When you buy an outdoor furniture set, you're often faced with a difficult choice - to stick with traditional wicker, or to get synthetic wicker.
Image from Pixabay
While this might seem like a choice between natural and plastic, it's far more than that - It's a choice between practicality and tradition. Its a choice that will affect how well your investment is wearing in 5-10 or even 20 years time. And it's one that you have to live with every time you throw a BBQ or relax outdoors on a sunny afternoon.
So in order to help you decide the best option for you, we’ve broken down the 5 key factors that you should consider before making a purchase.
1. Life span
When you invest in an outdoor furniture set you want to ensure that it lasts for many years. You want it to still look like new in 5 years time, and you want it to last far longer than that.
However when it comes to wicker furniture, there is a large difference in lifespan between tradition and synthetic wicker.
The lifespan of natural wicker depends on how well and often you maintain it. If you do a good job, your furniture will still be in great condition in 20 years time.
Synthetic wicker, such as Solaris however is designed to last for many years without the need for maintenance. In fact, high quality Solaris wicker often comes with 5-year guarantees, and it will still look great for decades to come.
Are you a weekend warrior who loves being handy around the home? If so, then natural wicker might be up your alley. In order to look after natural wicker outdoors it’s essential that it is protected by a weatherproof coating at all times.
We recommend that you treat natural wicker every 12 months with a resin based, waterproof outdoor paint, This way the natural fibers will be protected from the elements at all times.
The benefit of synthetic wicker is that you don’t need to go through this process. Because the entire product is made from high quality resin, it’s been designed to last for many years and requires virtually no maintenance.
3. Damage repairs
Sadly repairing damaged wicker can be troublesome regardless of the base product that you are using. However if you do experience some damage quite often natural wicker is easier to repair.
All you need to do to fix scratches on natural wicker is to repaint the affected area. However if the wicker itself is broken due to a drop or knock, then it's very difficult to repair.
Most of the time synthetic wickers contain a ‘core’ wire that adds additional structural strength. This results in a ‘bounce’ when dropped or knocked, rather than a ‘snap such as with traditional wicker.
Image from Pixabay
When you're hosting Christmas in 5 years time, you don’t want to be ashamed of your outdoor furniture, so it's essential that it doesn’t fade.
This is good and bad news for natural wicker. Because it's always treated with a paint or lacquer, the top coat will fade. However the good news is that if you keep up your regular annual maintenance, then you’ll never have anything to worry about.
With resin wicker however, most are guaranteed to not fade for 5 years. After then the chances of fade are extremely low. However if they do fade, it's virtually impossible to make it look like new again.
5. Weather damage
Image from Pixabay
Water has long been the nemesis of natural wicker making it soggy, rotting it and making it extremely unattractive.
So we highly recommend that if you have natural wicker furniture, regardless of how well it's sealed, that it's kept under cover such as on a covered deck, or verandah.
Synthetic resin wicker however is fine to be left in exposed areas where it will cope with the full hit of the elements. Because it physically can’t absorb moisture, and because its resin based, water won’t damage it at all.
As you can see, both wickers are fantastic and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately the decision comes down to this:
If you like doing maintenance around the house and are a DIY type of person, then natural wicker will give you another weekend project to enjoy.
If you’d like a no-fuss, low maintenance wicker that will wear the elements in ease and will still look great in years to come, then resin wicker is for you.