March 26, 2024 3 min read

If you've ever considered adding a touch of rustic charm to your outdoor space, you might have considered placing a live edge table outside. But is it ok to do this or will your live edge tables be ruined? The answer isn't a simple yes or no. It depends on various factors, from the type of wood you choose to the specific weather conditions in your region. In this article, we'll explore the details of outdoor table choices, including the right wood types, considerations for outdoor designs, and special cases where you might want to make an exception.

Choosing the Right Wood for Outdoor Use

When it comes to outdoor furniture, not all wood is created equal. Some species are more resilient and better suited to withstand the elements than others. In the Midwest, where weather conditions can be quite extreme, your choice of wood becomes crucial.

If you're considering placing a live edge table outside, it's essential to opt for a wood type that can handle temperature and humidity fluctuations, as well as various weather conditions. Softer woods like cedar or cypress tend to fare better in such situations. These woods have the durability to withstand the Midwest's harsh climate.

Weather Conditions in the Midwest

The Midwest is notorious for its weather extremes. Summers can bring scorching heat and humidity, while winters can be bitterly cold. These fluctuations can take a toll on outdoor furniture, especially those made from less resilient wood types. That's why it's crucial to select the right wood for your outdoor live edge table project.

Recommendations for Outdoor Wood Types

One wood type that stands out for outdoor use is teak. While it's not native to the Midwest, teak has proven to be an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. It's highly durable and resistant to the elements. If you're willing to import it, a teak live edge table can be a long-lasting addition to your outdoor space. Additionally, certain Brazilian and exotic woods also perform exceptionally well outdoors.

In the case of local wood options, cedar and cypress are top contenders. They are better suited to the Midwest's climate compared to more delicate woods like walnut or maple. However, even with these durable options, it's advisable to avoid making a live edge table for outdoor use.

Considerations for Outdoor Table Design

While cedar and cypress can withstand the weather, creating a live edge table from them for outdoor use isn't ideal. Instead, consider cutting them into smaller pieces and crafting a picnic-style table. This way, you can still enjoy the benefits of these wood types without compromising their longevity in outdoor conditions.

Special Cases and Exceptions

There are instances where clients request live edge tables for outdoor use, even in regions with challenging weather conditions like the Midwest. In such cases, it's essential to take specific precautions.

For covered or screened-in patios that offer some protection from the elements, it's possible to use certain wood types, but it's still not the best idea for longevity. Providing clients with a disclaimer regarding the potential wear and tear and advising them to move the table inside during extreme seasons can be a prudent approach.

Outdoor Projects and Client Requests

In certain situations, there may be special projects that require outdoor furniture. For example, you might be tasked with furnishing a trendy bus station or providing materials for a company building outdoor benches. In such cases, it's crucial to communicate with the client to understand their specific requirements and recommend the most suitable wood type for their project.


While it's possible to place live edge tables outside, it's essential to choose the right wood type and take into account the weather conditions in your region. For the Midwest, softer woods like cedar and cypress, or imported options like teak, can be viable choices. However, for optimal longevity, it's advisable to use these woods for smaller outdoor pieces or to provide clients with guidance on protecting their investment.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with your outdoor furniture project, feel free to contact KC Custom Hardwoods today for expert advice and recommendations.