Did you just see the price of Polywood, and came away with sticker shock?
Made from High-density polyethene (HDPE) often sourced from used bottles, laundry soap, milk jugs, and other items. Enhanced with foaming agents, processing additives, and UV-inhibited pigment to minimize fading.
Why than is Polywood so expensive?
What does Polywood cost so much?
Polywood is one of the more expensive outdoor furniture materials on the market. Made from solid high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with high-quality marine grade fasteners, crafted to imitate wood without all the maintenance which increases its cost significantly.
A polywood chair will often cost close to twice as much as a wooded patio chair.
Compared to plastic injected chairs, Polywood can cost six times more.
They really are an expensive patio furniture option.
But why are these low-maintenance, long last furniture so costly?
The answer is partly in that statement. They last a long time and take less work to enjoy than many other outdoor furniture materials.
So let’s look into what makes polywood so pricey.
What and how is polywood made? How does this affect the price.
How does poly wood compare with other materials?
And why might the cost of polywood be worth it?
But before we get into explaining the price of polywood we need to clear something up. What is polywood?
What is PolyWood?
Polywood is both a material and a brand. Which makes it a little confusing.
Similar to kleenex and tissue. We all use the name kleenex universally for tissues to wipe our noses. But kleenex is also a brand of tissue.
Similar to Trex and composite decking. Homeowners often say Trex decking when they actually mean composite decking more generally, including many brands of composite decking.
Polywood is the same.
Genuine Polywood is a leading brand of low-maintenance furniture made from poly lumber. Recycled HDPE, is commonly sourced from milk jugs and other plastic containers requiring high-impact resistance material.
But Polywood can also refer to other brands of HDPE furniture. Brands like Polyteak, Trex and Highwood just to name a few. All grouped under the name of polywood furniture. For this article, we are not going to distinguish between them. But use Polywood generically both for the brand and material.
How the Material Of PolyWood Increases its Cost.
Polywood is made from solid HDPE which is a good thing. Providing rigidity, strength and durability for your outdoor furniture. But also its cost. In two ways.
HDPE is expensive as a material.
A sheet of 3/4″ x 48″ x 96″ HDPE Sheet costs around $545, according to United States Plastic. Compare this to a sheet of 3/4″ fir plywood from Home Depot which at the time of writing cost only $51. The same amount of material cost 10 times more made from HDPE than wood.
No, a patio chair is not made from plywood but you see the difference in price. Raw wood price compared to HDPE is no different.
PolyWood Furniture Is Solid
Unlike aluminum furniture which often has hollow frames reducing costs by reducing the amount of material used. Polywood is solid.
A polywood chair weighing between 40 and 60 pounds.
But a similar aluminum chair can weigh less than 20 lbs. So even if raw aluminum may cost more. A solid polywood will be priced higher because of the additional material to manufacture.
The Cost to Assemble PolyWood Furniture
Unlike plastic-injected furniture, polywood has to be assembled. The plastic is cut and machined much like wood and assembled. Which can be labour intensive increasing the cost.
Fixer puts this cost at $40 for a basic chair.
I understand that in a factor the cost will be less per unit but I think you get the point. If assembly is required, the price will increase.
Paying for the Performance of Polywood.
This is no dis to Polywood or any of the fine manufacturers of poly furniture. But if you make a product that will last 20 or more years with minimal upkeep. You need to make the sale of that product worth it. If you are only going to buy 1 Polywood chair in your lifetime. All the designing and testing must be priced into that one chair.
Unlike weaker products that are more easily broken and thus will need to be replaced more often.
Polywood will not, is warrantied to not.
Therefore this higher level of performance must be priced into every polywood furniture sold.
This leads us to our next section.
Advantages Of Polywood
Many of us are aware that wood is a durable material, but are you aware of the advantages of Polywood furniture? Of which there are many ways that polywood performs better than other material options.
Extremely minimal upkeep is needed for polywood. Polywood does not require sanding, coating, or painting because the hues do not deteriorate with time.
Simply spritz Polywood with soapy water to clean it. The best solution for difficult stains is a mixture of two parts water, one part bleach, as well as a soft-bristled brush.
Corrosive Substances Resistance
All Polywood furniture is resistant to moisture, salt spray, and many chemicals. Poly lumber does not splinter, warp, crack, break or deteriorate over time.
Additionally, because it is constructed of recycled plastics, it repels termites and insects and animals from gnawing on the furniture’s pieces. Plastic is not edible, so why chew on it?
Polywood can endure any temperature without breaking down and can keep its excellent quality even in inclement weather. Simply said, it can resist anything that Mother Nature dishes forth.
As Highwood puts it,
“from the ice of Alsaska to the heat of Arizona”
Made from poly lumber that has proven itself, in many extreme environments.
Polywood furniture has a 20-year warranty coverage in addition to a lifespan of up to 20 years. In other words, each piece of furniture lasts for two decades, which isn’t bad given the expense.
It can withstand battering and yet look brand-new due to its durability, density, and longevity.
As a result, Polywood is among the greatest materials for creating furniture. Its durability also means that it won’t likely warp or decay over time like some other types of wood would.
Any shape can be created from polywood to meet your favourite furniture style. It can be transformed into indoor and outdoor furniture such as Adirondack chairs, foot stools, end tables, dining tables, rockers to lounging loveseats and sectionals.
The options of polywood chairs is endless. Well almost.
Additionally, a variety of hues and finishes are available, including smooth surfaces, a wood-like texture, earthy browns, vivid red, and charcoal marble, to mention a few.
Design And Fashion
Polywood furniture with its versatility lends itself to endless designs. With many unique furniture options being created to add to the look and feel of your deck.
Polywood is made from recycled plastic bottles, jugs, and containers. As a result, less toxic waste is produced, there is less need for wood, and there is a greater supply of nonrenewable resources and energy.
On top of that, Polywood lessens ocean plastic pollution, safeguarding marine life, because the bulk of the plastic is recycled.
Drawbacks Of Polywood
There are many benefits to polywood, but like with anything else, there are drawbacks.
HDPE can be hard not allowing your furniture to fit your body. Sometimes reducing comfort, especially when sitting in a polywood chair for lengthier periods of time.
Its weight can also be a drawback. Polywood can be hard to lift and move. Making it harder to rearrange furniture for guests or to catch the perfect sunset.
Average Cost Of Polywood Furniture
Do expect to pay $200 and $3,000 for outdoor Polywood furniture. Size, style, colour, and texture all affect the price.
And do not forget the brand. Polywood the brand can cost twice as much as a similar chair made from a less recognized brand.
Are There Less Expensive Alternatives To Polywood?
If the price of polywood is to much here are a few alternative outdoor furniture that will cost less.
Moulded injected plastic furniture
Still want low-maintenance, furniture that doesn’t need to be stained annual injected plastic may be the answer.
Manufacture in a way that does not require assembly and with less material they are cheaper.
A RealComfort Charcoal Resin Plastic Adirondack Chair from Home Depot is Under $30.
That’s almost one-sixth the cost. You could buy a whole set of six plastic chairs for the price of one Polywood Adirondack chair.
Which you may need to do over the next 20 years.
Plastic chairs rarely come with warranties. And because of the thin material can snap fairly easily. Especially in the cold.
Interestingly the plastic chair with its thinner material is still rated for 250 lbs. Most Polywood chairs are the same. Some will hold 350 lbs. But what I am saying is most of us could sit in a plastic chair without breaking it.
If you are looking for a set of chairs to gather around the fire with your friends and don’t want to blow the budget. Plastic chairs may be right for you.
This one is not universal. Not all wood furniture costs less than polywood. In fact, many will cost more. Like this Eucalyptus Hardwood Adirondack chair.
But if you look for non-exotic wood chairs, like cedar. You can often find a well design one for around $80. And considerably cheaper than polywood.
Just remember that you will need to maintain wood furniture. If you are good with sanding and staining the chairs every few years. They will cost you less.
And wood has a nice feel to it. But I am a carpenter and have a natural liking for wood.
Knock off Brands
Like everything you buy at the store, the non-brand names will almost always cost less. Find a similar product made by a company that does not have the same research and development budget and you will pay less.
Most are a little more than wood but you can expect to pay half as much or even less than polywood.
Another reason why they cost less is the warranty. Polywood has a 20-year warranty. Less well-known brands will have a 3-year or less warranty.
But if you are willing to search through the pages of Amazon or your local discount retailer. And take a chance on a brand you have not heard of before. You could save a pile of money.
Polywood was not always a recognized brand in outdoor furniture. They to were an unfamiliar brand that people took a chance on and are still enjoying after all these years.
So it’s a little bit of a gamble. Pick right you win with cheap quality HDPE furniture. Pick wrong and you will be buying new ones next year. Your call.
Polywood is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. It is a trusted brand that makes quality furniture backed by a long warranty. But it will cost you more than other patio furniture.
There are other brands that also make poly lumber often referred to as polywood furniture which is very similar in benefits to the official Polywood. These brands have similar quality controls, warranties, research and development but with a similar price tag.
But they to are made from quality HDPE will not rot, warp and need little maintenance. Except for a little cleaning now and then.
But there are cheaper alternatives. Costin less upfront but often include a trade-off. With more maintenance, potential for damage or lower quality construction.
The choice is yours. Polywood is more expensive, but is it worth it?