Wicker, also known as Rattan, is actually the process of weaving the Rattan material, not a material itself. Rattan is a bamboo like plant, from which the core is used to manufacture “wicker patio furniture”.
History of Wicker Patio Furniture
Much like Bamboo, Rattan is easily replenished, thus making it a green choice for today’s environmentally concerned consumers. Rattan patio furniture is incredibly durable due to the interlocking nature of the weaving process and the way that the vines grow. Wicker, or Rattan household objects date back to ancient civilizations and were commonly used as baskets and other container type objects. In the Victorian time frame wicker furniture was popular because they thought that the smooth surfaces would be more hygienic.
Wicker Furniture Styles
Available in a wide selection of styles, wicker patio furniture styles lend themselves well to tropical locations and themed areas. Poolside is a perfect place for wicker patio furniture because they of their light and breathable surfaces.
Cushions are available in a variety of colors and patterns making it easy to find something that you’ll like. Add to this the comfortable nature of the cushions and the ease of which they can be blended into existing decors, and you’ve got a winning match.
Types of Wicker Patio Furniture
There are two primary types of wicker furniture, Rattan wicker, and wicker resin.
Resin Wicker may look like regular wicker, but is actually made from synthetic polyethylene resin fibers. This material offers better weather resistance than natural wicker, and is often referred to as all weather wicker. Resin wicker patio furniture is often made by weaving this resin around a rattan frame.
Rattan wicker appears similar to bamboo – except that rattan stalks are solid and not hollow as bamboo is. Both types of wicker can be stained, painted or clear coated to provide a final finish.
Wicker Costs & Quality
Wicker sets range from $250.00 for a basic 2 person set, to as much as $5000.00 for a 6-10 seat set. Differences between the entry level sets and the higher end sets are usually due to the materials being used. Cheap sets will commonly use cheap metal frames, with only the seats and backs being wicker. That said you’ll find some high end sets also using metal frames, but the difference is that these sets will use aluminum, not low grade steel that will rust, or worse yet, bend.
More expensive wicker sets will use a combination of materials, such as glass for the tops, comfortable cushions for the seating and as mentioned above, aluminum for the char and table frames. The quality of materials used in the cushions will also be better with the more expensive sets, offering better draining capabilities, and are engineered to get soaked a thousand times over without developing mold or mildew.
Cheap wicker patio furniture also won’t carry the same warranty that comes with the higher end stuff. Most entry level sets will carry a basic one year warranty, while the high end products will carry 5 years or more.
Again, you get what you pay for, so we’d recommend you spend a little more in the beginning and you’ll enjoy your set much more.
Wicker Patio Furniture Care
Once a year you should wash with warm soapy water and a soft brush and rinsing with the garden hose. In between these cleans, get your vacuum out and use the small brush attachment to vacuum up dust and other debris from between the wicker.
For the cushions it really depends on which cushions you’ve selected. Some can be popped into the washer, while others must be washed by hand. If you’re washing by hand try a little liquid detergent on a soft brush and gently scrub the material. Rinse with the garden hose and allow 12-24 hours to thoroughly dry.