Not all wood stand up equally well to the elements and wood insects like termites and carpenter ants. Mother nature impacts on woodwork projects are devastating.

The wood you choose can impact not only how long your outdoor furniture lasts but, how often you have to refinish it or even apply the finish at all.

The good news is there are some excellent species options for outdoor furniture.

So, here are five kinds of wood you can use to make your next DIY outdoor furniture.

White Oak

The first option is white oak, it has a close grain structure through the end grain.

The pores are filled with a tyloses substance that makes the wood watertight through the end grain and naturally resistant to decay.

Now, don’t confuse white oak with red oak, which is what you will find at most home centres.

Red Oak

red oak

Red oak has an open grain structure on the end grain which stores some moisture, and it doesn’t have the same decay resistance as white oak.

So, go to a hardwood lumber yard or your nearest shop and ask for white oak.

It makes a big difference but, white oak is very hard, dense, and heavy so, keep this in mind when considering the weight of your outdoor furniture.

Cypress Wood

Cypress is a very soft wood like pine, it is easy to cut, shape, and it’s also lightweight.

It comprises a natural resistance that is both rot and insects repellent. Cypress is a stable wood and can withstand the elements with little to no swelling.

Western Red Cedar is soft, lightweight and smells great when you cut or sand it.

This wood has a range of colouration between the light-coloured sapwood to a darker heartwood.

African Mahogany

A fourth-grade species for outdoor furniture is African mahogany. It is a favourite for boat builders.

Mahogany is a beautiful grain pattern, especially when it’s quarter sawn.

Although it’s hardwood, mahogany has a soft structure that’s easy to cut, shape, and sand as well as you can find it in wide widths pretty easily.

Spanish Cedar

Spanish cedar is exotic. It doesn’t cost a fortune, and it smells great. It holds up well outdoors and is commonly used for cigar humidors.

Spanish cedar is like mahogany: it’s soft, lightweight and easy to machine and has a similar appearance.

You might wonder what about the other common woods like pine or poplar. How well do they hold up outdoors? Not as well as the five, I mention above.

My Thoughts

If you are going to use common wood for your outdoor furniture, make sure it’s not in constant contact with the ground or stays wet.

Paint or varnish it with spar varnish and stay on top of the finishing. Otherwise, eventually, it will rot.

The white, red oak, cypress, African mahogany and Spanish cider are the better choices if you want to build a nice piece of outdoor furniture.

Why not choose a wood that will last as long as possible?

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