CONSUMER REPORTS — An outdoor rug can help define a seating area and make it cozy, but remember- it’ll be exposed to the elements. There are lots of weather-resistant options to pick from, so how do you know which ones are best?
Jessica Bui transformed a dirt space with pavers and used an outdoor rug to help delineate the space.
“It feels like an extension of my living room, in a sense? So it feels like it’s a place to go and hang out,” Bui said.
The location where you place an outdoor rug can help determine its lifespan.
“We consulted industry experts and found there are big differences in how your rug will react with the type of surface it’s placed on. And don’t expect them to last a lifetime,” said Anna Kocharian, Consumer Reports Shopping Editor.
Unlike typical outdoor furnishings, outdoor rugs don’t have a long lifespan. You can expect them to last from three to seven years – shorter if you live in a humid or subtropical climate.
In addition to fading from the sun, moisture can be the enemy of a rug. This can cause mold and mildew that can damage the surface beneath, so consider where your rug will be placed.
“Unless it’s sealed, a concrete surface can be porous and become mildewed. And a rug placed on a grass or wood will also trap moisture beneath,” said Kocharian.
The most important factor when looking at a rug is breathability. There are big differences between some polyester materials and, say, natural jute fiber.
Look for rugs labelled polypropylene or olefin. It’s the same plastic used in rope and sportswear, and it resists fading and staining.
Other synthetics like nylon, acrylic and polyester tend to be more resilient than 100 percent natural fibers like sisal and seagrass.
These look great indoors, but can come with fabric borders and backing. These will absorb water, and can harbor fungi and bacteria, so it’s best to leave them inside.
Regardless of the type of rug you have, it’s important to occasionally hang it and allow it to dry out.