When furnishing your outdoor living space, one material you are likely to consider a viable option is rattan. However, is rattan furniture actually suitable for an outdoor environment, or are people incorrectly using it? After all, you don’t want to invest in new furniture only to have it damaged and ruined in a short time. And you’ve likely looked up “is rattan furniture good for outdoors” on Google for the answer, and yet you may have found any number of responses to your inquiry. In order to help you with picking out the right furniture for your outdoor living space, here is what you need to know.
First, before going any further into discussing whether rattan furniture is good for the outdoors or not, it is important to point out the variations of the furniture style. When shopping, you will find both natural and synthetic rattan.
Natural, as the name suggests, is made from any number of timber vines. In fact, there are hundreds of natural variations of rattan. Typically, the material comes from Southeast Asia, which can grow quickly with the temperature and humidity. It is important to point out that rattan is not bamboo. This is a common misconception as bamboo is hollow. While rattan is similar, it is also solid, which gives you a sturdy design for your furniture.
While you have natural rattan furniture weaves, you will also find synthetic options as well. Synthetic rattan is designed to look and feel like a natural material, but there is usually some sort of plastic or other artificial material within its construction. This has several advantages, especially when it comes to using the furniture outside.
Natural rattan, like natural wood furniture, is generally not designed to be used outside. The natural fibers of the weave can absorb moisture, develop mold, and may break down if left in direct sunlight for any prolonged period.
This isn’t to say it is impossible to use natural rattan furniture outside, though. When looking for natural rattan, look over the product listing to see if it has been weather-sealed. This is a special application that is applied on top of the rattan. This will, in turn, protect against moisture and sunlight. It works similarly to weatherproofing a wood deck. And, like weatherproofing a wood deck, you will need to do this annually. Otherwise, the natural rattan will eventually break down.
You should also consider placing natural rattan in the shade. Whether you have an overhang or you have installed a shade over the patio, place the rattan furniture here. This will help prevent the deterioration from sunlight (as well as help protect it from some rain).
If you want furniture that is best suited for the outdoors and requires the least amount of upkeep, your best bet is to look for synthetic rattan. In many instances, expertly made synthetic rattan possesses many of the same visual qualities as natural, but it is designed to better handle the elements of being outside. Simply put, the plastics and other materials used within synthetic rattan will not absorb moisture like natural rattan. Plus, you won’t have to annually apply a protective coating over the top of the rattan to protect it.
Perhaps you purchased rattan furniture from a garage sale and are unsure whether it is synthetic or natural. Don’t worry, as it isn’t difficult to tell the difference once you know what to look for. Synthetic wicker isn’t going to break, strip, chip, or stain. That is not the case with natural wicker. So if you give a closer inspection of the piece of furniture and you see any kind of physical damage (such as some of the weaving has broken in certain areas), or there are noticeable stains or fading from sunlight, it means you have natural rattan.
Once you know you have natural rattan, you can weatherproof it. To do this, you will first need to clean off the furniture; then, once it has dried, use fine grit sandpaper and remove the top layer of the rattan. Once again, wash this off and allow it to dry. With a dry surface, you can apply any number of water-proofing agents. Tung oil is one option that works well in that it will allow you to maintain the natural beauty of the rattan without using paint (of course, you can also pick up paint designed for rattan and wicker if you are interested in adding a new color to the furniture). Whatever you decide to use, apply the first coat, then allow it to dry. You will want to add at least three coats of oil or paint. This will not only ensure you have a tight, waterproof seal, but it helps make sure you are not missing any areas of the furniture. It is especially easy to miss some areas of the weaving, and any area left exposed can absorb moisture and affect the rest of the rattan furniture.
Whether you want to furnish a sunroom in your home or add seating areas to your outside patio, you will find a wide selection of options here at the Rattan Wicker Furniture Company. From natural to synthetic rattan, you will find it all right here. And, if you have any questions regarding which furniture might be right for your space, all you need to do is give us a call or send our friendly customer service staff an email, and we will lend a helping hand. Whatever your questions might be and whatever budget you have to work with, our team at Rattan Wicker Furniture Company is here to help.