What is Resin Wicker Furniture

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Double Glider

Charleston Double Glider

Resin wicker furniture is the technically correct name used to identify the synthetic version of natural wicker furniture called resin wicker or more commonly referred to as outdoor wicker furniture.  As compared to natural wicker, outdoor wicker can be left outside without any degradation due to the outdoor elements.  The difference is in the materials.  The look and feel of outdoor wicker furniture is very similar to natural wicker furniture.  The durability and ease of maintenance of outdoor wicker significantly outweighs owning and caring for natural wicker.

Quality outdoor wicker furniture is constructed on metal frames with a resin material that is extruded and weaved onto the frame.  Lower quality designs use resin or other non-metal material frames.  At the very least, you want metal frames.  The furniture can be used outdoors without concern of the furniture or materials themselves being damaged by the sun, rain, water, humidity, or outdoor temperature.  It does not mean that it can’t be damaged by some other external force.

In theory, resin wicker furniture should maintain its finish, be of sturdy construction and long lasting durability without the finish fading or shape changing.  However, like all other types of furniture, products made from lesser desirable materials will not withstand the test of time.  The common shopper will not necessarily be able to identify the difference between quality built outdoor wicker furniture and those that mimic the good stuff, but with less quality.  Therefore, you need to deal with trustworthy experts in the industry that deal every day in wicker products and can help you find the quality products you desire.

Outdoor wicker is also known by different names such as: All weather wicker, resin wicker, synthetic wicker or plastic wicker.  Outdoor wicker really is a 20th century marvel.  Due to outdoor wicker’s durability, it essentially replaces natural wicker as well as many other types of patio furniture for all outdoor uses.  All weather wicker has also been making inroads in replacing wicker used indoors because of its ease of maintenance and increased durability as compared to indoor natural wicker.  There are now a wide range of finishes available which make resin wicker more suitable to use indoors.  There are some real nice natural finish tones that blend in with other decors that make using it indoors very acceptable.

Quality resin wicker is available from reputable dealers. It can be found in as many as 10 or more color finishes.  Reputable dealers will offer at least a 1-year warranty on their outdoor wicker products.  Beware of dealers who do not normally deal in wicker as their main business.  An untrained eye or, one with background knowledge of the orientation of the product, may not be able to distinguish between a high quality resin wicker product from that of less desirable products that look good initially, but rapidly degrade.

Don’t confuse painted natural wicker with outdoor wicker.  Yes, it’s true painted natural wicker can be used outside for a while before it degrades.  However, there is no comparison of the durability of painted natural wicker to that of resin wicker.  It’s plain and simple, use synthetic wicker for outdoor patio use, not natural wicker.  The pain and aggregation of maintaining natural wicker is just not worth your time when you can use the beautiful designs and finishes available today in resin wicker.

Construction and materials

The frames are generally constructed from either synthetic resin, powder coated steel or aluminum.  In some rare cases, you will find powder coated aluminum as well.  At this time there are no quality frames made completely of resin.  So stay away from them.  Powder coated steel frames are steel with a powder coating that is baked in an oven which provides a ceramic coat over the steel that keeps it from rusting.  However, the inside of the tubes are not coated and stress cracks can occurs causing the exposed steel to rust and leak onto your cement patio leaving stains.  This leaking may not happen for a long time, but it will eventually happen.  The steel framed furniture still seems to last a long time, you might just have to put up with the nuisance of the brown rust stains if you use them on cement.  On a deck and in the yard it’s barely noticeable.  The best quality frames are the aluminum ones.  You can’t go wrong with the aluminum frames providing they are sized for the weight limitations of the furniture.

Resin wicker furniture, like natural wicker, is typically hand woven but using extruded resin strands like spaghetti (or wear wackier string) rather than natural reed.  The resin is generally woven by hand on to either the aluminum, steel or synthetic frames.

The aluminum frames are a little lighter than powder coated steel frames and will likely last longer without corroding than the powder coated steel.   The steel frames are heavier than the aluminum.  Heavier frames may be more desirable in areas where the wind is strong.  If you like making good decisions, choose outdoor wicker furniture with aluminum frames.  Stay away from outdoor wicker furniture that uses synthetic frames. These have not been proven to be as good as or better than their aluminum frame counterparts.  They are a little less expensive, but currently, are a lot less desirable then outdoor wicker furniture with aluminum frames.

Cushions may or may not be part of the package when you by wicker furniture.  You may or may not have a choice of patterns or fabrics.  Refer to our earlier articles on about cushions and cushion fabric.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Resin wicker furniture is extremely durable and virtually indestructible.  Due to its durability, it’s easy to maintain and clean.  For dirty or grimy areas on your outdoor wicker, use your favorite liquid dish detergent with some hot water and a dish sponge to scrub.  Rinse with a clean water.  If your outside, feel free to use a hose or bucket of water to rinse with.  It’s that easy. 

Warning

Resin can be scratched by abrasive material.  Take care when turning your furniture over on to rough surfaces or sliding abrasive objects across your furniture.  The scratches may not be visible, but you will be able to feel them on a hand or arm rest. 

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