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The Wicker Dilemma: Rattan vs Resin

Wicker is one of the oldest plant materials used for structures like furniture and baskets. It dates back to the Egyptian times when reed and swamp grasses were woven into tables and chairs that normally only the wealthy could afford. Rattan furniture hit the USA around the 1850’s with Cyrus Wakefield. As the father of North American wicker manufacturing, Wakefield was the largest manufacturer of rattan furniture and carriage bodies, after stumbling into the industry idea totally on accident by finding a discarded pile of rattan on the docks of a Boston Wharf. Natural wicker is highly sought after as a vintage collectible by the keened eyed treasure hunters.

Wicker is a collective word used to describe any type of woven furniture. Wicker furniture is often made with natural materials like reed, cane, rattan, seagrass, bamboo, and willow, but it can be made with synthetic materials like resin and vinyl, too. Natural wicker materials are great choices for home furniture because they are environmentally friendly. The fast growth rate makes these plant species highly renewable.

Rattan is a naturally renewable palm material that is akin to wood. It is pliable when steamed and very strong when dry. It’s porous, so it can be painted…but beware of leaving this material out exposed to the elements. Natural rattan furniture should not be used outdoors, this material when cold and wet will become brittle and break. The sun can also damage these natural wicker sets so they should only be used indoors.

Rattan is created from tropical palm trees found in Southeast Asia. It grows upward of 100’! Once rattan grows to a certain point, it bends back down to the ground. It can even grow back into the ground like vines. It is one of the strongest wood species in the world. While it looks and feels like bamboo, the main difference between the two species is that bamboo doesn't bend like rattan does. Rattan is a popular choice for large pieces of furniture like coffee tables or accent chairs. Balance out your rattan furniture with a soft area rug and throw blanket.

Resin wicker or rattan is the answer to the outdoor dilemma. It is crafted from polyethylene fibers and can withstand the elements much better than natural rattan wicker. This material comes in a wide variety of colors and various weaves. We have examples of these different weaves in our showroom to see in person or online. Visit our social media pages for current photos and informative posts about outdoor furniture.

Quality outdoor resin wicker furniture can last decades! It will not fade, crack and the frame will not rust because it’s not steel. It’s powder coated aluminum - the same material used to make ornamental fences! This means it’s made to be outside. We feature many brands of resin wicker and rattan for in or outdoor needs. Braxton Culler, Beachcraft & Kingston Casual to name a few. The furniture sets come with sofas, chairs that swivel, recline or rock, tables, and foot stools. There are choices so that you can create your perfect set of patio furniture.

Synthetic rattan is weatherproof. With over 160 days rain-days each year, coastal areas have to be ready for anything. Our summers are often spent jumping from heatwave to rain in a matter of hours, meaning choosing the right type of outdoor furniture can be a real headache.

Synthetic rattan furniture has the benefit of being able to withstand all types of weather, including typical Carolina showers. It is designed from materials such as resin and plastic, so you won’t have to worry about bringing it inside during extreme weather events. Because of this, it can have a longer lifespan than natural rattan, which is more prone to elemental damage. If taken care of properly, rattan furniture can last up to 10 years.

On top of being waterproof, resin weave rattan furniture is also resistant to UV rays so you shouldn't expect to see much fading or wear and tear in warmer weather. In addition to all of this, rattan's exceptionally high-quality HDPE protects the furniture from both frost damage and moss growth, meaning you won't need to bring it in during the winter months either.

Porch Concepts specializes in outdoor furniture, but we also offer indoor furniture for your 4 Season or 3 Season sunroom. We carry Wicker and Rattan furniture is the natural form and also the resin based. This way we have everything you need whether inside or outside your home. Stop by today and let us help you design a backyard retreat where you cannot wait to come home.


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