Editors Note: Updated September, 2018
Find out what the difference is between wicker and natural resin wicker. Synthetic usually means fake, right? Well, not in this case. Organic wicker is considered the original and authentic form. While this is true, it is just not practical for outdoor use. The best move is to go with outdoor wicker furniture.
99% of the time, outdoor wicker patio sets are made from synthetic resins. Resin wicker is made to look like natural wicker without aging like it as well. The word Wicker is derived from the Scandinavian word “wika” which means “to bend.”
Rattan is Not Wicker and Wicker is Not Rattan
First, I want to make clear the distinction between wicker and rattan. A lot of people use the terms interchangeably but they are two very different things. Wicker refers to the type of weave while rattan is an actual a natural material fiber. Rattan is fiber used to make natural wicker sets. You can jump to this page to learn more.
Natural wicker is made from plant materials. Natural materials were used long ago during the times of Ancient Egypt to make wicker baskets. Unfortunately for your patio, natural wicker is susceptible to rain, sleet, snow, moisture, and other forms of inclement weather.
Natural wicker is perfectly fine for indoor use but it’s not suitable for the outdoors. That is why resin wicker is used to make outdoor wicker furniture that looks and feels like the real thing.
What is Synthetic Resin Wicker
Also known as All-Weather Wicker, synthetic resin wicker is made from resins that are extracted from plant matter. These liquids are capable of hardening permanently. There are several types of resin wickers ranging from cheap plastics to HDPE. Resin wicker is used to make outdoor sectionals, dining sets, and even daybeds.
Synthetic resin wicker undergoes a polymerization process that creates an epoxy like material. Resin wicker is typically built on aluminum frames. This makes them very lightweight so you might have to find some ways to keep your patio furniture from blowing away.
Wicker vs Resin Wicker
- Organic wicker will become dry and brittle over time. It will crack and cause the weave to unravel over time.
- Natural wicker can be subject to damage caused by insects and small pests.
- Synthetic wicker is much more durable. As the name implies, it is suitable for outdoor conditions. Resin wicker can also be used indoors.
- Resin wicker is easy to wash. Learn how to clean resin wicker furniture.
- All of this and resin wicker is still less expensive than natural wicker.
Types of Resin Wicker
- PVC Wicker
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker
Why Choose HDPE Wicker
Put simply, HDPE wicker is the highest quality resin material. It’s made from a compound that is very dense so that it is extremely durable in all outdoor conditions. I hate to admit this but I’ve actually tested floor models in other stores that use materials like PVC and regular PE. If you scratch them with your nail, the exterior layer will peel off and reveal a mismatched color.
HDPE on the other hand is made with the same material through and through meaning that what’s inside is the same as what you see on the outside; you can’t “peel away the layers.” This is why imperfections are hard to find even on HDPE wicker sets that have been used for years.
- Infused with UV Inhibitors that prevent fading in the sun
- High Density compound won’t break, chip, or scratch.
- Stain Resistant
- Won’t stick to your skin like low-grade resin wicker.
- Has a Matte (flat) finish that isn’t shiny. This is a tell-tale sign of a cheap vinyl material.
- HDPE is 100% Recyclable unlike other resin wicker materials. BE GREEN!
What to Look For & Where to Buy
Without comparison, Harmonia Living is the best brand of All-Weather Wicker Furniture based on price and quality. They only use eco-friendly HDPE wicker and frames that are made from a thicker gauge of aluminum. Resin wicker material is one aspect, but the frames are equally important! Here are some resources to help you shop for resin wicker furniture:
- The Complete Guide to Synthetic Wicker Furniture
- How to Choose Quality Wicker Without Paying the Price
You can actually order resin wicker furniture online and have it shipped to you free of charge. Patio Productions.com carries an assortment of styles aside from the standard espresso finish. You can click on the link below to jump to the wicker section.
Patio Productions – Outdoor Resin Wicker Furniture
4122 Sorrento Valley Boulevard #107A
San Diego, CA 92121
- Wicker vs Rattan – What’s the Difference?
- The Best Material For Outdoor Furniture
- The Urbana Eclipse Sectional Set from Harmonia Living
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is able to lend insight on this topic after spending years in the design field. She has learned that all outdoor furniture is not the same and always advises clients to seek the very best patio furniture. She never offers advise she wouldn’t use herself!