Deciding on getting a Rattan or a Wicker Outdoor Furniture soon? Many questions might pop up when deciding on the quality, characteristics and affordability as both seem alike. However contrary to many beliefs, both are very different in terms of the materials used and the way they are manufactured. One can say that it is the difference between a pure material and a process and as different as an apple to a pear. So just what is the difference between Rattan and Wicker Outdoor Furniture?
Rattan Outdoor Furniture
Most of the Rattan material that we use today in our outdoor furnishings comes from Southeast Asia. One of the main producers of Rattan hails from Philippines’s tropical Palm Tree which grows rapidly in the jungles. It is one of the strongest wood around and is able to grow as high as a hundred feet due to the fact that it grows upwards but eventually bends back down and snakes through the ground like a vine. Growing like a shape of a pole, its diameter can vary around one to three inches and after a few years of growth, it will be harvested into 3.7 to 5.5 metres section which will be sent for processing. Rattan processing will normally be sent to furniture manufacturing plants in Philippines and also very often in North Carolina, USA where there are large numbers of processing companies.
As the Rattan characteristics boasts a strong core and being hard to break, it is normally processed by using steaming methods with specialized shapers to give it the varied shapes that you see in all the Rattan outdoor furniture once it is dried. The excess outside skin peel of the Rattan pole is generally recycled and used to bind the furniture joints together. Besides being a naturally strong wood, the cost of Rattan is generally cheaper than outdoor furniture which are made from Hardwood or Plastic. However, one downside of Rattan Outdoor furniture is that the colour of the natural Rattan will fade when it is exposed to sunlight for a long period of time.
Wicker Outdoor Furniture
Contrary to popular belief, Wicker is not a material of an outdoor furniture but a technique that is used to wove a combination of materials like cane, straw, seagrass, bamboo, reed, willow, rush and even rattan itself to a finished outdoor furniture product. The process of interlacing materials together is also known as wickerwork. Besides a combination of natural materials, there might be instances where synthetic materials are fused together with the natural materials to create a Wicker outdoor furniture. Synthetic materials may consists of either Resin or Vinyl. Some downsides of choosing Wicker Furniture is that they might not be as strong as Rattan and is more prone to dust and dirt. However given these weaknesses, one should not dust it off as an inferior product or material as the strengths of a Wicker Furniture can be comparable to a Rattan Outdoor Furniture. Comparing to Rattan which is made of natural materials, Wicker Furniture is able to retain its colour after long exposure to the sun as it is made of a combination of natural and synthetic materials, making it more suitable for an outdoor concept furnishing.
Other benefits of having a Wicker Outdoor Furniture as part of your outdoor furnishing concept is the light and airy feel of the material which makes them perfect for tropical settings and the highly flexible characteristics makes it easy to interchange the cushions for a more modern look and feel.
Common characteristics between Rattan and Wicker outdoor furniture is that both can be transported easily with minimal effort due to its lightweight feature and is relatively cheap compared to outdoor furniture that are made of hardwood or plastic. Eco-friendly people should go for Rattan material outdoor furniture as the fast growth of Rattan makes it highly renewable. However if you prefer Wicker Furniture and would also like to reduce your carbon footprint, choose materials made from natural weaving materials.
To top it off in terms of durability and versatility, Rattan Outdoor Furniture still scores better than Wicker Outdoor Furniture with the range of natural colours available and the natural stability characteristics. However, much can also be said about the durability of Wicker Outdoor Furniture as materials used to manufacture it can vary differently.