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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Of Plumbing and Patios : The Patio Factory sells PVC rockers, love seats, swings, tea carts, tables and other pieces that will not rust, corrode or peel.

June 19, 1992|GERI COOK

Undoubtedly, there are quite a few hard-working citizens who will spend this next weekend painting the old patio furniture--again. It seems to be a ritual of spring.

Obviously, these folks don't know about PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Or, if they know about it, they're playing an old tape from the early 1980s that says PVC furniture is inferior. That's when a lot of it was coming from Taiwan or Korea, and the old tape is right: A lot of it was inferior. But survival of the fittest prevails; the good PVC furniture has hung in there, while those lesser brands have fallen by the wayside.

The Patio Factory is one that has survived, and deservedly so. The patio furniture sold here is made of PVC that never needs painting and will not rust, corrode or peel. PVC pipe furniture should NOT be made from standard plumbing-grade PVC pipe and fittings, since these have a low resistance to the sun's ultraviolet rays, which can cause them to degrade and yellow.

PVC pipe furniture should be made from a furniture-grade formula that contains titanium dioxide and a blend of stabilizers. These ingredients give furniture-grade PVC greater resistance to the sun's rays.

The Patio Factory uses furniture-grade pipe and fittings in its South El Monte factory to assemble rockers, love seats, chaise lounges, swings, tea carts, bars, dining chairs and tables. The factory sells to patio shops in the Los Angeles area (including Orange County and San Diego) and direct to the consumer in showrooms, at 10% to 20% over wholesale.

As an example, a set containing a small table and two chairs that's sold at one major discounter for $269 is $189 at the Patio Factory. A chaise lounge that retails for $259 in many stores is tagged here at $199. A table and four chairs that you've seen for around $599 is $200 less at the Patio Factory.

The manager of the Studio City store, Leon Sanquist, is the son of owner Ken Sanquist. Leon tells us that they are improving the product all the time, and their warranty, which used to be for five years, was extended to 15 years in 1990. "It's improved so much," says Sanquist, "we felt secure in extending it 10 more years."

The chair and chaise lounge cushions are not quite the dazzling deals that the furniture is, but you can still save money. The standard cushion for a low-back, vinyl-coated polyester folding chair often retails for $44.95, but the Patio Factory sells it in solids, plaids, prints or stripes for $34.95.

I was pleased and surprised to learn that PVC is also available in fencing, gazebos and sign posts, among other things. While I was admiring the fencing, I couldn't help but think what we would have missed had PVC been in use in Mark Twain's time. Tom Sawyer's fence-painting gambit would never have seen the light of literature.

WHERE to SHop

Location: The Patio Factory 11544 Ventura Blvd., Studio City.

Other stores: 14548 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, and 10925 Fawcett Ave., South El Monte.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Call: (818) 508-8355.

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