Lane WeatherMaster Ernest Hemingway
Natural wicker has been around for hundreds of years, and in most cases has always weathered fairly well outdoors as long as it had at least partial protection from the elements. Despite repeated attempts from various manufacturers, however, there is no natural wicker product that can take direct abuse from years of precipitation and sun. There are some that will hold up very well, but they require more maintenance than most homeowners are willing to provide. This brings us to the first con of Natural outdoor wicker -- it needs an overhead covering. Many consumers I work with, however, hastily choose to go with a synthetic wicker whether they have an overhead covering or not -- simply out of fear that natural outdoor wicker won't hold up as well. On the contrary, a fine natural outdoor wicker such as Lane Venture WeatherMaster will easily last for many years with no maintenance needed.
One defining characteristic of Natural Wicker is that it will always have a painted or stained finish. Your first thought may be that this is a con, however, it can be a pro. Consider the possibility that down the road you may have a mishap causing minor damage to your wicker. Natural wicker is easily repairable and you can touch it up, or completely refinish the surface. This is not an easy task with synthetic wicker. The woven areas are harder to repair because they are typically made of resins and vinyls, and synthetic wicker is impossible to paint or refinish.
If your outdoor space has no overhead covering, then you will by necessity want go with synthetic wicker. Synthetics are pretty much worry free in terms of maintenance. Most synthetics have one of two types of frame construction -- Resin/Dexin or aluminum. Resin and Dexin frames are plastic products that are durable as long as they aren't abused in any way or sustain any hard impact. The stronger of the two is aluminum framing which most often provides a more sturdy structure. There are a variety of woven products used over the framing -- the most common being resin, cellulose wrapped wire, polyethylene, and virgin vinyl. Cellulose wrapped wire is the only one of the four that has a painted finish -- the other three all have color added in the extrusion process.
Whether natural outdoor wicker or synthetic both types, depending on the brand, have special finish applications with UV inhibitors and advanced polymers to protect the product from the elements. Be sure to talk with your sales person when researching for your outdoor wicker to compare the differences between each brand.
Lloyd Flanders Monaco
There is one last thing to consider when choosing an outdoor wicker product. Quality products that last for many years will sometimes require more of an investment -- hence the old addage "you get what you pay for". Decide whether you want a better product that is going to last for many years or a product you most likely will want to replace in one or two years. Home improvement and big box discount stores offer various synthetic wicker products that most likely will not offer a long life. At http://www.outdoor-wicker.com , we offer the best name brands in the industry, and we discount our products at 40% - 60% off retail.
I hope this has been informative and assisted in helping you decide between "real cheese" and "Velveeta". In my April blog we will take a look at the different cushion and fabric components available on various outdoor wicker products. If you have any specific question regarding your outdoor wicker choice, please feel free to contact me via email at email@example.com .
- Jae Ellenburg, outdoor-wicker.com