Choosing the Best Wicker Patio Furniture

wicker patio furniture

Wicker patio furniture has become increasingly popular for outdoor living spaces in recent years. Its woven texture provides an elegant, natural look that enhances any patio or deck. However, many homeowners aren’t sure if wicker can withstand the elements or how much maintenance will be required. This comprehensive guide will help you determine the best type of wicker patio furniture for your needs. We’ll cover the differences between wicker and rattan, popular styles available, durability of all-weather versus indoor/outdoor wicker, maintenance tips, and answers to frequently asked questions. By the end, you’ll feel confident choosing pieces that suit your style and lifestyle.

  • All-weather wicker is the most durable type for leaving furniture outdoors year-round
  • Rattan has a more natural look but requires indoor use or covering when not in use
  • Popular wicker styles include sectionals, loungers, dining sets, and side tables
  • With regular cleaning and reapplying protectants, wicker can last for many seasons
  • Proper winter storage helps wicker furniture maintain its quality for longer

wicker patio furniture

Is Wicker Durable Enough for Outdoor Use?

This is one of the top concerns many homeowners have when considering wicker patio furniture. Traditional wicker was certainly not designed to withstand the elements. However, advances in weaving techniques and all-weather materials now make properly maintained wicker a viable option for outdoor spaces.

Most commercially available wicker patio furniture today uses synthetic or reinforced wicker known as all-weather wicker. All-weather wicker is tightly woven from resin, plastic, or UV-resistant wicker to repel water and prevent loosening of the weave over time. Combined with powder-coated aluminum or stainless steel frames, all-weather wicker can endure extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and sun without degradation for several years with basic upkeep.

Naturally, all-weather wicker still requires more protection than other hardier materials like wood or metal. But following the cleaning and weatherproofing tips covered later ensures your investment will continue looking fresh season after season. Indoor/outdoor wicker marked for both indoor and partially sheltered outdoor use is also an option, though not as resilient long-term without an outdoor cover or storage during harsh winter weather.

With the right variety chosen and proper care, wicker furniture can absolutely withstand outdoor living while retaining its attractive texture and natural appeal over the long run.

Wicker or Rattan – What’s the Difference?

When browsing options, it’s important to understand the distinction between wicker and rattan furniture. While often used interchangeably, they differ in the following key ways:

Material Composition

Wicker is crafted using synthetic or reconstituted wicker like plastic or resin wrapped around a frame. This makes it weather-resistant but less naturally appearing than rattan.

Rattan uses woven strips or reeds harvested from rattan palm trees. It provides an authentically textured look but requires indoor use or protection from the elements.

Appearance

Due to its artificial composition, wicker has a smoother texture. Rattan maintains a rougher, more handcrafted appearance reminiscent of tree bark.

Durability

As stated before, wicker holds up better outdoors with high-quality all-weather varieties. Rattan demands indoor placement or a furniture cover when not in use to prevent cracking or UV damage over time.

While rattan has the coveted natural style, wicker generally gives more versatility for casual outdoor entertaining. Both can complement patio furniture carefully chosen based on intended use and environment.

What Type of Wicker Should I Choose?

The best type of wicker depends on your intended use and climate:

  • All-Weather Wicker
    • Suitable for: Year-round outdoor use anywhere
    • Best Option For: Low maintenance, harsh climates
  • Indoor/Outdoor Wicker
    • Suitable for: Covered patios, milder climates
    • Best Option For: Those willing to store or cover pieces in winter
  • Rattan
    • Suitable for: Indoor use only or covered patios
    • Best Option For: Natural aesthetic over durability
MaterialDurabilityAppearanceCare Level
All-Weather Wicker★★★★★Smooth, syntheticLow
Indoor/Outdoor Wicker★★★Natural wovenModerate
Rattan★★Most authenticHigh

All-Weather vs. Indoor/Outdoor Wicker Furniture

When looking at wicker options, it’s important to understand the varying qualities of different types:

All-Weather Wicker

As mentioned, all-weather wicker is tightly woven from weather-resistant polymers rather than natural fibers to withstand exposure. It’s treated with UV protection to prevent fading and holds up to rain, snow, and sun without damage.

All-weather wicker offers the best long-term durability and value for carefree outdoor wicker furniture. It can be left uncovered year-round without issue. Some high-quality brands even carry lifetime guarantees against cracking or deterioration.

Indoor/Outdoor Wicker

Indoor/outdoor wicker uses a looser weave that’s permeable to moisture and amenable to cracking if soaked repeatedly. While suitable for covered porches, it may not survive prolonged sun or rainy weather without protection.

A furniture cover helps indoor/outdoor wicker through winter or if kept fully outdoors. Storing inside when not in use extends its lifespan dramatically. More maintenance is still required versus all-weather varieties.

Popular Wicker Patio Furniture Styles

There are many gorgeous styles of wicker furniture to complement any outdoor space. Here are a few top options:

Wicker Sectionals

Wicker sectionals create flexible seating arrangements with chairs, loveseats, and sofas in coordinating materials. Their modular design allows reconfiguring layouts seasonally. Many include cushions suitable for year-round.

Wicker Chaises and Loungers

Nothing says relaxation like a cushioned wicker chaise lounge. Choose fixed or folding styles in classic or contemporary designs. Wicker chaises are essential for sunbathing and napping outdoors.

Wicker Dining Sets

Nothing brings people together like a meal outdoors. Wicker dining sets offer chairs and tables dressed for casual al fresco dining. Look for sets sized to your space.

Wicker Coffee and Side Tables

Wicker coffee and side tables provide surfaces for drinks, snacks, phones, and more within reach. Rattan and wicker accent tables add natural texture and style.

Maintaining Your Wicker Patio Furniture

With proper care, wicker furniture can retain its beauty for many seasons. Here are some recommended upkeep steps:

Cleaning Wicker

Periodically dust wicker with a soft brush or wipe down using warm water, mild soap, and white vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse and air dry thoroughly.

Weatherproofing Wicker

For all-weather wicker, reapply a UV protectant spray annually before summer. Indoor/outdoor wicker benefits from an additional sealant after cleaning prior to seasonal use.

Storing Wicker Furniture in Winter

For best protection, store wicker pieces in a dry, sheltered area like a garage over winter. Cover cushions separately with water-resistant slipcovers to prevent mold growth.

With minimal maintenance as outlined, your investment in wicker patio furniture will serve you for many relaxing outdoor activities ahead. Proper care extends its life for years of enjoyment.