood won’t break the bank, but the ones that can stand the test of the elements can cost quite a lot.
Both Heartwood Redwood and California Redwood are two such types. They are very effective against moisture. You can rest assured that this wood won’t rot or face any warping soon.
The aesthetics are also really nice for this wood. Believe it or not, the color of this wood is close to red. Furniture made with this material looks classy and refined.
Moreover, it’s easy to work with. You can easily make any item you need with this wood at home.
6. White Oak
Just like Professor Oak doesn’t seem to age, his namesake is equally ageless. Oak is one of the most durable types of water resistant wood you can purchase on the market. Before we talk about its moisture-resistant qualities, let’s talk about its raw strength.
With a Janka strength of 1350 lbf, there are not a lot of utilities that elude this sturdy material. What’s surprising about this strength is that Oak is also quite malleable. You can craft oak items at home by hand too.
Much like the other types of wood on this list, Oak can hold its own against a fair bit of moisture. It won’t rot or have any warping. For these reasons, this is one of the favorite materials of boat builders.
Much like the previous material, this too strikes the perfect balance between strength and malleability. That is why it is one of the go-to choices when it comes to furniture-making.
You must have some Walnut items around your home. Most furniture out there is made of this material. Why wouldn’t they be? Not only is it really easy to work with, but the durability is also no laughing matter.
On top of that, the color also lends itself to any aesthetic you are planning to have. The dark chocolatey color fits every palette.
The only downside to this type of material is that you need to do a fair bit of maintenance to keep it in tiptop form.
8. Black Locust
Although Black locust sounds like a cool death metal band name, it is the name for a super-strong type of wood. It has nothing to do with locusts either. The only relation we can think of is that- it is very durable against all times of insects.
Durable is a keyword here as this is no slouch in that regard. Let’s talk numbers for a moment. The Janka strength of this material is a whopping 1,700 lbf. While it may not be nearly as strong as Ipe, this is still an impressive figure. You can comfortably use it for any heavy-duty purpose.
Fungi and warping are not going to be of much concern for you either, which makes this a solid wood for wet areas.
The malleability is hit or miss for this type of wood. It isn’t the easiest to shape. Then again, you can still work with it at home if you have the right equipment lying around.
When you think of Pine, you may be thinking about a bright Christmas tree or a really good-looking American actor! Either way, you should not be sleeping on pinewood.
This type of wood is quite soft. This may sound like a bad thing but we would like to remind you that this makes it easy to work with. You can use it to make any item.
In the rainy weather, you can put your faith in this wood. Pine doesn’t absorb the moisture so it doesn’t shrink, or swell.
These qualities make Pine a good option for most construction options. So, you’ll find it in use for a lot of industrial purposes.
Last but not the least, we have Cypress. This wood is not known for its durability. The Janka hardness is nothing noteworthy at 510 lbf. Most types of cypress aren’t even fit for the rainy weather.
Only old-growth bald cypress is up to the mark when it comes to resisting moisture. In its youth, this wood is not resistant to rot. However, when it ages and gains maturity, it develops this quality. It also develops a resistance to warping.
You need to carefully sort out cypress of the right age if you want to reap the benefits of this type of wood.
What To Look At Before Selecting Lumber For Wet Areas?
So, now you know what the best water resistant wood types for rainy areas. However, before you go ahead and make a purchase, you need to consider a few factors.
1. Is It Treated?
Most types of wood cannot hold their own against moisture. That is why, through a process called wood treatment, they are enhanced to be moisture-resistant.
When buying furniture, or looking for wood to make your furniture- you should see if the wood has been treated. Treated wood gives your furniture a considerable boost in terms of durability
2. How Much Rain Are You Expecting?
This is another factor to keep in mind. Do you live in a state, or country like India where you may occasionally see some rain during the monsoon season? Or, do you live somewhere like England where it constantly bucketing down?
If you are living in an area where it rains more often, you need to go for materials that can take a beating when it comes to moisture. We’d go for oak. If it’s good enough for the ocean, it’s good enough for your patio.
3. What Type Of Item Are You Using The Lumber For?
You can’t expect to use the same wood to make a sturdy table that is meant to hold tons of stuff and a delicate yet intricately designed wooden statue. We simply haven’t found a wood that shows such versatility enough, let alone one that is completely moisture-resistant.
So, that is why you need to understand what purpose the wood will be used for. Malleable woods such as Cedar and Pine can be shaped however you want, but they can’t hold a candle to the strength of Ipe.
4. How Well Are You Maintaining Your Furniture?
We’ve spoken a few times about how important it is to keep your furniture in good shape for it to stay durable. So, how do you maintain wooden items? How do you keep them from rotting?
Well, for starters, cleaning it frequently will go a long way. We’ve seen way too many cases when people just tend to leave wet furniture in the sun and let nature do its bidding.
This is a bad idea. While going through the natural routine seems intuitive, in this scenario, the wood absorbs the moisture. So, it may warp. Instead, just wipe down your wooden surface as soon as the rain stops. This minimizes the damage.
Another way you can prolong the life of your wooden item which is exposed by using sealants. There are plenty of high-quality sealant products out there that seal your wooden surface. So, water doesn't find its way into each of its crevices.
5. What Is Your Budget?
Just because we left it for last doesn’t mean that this isn’t potentially the biggest factor to consider before choosing lumber for rainy areas. While we may prioritize many things such as strength or aesthetics, there is little that influences our decision as much as finances.
For example, we’re sure we’d all love a home full of mahogany furniture and showpieces, but that would cost a fortune anyway. Ipe may be strong enough for any purpose you can think of, but you will need to spend a lot to get an item made from this elusive material.
If your pockets are not that deep, there is no reason to fret. Oak, walnut, and pine are all affordable and make for some excellent weather-resistant lumber.
We hope this article has given a clear idea of what kind of lumber is good for rainy weather. This is one of the most important decisions you have made if you are planning to purchase outdoor furniture or live in a rainy area.
No wood is completely waterproof. So, unfortunately, you won’t find lumber that is entirely resistant to the elements. Nonetheless, all the options we mentioned are excellent at slowing down the damage. So, they are going to last for a good while when exposed to moisture.