HAMPTONVILLE — As spring inspires thoughts of the outdoors, Yadkin Valley residents can find furniture that helps the environment while making it easy to enjoy the benefits of taking care of the natural world.
Poly lumber (poly) is a material made from recycled plastic that has recently become more popular than wood for outdoor furniture.
“As far as why to choose poly over wood, it’s maintenance free and you don’t have to have a place to store it in the winter,”explained Marvin Miller. “It can be out on your deck all year and it’s going to look the same as when you put it out there. Basically the only maintenance is to keep it clean.”
Miller sells the poly outdoor furniture at his store, Home Acres Fine Furniture in Hamptonville.
Experienced with the traditional Amish craft of woodworking, Miller discovered the material prior to owning his own furniture store.
“I was working for a furniture company from 1997 to 2003,” said Miller, who became familiar with the product then and has watched as it progressed.
Some of the progress has been in the additional materials used to hold the poly pieces together.
“I know when they first started building that they didn’t use aluminum angle bars,” said Miller, pointing out the material’s resistance to rust.
“That’s another thing with the outdoor swivel chairs,” said Miller, “is also stainless steel swivel to where in a couple of years so it won’t be squeaky and won’t move and stuff like that. I’m not sure how the manufacturers found out about that, but they do a good job of building.”
Builders are important to the Ohio native.
“My manufacturer is out of Ohio. He’s an Amish craftsman and they have done wood lawn furniture for I don’t know how many years, but when this poly came out, obviously when you’re manufacturing you’re thinking of what can be improved. You always have to kind of flow with the market.”
The current market not only appreciates quality pieces, but also being good stewards of the environment.
According to amishwoodwork.com, poly is 90-percent recycled plastic.
“The [high-density polyethylene] primary raw material is derived from post-consumer bottle waste, such as milk and detergent bottles or other HDPE post industrial material. This material is cleaned by a decontamination process to a high purity level, which removes contaminants such as food residue, paper, and adhesives. It is then compounded into a rigid board stock material.”
Companies such as Levies Lawn Furniture then uses the boards to make lawn furniture such as that sold at Home Acres.
“When I started three years ago, I started with a different company and I switched to this company because of better pricing and the same quality,” said Miller. “They use the same product and there’s just some details that makes a better looking piece of furniture.”
The look of the furniture can be important when considering price as well.
“There is a market out there for wood because it is a little bit less,” said Miller, pointing out that maintaining the wood is an additional cost.
“If they’re not going to worry about if they put it out in the weather and it turns grey and they’re OK with that, then it’s fine. If they’re going to buy it, put some kind of sealer on it, put a color or a paint, they’re going to have to redo that anywhere from two to five years,” said Miller, “so if they factor the paint [and] if their time is worth anything, they really didn’t save anything but they did save at the moment.”
There are still some pieces that people prefer in wood such as a porch swing.
“It’s a traditional thing,” said Miller.
“I’ve had people to come in here and they were looking at a swing and they see a glider and they say, ‘well if we buy that we wouldn’t have to try to figure out how to hang it,’ but then there’s other people who are like, ‘no, we need a swing on the front porch.’”
The most popular item, however, is the poly balcony chair.
“The reason that is so popular is because people can put it on their deck and the railing doesn’t block their view,” said Miller. “The Adirondack chair [another top seller] tends to sit down a little bit and the top of the railing is right in their view.”
Go to homeacresfinefurniture.com or call Miller at 336-468-1744 to learn more about poly lumber furniture.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.