Many people like to buy wicker furniture for the outdoor spaces in their home. Furniture that’s made with this material looks elegant, can be woven into pieces of various styles, is pretty long lasting and complements the look of casual as well as formal settings. Little wonder then that so many people opt for this furniture for their patios, decks, yards, outdoor kitchens and other al fresco areas of their home.
While all this sounds good, what many people aren’t aware of is that most of the ‘wicker’ furniture they buy isn’t really wicker at all. Almost 90% of outdoor furniture found in the market today, is made of synthetic reins. It emulates the look of natural wicker and can be used in similar applications. Apart from the fact that these two are intrinsically different in terms of their base materials, there are a number of other differences between them.
Before we go ahead and understand these differences, let’s understand the difference between wicker and rattan. These terms tend to be used interchangeably, which is wrong. Wicker is essentially a type of weave; on the other hand, rattan is the name of a natural material fibre. Very simply, rattan is the material used in making natural wicker outdoor furniture. Now that we have that basic information in view, let’s move onto understanding what the differences between natural wicker and resin wicker are:
This is made from various plant materials. Natural wicker is a material that was also used way back in Ancient Egypt; the Egyptians made baskets out of wicker. While it is a naturally sturdy material, it is not completely weather-proof. It can get affected from exposure to the elements and will deteriorate over time. This is where resin wicker comes into the picture.
Synthetic Resin Wicker
This is made of resin and used to manufacture outdoor wicker furniture that literally looks and even feels like natural wicker. It’s also popularly called all-weather wicker and is made from various plant matter resins. These liquids that are extracted from plants are able to harden permanently. There are a variety of resin wickers and you will find ones made of high quality HDPE as well as ones made of certain cheap plastics. Resin wicker outdoor sectionals, daybeds and dining sets are now very easily available in the market.
How resin wicker is made
Resin wicker goes through a specialised polymerisation process; the final result is a material that’s somewhat like an epoxy. Typically, resin wicker is woven around aluminium frames; this makes the furniture pretty lightweight. At times, high winds have been known to blow away resin wicker furniture.
Some more differentiators
- As mentioned earlier, natural wicker will deteriorate over time and its fibres will become brittle and dry. If it isn’t kept covered and maintained well, you may also find that it develops cracks which will cause the weaving to slowly unravel.
- It is susceptible to attacks from small pests and insects. Manufacturers of natural wicker products coat the furniture with a sealant-type of material to prevent this from happening.
- In comparison resin wicker is more durable and is suitable for use in all weathers. It can be used in indoor furniture too.
- It’s easy to wash and is more cost-effective than natural wicker.
There are different types of resin wickers available, such as:
- PVC Wicker
- HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Wicker- this wont crack, chip or stain and it won’t stick to the skin like some low grade wicker does.
Despite the fact that resin wicker has some distinct advantages over natural wicker furniture, some homeowners do opt for the latter. But when you look at it from a long standing viewpoint, resin wickers have a one up on their natural contemporaries.
For any additional information about wicker outdoor furniture, contact Osier Belle. This is the number to call +61 2 9946 9466; if you prefer, send us your queries using this contact us form.
Thanks for reading,
The Osier Belle Team
(02) 9949 9466