Wicker isn’t a material used in lovely, natural-looking furniture, despite what many people think. Wicker is actually the process of weaving that’s used to make the furniture, and a term used for the finished pieces. The furniture can be made with things like rattan reeds, cane, man-made paper fiber or today’s new synthetic materials.
If you have some old wicker furniture made of natural materials, you’ll save yourself grief if you keep it indoors. While it might look lovely on your patio, it’s just not meant to weather the Indoor Wicker Furniture elements. You can spray it with sealants and try to waterproof it, but the very weaving that gives it the signature look means there are going to be thousands of tiny spots that you can’t get to with your sealant that will wick in moisture when it rains and start to ruin the materials from the inside out.
Wicker made from natural materials should be kept indoors if you want it to last. Once the natural fibers start to mold and mildew, getting rid of the mildew and keeping it from coming back can take a long time, if it’s possible at all. Choose synthetic wicker made from something like polyethylene. This will give you all the beauty of wicker without the worry about damage or headaches of trying to restore it once it starts to fade or rot.
Synthetic furniture is also called all-weather and recyclable wicker. You can buy chaise lounges, tables, benches and just about any type of furniture made with these synthetic materials. Be sure the furniture comes with outdoor cushions that are made to weather the elements, and avoid the models that have a distinct shine or glare to them.
The synthetic materials that are shiny don’t have enough texture to look authentic, and they’re probably made of materials that break down into the environment, like PVC. It’s cheaper than some other materials and can have a distinct chemical smell that is the material putting off elements into the air. It breaks down into elements that aren’t environmentally friendly, and it’s not particularly attractive compared to materials used in wicker like polyethylene. Polyethylene is used in more expensive pieces and is dull and natural-looking, often with a distinct texture to mimic natural fibers.
If you’re in doubt about the materials used, just make sure that they’re UV protected to keep the color from fading, and that you’re purchasing from a high quality company with a brand recognized in this type of furniture. That will help ensure you get good synthetic outdoor wicker furniture that’s planet-friendly and going to last for a long, long time.