The textured beauty of wicker furniture makes it a classic option. Before you put your favorite wicker furniture set on your patio, it's important to understand what type of furniture it is and how moisture affects it. You could be setting yourself up for patio furniture that's damaged beyond repair.
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If rattan wicker gets wet, it can rot, mold, or smell bad. Natural wicker furniture isn't meant to be used outdoors because it's susceptible to moisture and sun damage.
Wicker vs. Rattan
It's important to understand the difference between wicker and rattan when talking about furniture. Many people assume wicker is the type of material, but it's actually the weaving method used to create the furniture. Rattan is a specific type of natural material that's often used to make furniture woven in the wicker style.
However, wicker furniture can be made using a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic. Therefore, the effects of moisture on wicker furniture depend on the material used. Synthetic wicker furniture is often designed to be weather-resistant, but natural materials, such as rattan, often become damaged by weather elements, including moisture and UV rays from the sun.
Effects of Rattan Getting Wet
If your wicker furniture is made of rattan or other natural materials, regular exposure to moisture and other weather elements can damage the furniture. The moisture can soften the material or cause it to rot, which can affect the structural integrity of the furniture.
Another common issue with too much moisture is mold and mildew. Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture to grow. If the rattan becomes saturated, it could provide the moist environment mold spores need to take hold and grow.
Sunlight can also damage rattan furniture. It can discolor the rattan and leave it looking patchy. This can happen even if you have the furniture indoors in a sunny location, such as a sun porch. Another risk for natural wicker furniture outdoors is extreme temperatures causing the material to become brittle, which can result in broken pieces.
Protecting Rattan Wicker Furniture
The best way to protect natural wicker furniture is to use it indoors. This protects it from the rain and outdoor humidity that can cause moisture damage. If you use it outdoors, keep it in a protected area, cover it when it's not in use, or bring it indoors when you're not using it.
You can provide some waterproofing effects for wicker furniture by painting it if you don't mind changing the color. However, it can be difficult to coat all of the reeds since they're woven and textured. If you miss some areas, the unpainted rattan can still rot or absorb moisture and mold. You'll also need to refinish the furniture regularly to keep up the protection. Painting can help, but it's not a guaranteed way to protect rattan furniture against moisture.
Resin Wicker Furniture for Outdoors
The best option for outdoor furniture is resin wicker, sometimes called synthetic wicker. Synthetic materials are designed to withstand water, UV rays, and other weather elements while still giving you the wicker look. They typically resist fading, molding, and rotting, making them ideal for outdoor patio areas.