Steel patio furniture has gotten a bad rap over the years, largely because the furniture of the past was prone to rust, eventually turning an expensive set into a pile of dust.
But today's steel patio furniture is more rustproof, thanks to new production techniques, better primer and paints and improved maintenance and care methods. With proper care steel patio furniture should last as long, if not longer, than furniture made of wood or aluminum.
The possibility of your steel furniture rusting in the first place depends upon where you live. In warmer, drier climates, rust is virtually non-existent. In the Northeast, if left to its own devices, steel rusts more easily.
The advantages of steel patio furniture far outweigh the drawbacks. Steel is far stronger than aluminum and steel can create finer and more delicate frames, due to its higher tensile strength. Of course, rust is the major drawback, or at least it has been in generations past.
New coatings have really changed all that. High quality steel patio furniture is coated with a dense layer of primer and paint, keeping rust problems to a minimum while protecting the steel from the elements and even damage from inadvertent scratches and scrapes from daily use.
If your furniture does rust a bit, know that that's not unusual. Usually, a simple cleaning with a pressure washer will remove surface rust. Most rust on steel patio furniture is this type of rust.
If the rust looks deeper, scrape it a bit with a screwdriver to see the extent of damage. Us a wire brush to remove as much of the rust as possible. You can get a wire brush with a wooden handle that's made exactly for this purpose at any home improvement store. The long handle lets you apply plenty of pressure to the rusty spot. Once the majority of rust is off, use a smaller brush that has stainless steel bristles on it to remove some of the finer dust.
Don't end there, though. After you use the brushes, sand the surface smooth and apply a little naval jelly to remove the last of the rust. Be sure to use naval jelly with care – it can be pretty potent stuff and you'll want to make sure you follow the directions on the label exactly.
Now you're ready to paint. If the surface has been taken down to the bear metal you'll want to use a primer that will convert any microscopic rust particles to an insoluble compound. If you ended up having to work on a fairly large surface, it's best to repaint the entire piece of steel patio furniture to make it appear uniform.
If you're attracted to steel patio furniture but are worried about the maintenance issues, don't worry too much. All outdoor patio furniture requires regular maintenance to keep it in top condition and make it last. Some materials, such as certain types of wood and PVC and plastics, require even more care over the long run. In most cases, the issues with steel patio furniture are minor and only periodic maintenance is required.
Many manufacturers are turning to stainless steel for their patio furnishings, which is virtually maintenance free. Unlike traditional steel, stainless steel doesn't rust as easily and will hold up well even in the worst weather conditions.
One thing's for sure. The beauty and ease of taking care of steel patio furniture has made it more popular than ever for homeowners who are looking for top quality outdoor furniture for their patio, porch, deck or garden.