Materials Guide

From Poolside Loungers to Banner Barriers and Picnic Benches, our outdoor solutions are designed using materials and specifications to suit commercial customers and the UK climate.

With many different materials available, which kind should you pick? Hover over the images below to learn more about some of the materials we use and why.

  • Polypropylene

    Polypropylene is a versatile plastic material. It can be easily cleaned and wiped down, essential in hospitality environments where cleanliness is demanded. Many of our polypropylene chairs are reinforced with glass fiber for improved rigidity and strength, remaining lightweight, with a smooth moulded surface.

  • Polycarbonate

    Polycarbonate is strong, lightweight and tough and has excellent light transmission. It can be easily cleaned and wiped down, essential in hospitality environments where cleanliness is demanded. Particularly attractive in clear or transparent colours, giving the appearance of taking little or no space. Many of our polycarbonate chairs are scratch, UV and high impact resistant. For Polycarb shelter roofing, long life multiwall panels are fitted as standard with a range of thicknesses available.

  • Technopolymer

    Technopolymer is a versatile plastic material, lightweight and tough. It can be easily cleaned and wiped down, essential in hospitality environments where cleanliness is demanded. Many of our technopolymer chairs are reinforced with glass fiber for improved rigidity and strength, remaining lightweight, with a smooth moulded surface.

  • High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

    HDPE is UV stabilised and fade resistant, hardwearing, strong and a very versatile material. It is used in the manufacture of our play equipment as the range of colours available brighten up playgrounds and play spaces encouraging children to engage. High abrasion and wear resistance means it will not crack, split or rot, with scratches and nudges also less evident. HDPE can be machined easily, allowing our CNC routers to machine out various shapes, sizes and colours.

  • Resin

    This rattan-look furniture is made from a resin mould construction rather than a traditional rattan weave. It is UV protected and reinforced with glass fiber for additional strength making it suitable for all weather environments.

  • Recycled Plastic

    A material which is increasingly being used instead of traditional materials such as timber, metal, concrete and primary plastics, recycled plastic is resistant to moisture, rotting and cracking and is impervious to salt water and stains. It is also ecologically sound, made from 100% recycled material.

  • Acrylic

    Acrylic banners provide outstanding durability and aesthetic qualities, with the ability to digitally or screen print branding or logos on either side. Either fully or semi-transparent, or as a solid colour, we can create bespoke banner barriers and add another dimension to your outdoor alfresco area.

  • Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)

    GRP can be used in the manufacture of some of our standard or bespoke Planter products as it is lightweight yet robust, weather proof and water resistant. The surface is smooth and refined, supplied in standard colours or sprayed to match specific requirements.

  • Steel

    Steel provides strength, stability, and endurance in all weather conditions. Many of the steel chairs and tables in our Designer Collection are galvanised, with a powder coated finish to help protect from moisture ingress and prevent rust. Steel furniture provides excellent stability because of its weight and welded joints give superior strength.

  • Stainless Steel

    Products made from stainless steel include Chablis parasol handles, post and rod banner barrier systems, outdoor accessories and play equipment; each made from grade 304 stainless steel. Stainless steel has high corrosion resistance and if maintained correctly is a durable, comfortable and attractive choice.

  • Aluminium

    Aluminium is a very popular choice when it comes to outdoor furniture. It's strong yet relatively lightweight so your furniture won’t be hard work to move around if you want to position it, and unlike other metals it won't rust. Our aluminium furniture can be powder coated in a range of colours to stand out from the crowd, but also offer extra protection against the elements. Additional finishes include polishing and wet spraying for tabletops and anodised umbrella poles.

  • Wrought Iron

    Bringing a look of tradition and luxury, due to its weight wrought iron is kept firmly in place with little threat of being blown over. This makes the Triesta range ideal for outdoor environments, with weather resistance further increased by powder coating.

  • Cast Iron

    Table bases made from cast iron have an elegant and ornate appearance and provides excellent stability because of its weight. As an outdoor table base, left untreated it will rust very slowly and age naturally developing an antique look. However, cast iron can be treated to retain its original finish even after many years use.

  • Hardwood

    Courbaril hardwood is used to make our Barolo furniture. It is strong and suitable for commercial or domestic outdoor use, thanks to a tongue and groove assembly and screwed fixings. The surface ages naturally to silver grey as the pigments in the surface layer of the wood fade, and can be left out all year round with only annual maintenance recommended. We take an ethical stance in ensuring timber comes from sustainable sources and from high quality, ethically sourced supplies. Chestnut and Iroko are other types of hardwood used in various furniture products across our range.

  • Timber

    One common benefit of all timber furniture is its ageless natural beauty and warm rustic appeal. We use a variety of softwoods such as pressure treated redwood pine, reclaimed scaffold timber and rough sawn whitewood pine. Each provide some degree of natural weather resistance, while some are impregnated with tanalith as a preservative to protect against fungal and insect attack. Our timber products can be supplied in a wide variety of stain colours, or even painted in flat colours or with a distressed finish.

  • Synthetic Rattan

    Rattan furniture consists of a weather-resistant synthetic fiber weave wrapped over, or inside of, a metal frame. This style of furniture lends a traditional, homely feel to your outdoor area and is much more durable than traditional wicker material. Synthetic rattan can be left out all year round and although during extreme hot or cold weather the weave may stiffer or soften, it will revert to normal elasticity under normal temperatures.

  • Texture

    A popular alternative to timber, Texture is a solid non-porous and natural wood-look material. Ideal for booth seating systems, tables and planters, there is no cracking, splintering or warping as the surface and core is made from a solid polyurethane resin reinforced with glass fibers. Easy to care for and low maintenance, its available in a wide range of colours and realistic woodgrain surface textures.

  • Polywood

    Made from a composite of recycled materials, the realistic wood-look finish is used in the manufacture of several of our chairs, tables and benches. Polywood is an environmentally friendly solution and perfect for outdoor use; its thermally stable, doesn’t contract or split, available in bright colours as well as neutral tones, can be UV treated with little or no fading and requires virtually no maintenance.

  • High Pressure Laminate (HPL)

    Multiple laminate sheets are bonded together under very high pressure to create a strong and durable material, resistant to scratches, food and drink stains and UV rays which means colour and appearance is maintained over time. HPL products are long lasting and provide an attractive finish in a variety of colours. Used commonly for tabletops, our Everlast and Dura furniture is made from HPL.

  • Moulded Laminate

    Fully sealed compact laminate tabletops are practically impervious to mechanical, thermal and chemical influences. The smooth, resin surface is homogenously pressed and moulded onto a wooden core, making it easy to clean and satisfy the hygiene requirements of the professional catering industry.

  • Polyurethane Resin

    This is a natural wood-look material and a perfect alternative to timber flooring and decking. There is no threat of cracking, splintering or warping making it comfortable to walk on. The non-slip surface and core is made from a solid polyurethane resin reinforced with glass fibers. It is easy to care for and very low maintenance, available in a wide range of colours and surface textures.

  • Wood-polymer Composite (WPC)

    Combining the best properties of timber and plastic, WPC achieves a natural wood-look appearance with a long product life. The material is dimensionally stable, weather resistant and resistant to influences such as cold, heat, acid rain, saltwater or chlorinated water, wood-destroying fungi and insects.

  • Material Class 4 & 5

    Our range of Glatz umbrellas provide optimal flexibly in terms of materials and colours to suit the requirements of your business. Class 5 is recommended for optimum shade and shelter performance with UPF 50+ protection against harmful UV rays, high colour lightfastness up to 700 days, oil and water repellent, soil resistant with anti-rot finishing. It is 100% acrylic, 300g/m2. Class 4 provides excellent shade and shelter protection, UPF 50+ protection against harmful UV rays, dirt resistant with anti-rot finishing and high colour lightfastness up to 350 days. It is 100% polyester, 250g/m2.

  • Material Class 2

    Our range of Glatz umbrellas provide optimal flexibly in terms of materials and colours to suit the requirements of your business. Class 2 offers standard shade and shelter protection with basic colour options, UPF 50+ protection against harmful UV rays, dirt resistant with anti-rot finishing, high colour lightfastness up to 160 days. It is 100% polyester, 220g/m2.

  • Stobag Collection

    There are hundreds of material and colour choices for Stobag awnings, each with their own unique properties depending on the precise requirement for shading, transparency, blackout and water protection. Whatever material you choose, it will be a premium quality, UV-tested, acrylic fabric.

  • PVC

    PVC membranes and textiles are used on Motorised Pergolas and Shade Sails for their excellent UV protection and a host of other features; transparency and greater visibility towards the outside, perforation, tear resistance, no sagging, long life, easy maintenance and flame retardance.

  • Vinyl, Mesh & Canvas

    There are various material options when choosing a standard or heavy duty banner barrier from AEL. The most economical option is vinyl PVC, a strong, waterproof and durable banner material. Mesh banners are ideal in windy outdoor conditions, as the mesh allows airflow to pass through minimising any billowing and movement. For a premium quality finish, our acrylic canvas delivers superior performance against all outside conditions, with its resistance to water, UV stability and high lightfastness, together with a dirt-resistant and water repellent coating applied. All options can be easily cleaned and wiped down.

  • Synthetic Fabric

    Waterproof, UV stable and easy to clean, the synthetic fabric that covers the Caribbean Poolside Lounger is also comfortable, soft and flexible enough to indulge and relax.

  • Glass

    For safety and strength, we use tempered glass tops for our tables. For pavement screens, height adjustable screens, bespoke balustrades and barrier screens where glass is specified, we use laminated safety glass.

  • Concrete

    Concrete is universal, long lasting and resistant to even the harshest weather conditions. Although among the heaviest material used for outdoor furniture, it is extremely stable and is used as a base material for our boxer benches, especially attractive when combined with timber seating slats. We can also make bespoke concrete seating and sofas upon request.

  • Granite

    Granite is widely used for umbrella bases. All our umbrella bases are manufactured from durable and tough granite, with a polished finish in black or natural colour. They come in a variety of weight options to ensure that the umbrellas of all sizes remain securely intact with style and practicality.

  • Steel Reinforced Rope

    Multifilament polypropylene, woven around galvanised steel wire with a fibre core, produces a durable and safe product with an extremely soft feel. Available in a variety of vibrant colours, its tensile strength is excellent for playground environments and is used in many of our Active Play units, Fitness Trails and Net Climbers.

  • Tyres

    Many of our Fitness Trails use tyres to enhance co-ordination and build agility, strength and stamina. They are a highly versatile resource that can be used in play areas for children of all ages and stages. They take hundreds of years to break down if sent to a landfill site, so opportunities to re-use them make a positive difference. 

  • Chalkboard

    Our exterior grade chalkboards are suitable for outdoor use and can be made to any size for children to have fun drawing or writing on.