How to Make Wicker Patio Furniture Last

How to Make Wicker Patio Furniture Last

Your patio is one of the best places for people to relax and unwind at home, especially when it’s fitted with the right furniture. Which furniture is right for you, you ask? Well, the current most popular patio furniture material is wicker, weaved from natural or synthetic materials; most modern outdoor wicker is synthetic, but there is still a market for the real stuff (natural wicker is called “rattan”). Whether synthetic or natural, all wicker furnishings require regular maintenance and proper care to ensure that they remain comfortable and in good shape for years to come. With that in mind, here is a guide on how to maintain them and make them resilient enough to last a lifetime.

Natural Wicker

Rattan vine, a tropical climbing plant, produces natural wicker. Furniture made from this material works well for indoor purposes or in well-covered patios. They are extremely comfy and give an elegant look. However, when left outdoors in very moist conditions, natural wicker will hold water and begin to rot. Exposure to extreme sun also dries out this material. It thus becomes brittle and loses its natural shape. Rattan furnishings will therefore need a lot of work to make them suitable for the outdoors without falling apart. Below are more tips for caring for your rattan.

Clean the Furniture Often

Since rattan furniture consists of woven materials, dirt particles tend to hold onto the crevices and gaps. The accumulation of dust can attract mildew growth which will eventually break down the furniture. Occasionally cleaning your tables and chairs will leave them looking good for years to come. Vacuum out as much loose dirt as you can from the surface, then use a brush with medium bristles to clean the crevices. For thorough cleaning, use a soft cloth and soapy water to clean the furniture. Rinse well and leave them out to dry in the sun. You should also wash any stains immediately. When neglected, the stains get more stubborn and affect the look of your furnishings.

Oil Your Rattan Furniture

Excessive dryness can cause splitting. So it’s a good idea that you treat the rattan with linseed oil to maintain some moisture and keep it from drying out. Use a soft brush to oil on the furniture and allow it to get absorbed into the rattan fibers. Leave the chairs and tables to dry out after oiling.

Treat Mold and Mildew Immediately

Rattan easily attracts mildew. You can prevent this issue by sun-drying your chairs and tables. Immediately you notice some signs of mold or mildew, use oil-based soap or a mild bleach solution to clean the affected area.

Lift the Furniture When Moving

Avoid dragging your rattan furnishings around. Pulling and pushing them can cause scratches on the legs and also slit the fibers. Install rubber feet on your chairs and tables or lift them while moving.

Apply UV Coating

Since sunlight can harm your rattan, apply UV coating on your tables and chairs to minimize the effects.

Use the Furnishings Appropriately

If you want your rattans to serve you long, you should only use them for the right purpose. Avoid sitting on the chair arm since it can damage the frame. Stepping on the furniture will also weaken it. Keep your pets off the rattan since they can scratch, stain, and damage the piece.

Cover Your Rattan Pieces

You can cover your rattan furniture with blinds, throw pillows, and scatter cushions to increase their comfort. Such items can even protect the chairs and tables from direct sun rays and other destructive elements.

Perform Prompt Repairs

Inspect your rattan chairs, sofas, and tables thoroughly for damages. Then, fix any issues once they occur to prevent further damages and extend the lifespan of your chairs and tables.

Synthetic Resin Wicker

The resin wicker is an excellent alternative to the rattans. This is artificial wicker made from either PVC or High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), very durable materials for patio use in all seasons. The PVC furnishings cost less compared to the polyethylene wickers. This is because PVC has a lower production cost. However, the material is more prone to fading, scratching, and tearing over time.

On the other hand, High Density Polyethylene is a high-quality material, and when woven tightly, it’s hard to damage. Such furnishings also better withstand extreme temperatures. Since this is a non-porous material, you can easily clean any dirt on the furniture. This option has gained vast popularity since it’s weather-resistant, comfortable, kid-friendly, lightweight, and easy to move. They are also resistant to pool water, chlorine and come in different designs and colors.

One main drawback is that this synthetic resin is quite expensive compared to natural rattan. Although synthetic wickers withstand most elements, they require care to ensure that they last for extended periods. Here are some tips on how to take care of your resin wicker.

Rejuvenate the Furnishing

Over time even the most cared for furniture will begin to wear naturally and fade away. If your furnishings are still in good shape, you can restore their appearance with a fresh layer of paint. Alternatively, treat the furniture with a marine varnish or polyurethane finish. If you choose to use polyurethane, apply a thin layer since too much coating will dry up and result in cracking. Allow the coating to dry, and it will make your furniture more and more durable.

Cover it Up

Although resin wicker furnishings can stay outdoors all year round, exposure to extremely cold temperatures can make them brittle. High heat also makes resin elastic which can damage your tables or chairs. Therefore, ensure that you house your furniture under a patio roof. Alternatively, cover the furniture with waterproof tarps tightly. It’s worthwhile to note that synthetic wicker is already waterproof, but the furniture frame may not be so waterproof, and the cover is really just a sort of ‘insurance policy’ to guarantee your furniture’s longevity.

Keep Your Furniture Clean

The best way to take care of resin wicker is by keeping it clean and reliable. For this material, you can use a jet hose to get rid of loose dirt. Use a soft brush to clean around the crannies nooks with soapy water. If you reside in a humid region, wipe the furniture with equal portions of water and vinegar to ward off molds and mildew growth. You can use the all-purpose cleaner to clean tough stains on the furniture. After cleaning, rinse the furnishings with a hose, then leave them to sundry. If you sit on the chairs while still dump, they might sag and won’t regain their natural shape when dry.

Store the Furniture Indoors

You should store your outdoor wicker patio furniture in a protected area like the garage or shed during winter and early spring. This way, you will prolong its lifespan. Remember to cover it with a cotton canvas sheet to keep off dust. In the warm season, make it a habit to cover the furnishings when not in use too. Always check and ensure that you cover well-dried tables and chairs to avoid trapping moisture that can encourage molds and mildew growth.

Constantly Inspect the Weave

Check the weave in your furniture often to ensure that it’s tight. With time, the furniture can create gaps due to shifting. Once you notice signs of shifting, you can move the weave back in place to avoid weakening the overall structure of your chairs and sofas.

The Bottom Line

Rattan furniture can improve the feel and look of your patio. However, if left outside, this material will rot and fall apart. The challenge of maintaining the natural wicker is what makes most people opt for the resin. It mimics the rattans, you can leave it outside all year long, and it’s also easy to maintain. By keeping up with preventive maintenance, your furnishings will also serve you long enough.