Image Credit: Tolleya / Wikimedia Commons

Garden furniture had been around for hundreds of years, but its timeless style and durable nature makes it a popular outdoor furniture choice to this day. Rattan furniture originally comes from South East Asia and is traditionally made from weaving together species of palm. Today, rattan effect garden furniture is made in a variety of designs from a range of materials, making it ideal for all weathers.

Rattan or Wicker?

Both rattan and wicker are common words in conversations about outdoor furniture, but they’re often confused for one another. The key difference to bear in mind is that rattan is the palm material while wicker is a method that involves the weaving of material to form furniture. That means that all rattan furniture is wicker, but not all wicker is rattan.

Rattan Effect Garden Funiture

While this traditional style has stood the test of time, the material itself doesn’t always. Natural palm rattan can suffer if left outside for long periods of time, especially in wet and rainy conditions. Thankfully, there are synthetic alternatives that maintain the lightweight and sturdy benefits of rattan patio furniture but withstand all weather conditions at the same time (but we still recommend using furniture covers when not in use!).

Plastic Rattan Garden Furniture

Synthetic or plastic rattan garden furniture is constructed from modern materials which make it strong, lightweight and weatherproof. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain, which in turn improves the lifespan of the piece. Some of the benefits of synthetic rattan are that it’s:

1) Flexible and easily woven into garden furniture

2) More lightweight than traditional rattan

3) Stronger and more durable than natural rattan

4) Makes for weatherproof rattan garden furniture

5) UV resistant, so won’t crack or fade in the sun

6) Resistant to swelling, rot or mould

Weatherproof rattan garden furniture

Wooden or metal garden furniture can rot or rust if left out in the rain for long periods of time, meaning they aren’t always long-lasting and often have to be regularly treated or stored away in bad weather. This also applies to periods of bright sunshine – just when you want to be out enjoying your patio furniture! Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause wooden garden furniture to crack, warp or fade.

How to weatherproof rattan garden furniture

Natural palm rattan furniture can be affected by the weather in the same way wooden furniture is, and so must be treated or stored in a shed to ensure longevity.

You also may have to consider treating or coating the wood in varnishes or paint. The most long-lasting method is to coat your rattan furniture with exterior paint or polyurethane varnish; this method will preserve your furniture for a few years, and will likely need recoating after three. You can also oil your rattan furniture with tung or linseed oil, which will protect against the rain but might not withstand regular showers or heavy downpour.

Rattan effect garden furniture, on the other hand, isn’t affected by the weather in the same way. Sun, rain or high temperatures have little to no effect on the synthetic materials used to make plastic rattan garden furniture. These pieces UV resistant, rust-resistant and weatherproof, resulting in furniture that looks good and stands the test of time.

Low-maintenance outdoor rattan furniture

Another benefit of plastic rattan furniture is how little maintenance it requires. Synthetic rattan effect furniture is designed to be more durable than its natural palm inspirations, saving you the worry of repairs and maintenance.

Natural rattan furniture maintenance

While palm rattan has a more natural and vintage appeal, it will require more upkeep to keep it sturdy and weatherproof. Bear in mind these maintenance requirements when considering natural rattan garden furniture.

When dealing with natural rattan, it’s important to regularly clean your furniture. Dust or food particles can get stuck in the weave and grind away at the material, or attract vermin who might scratch or bite at the fibres, resulting in weaker furniture over time. Make sure to clean your rattan furniture thoroughly with water and oil soap, then leave to dry fully before storing.

You can also invest in covers for your furniture. Plastic or PVC covers, either large enough to cover the whole set or fitted to each individual piece, can protect your rattan outdoor furniture against the worst of the elements.

Plastic rattan furniture maintenance

Rattan effect garden furniture comes to you already coated, treated, and designed to last.

With synthetic rattan patio furniture, you can simply wipe any spillages or stains with soapy water and a cloth. If you are still unsure about leaving out your rattan furniture, covering them with a PVC or waterproof cover will give any extra protection from severe weather. This extra step will help your rattan garden furniture stay as fresh and stylish as the day you bought it.

So, how long does it last?

If you take care of natural rattan furniture, treating it with appropriate protective materials and covering it or moving it indoors in particularly bad weather, some say it will last ten years or more. Plastic rattan furniture could easily last longer than ten years, due to its durable construction and maintenance ease.

And if you’re wondering how other customers got on with some of our BillyOh products, why not head over to the customer stories section of our blog to find out?