Rattan Furniture – Plastic or Natural?

This is a question we get asked all of the time and the simple answer is, both! So I think we need to explain a bit more about this to clarify.

Rattan furniture is a unique style of furniture, mainly meant for outdoor use and has been a very popular style for many many many years. Its close weave combined with durability has seen it withstand many years od use and harsh weathers to ensure that every year when you take the covers off, its ready to use!

Big terrace with furniture

So what is Rattan Furniture made from?

Originally when everything first started the furniture was made out of natural materials, mainly wicker furniture. This is a natural durable material that has been used, and still is used for many furniture applications. Wicker is popular as it is very flexible and can be woven easily to create strong stable structures. As you may know, wicker baskets are still very popular and used for carrying many items.

With wicker being natural, it takes a lot more preparation to grow it, refine it and prepare it for furniture build, hence this will be some of the higher end priced furniture you will find from most retailers.

Wicker furniture is mainly sold for indoor use, specifically in conservatories where it’s the halfway between outside and inside so still give the feeling of something different inside to your natural sofa. We have some wicker furniture available so check it out for yourselves and see what we mean.

The other materials that are used and very much man made. This helps reduce the costs and also allows other factors to be considered when making the furniture.

Some cheaper rattan furniture sets will be made out of PVC and PU synthetic materials which are readily used in the modern day. The materials can give a great look for a great price but they have drawbacks. PVC and PU rattan materials are not designed for long term use. These materials are not very weatherproof and will need to be well protected, especially over the winter period to ensure that they maintain their look and strength. They have a tendency to crank and go brittle in cold weather. They can also stretch and ‘Sag’ in very hot weather. Once this happens there is no way of getting them back into shape. Rattan furniture made from this material would have a life expectancy of 2-3 years max. Most wont make it past their first harsh winter if left outside uncovered and unprotected.

Outdoor living space patio furniture on stone patio

For most of our rattan sets, only a PE synthetic rattan material is used. Although a bit more expensive, the benefits of this material is vastly seen. Rattan furniture that is made from this PE synthetic material will be fully weatherproof. This material will not be greatly affected by hot or cold weather and will not go brittle or sag. As with all outdoor garden furniture it is recommended to use covers or to store your furniture indoors where possible. The expected lifespan from these sets is anything upto 10 years. You will also find some manufacturers so confident of this material that they will offer a 10 year guarantee on their furniture. What more could you ask for really!

So overall, when looking for outdoor rattan furniture the material should be a real consideration and although a bit more expensive, we would always recommend that you look to buy a PE Synthetic Rattan Furniture set. The guarantees speak for themselves!