Why Synthetic Rattan Garden Furniture?
If there is one thing we have learnt from rattan garden furniture it is that genuine isn’t always best. Sometimes people are put off by the statement ‘it’s not authentic rattan’ but we’re here to confirm that authentic rattan is not always best, especially in a British climate.
Authentic rattan is a member of the palm family and can grow up to 200m in length. When it is harvested rattan is cut into 12-15-foot lengths. The bark is then removed, and the rattan is cut into strips and reed for wickerwork. Authentic rattan is incredibly strong, like wood, and can be made pliable when exposed to extreme heat, so that it can be bent into different shapes without cracking.
However, although it loves the heat, genuine rattan does not enjoy damp or cold climates, like the UK’s and this can often lead to rotting. Hence, genuine rattan not being suitable for the UK’s climate. Therefore, we urge customers not to be put off by synthetic rattan as it is much more durable and adaptive to the British weather.
Synthetic rattan can be made from 3 different materials: PE/HDPE – High Density Polyethylene, a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride, a synthetic plastic polymer. And PU – Polyurethane, a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate links.
PE/HDPE is the highest quality of synthetic rattan as it has a high strength to density ratio. It is corrosion resistant and therefore, unlike authentic rattan, it will not rot. It can be bent into shapes, like genuine rattan, which helps turn it into stunning garden furniture, and can also withstand temperatures of +40°C without melting. Additionally, it will survive temperatures of -20°C as well as damp conditions without cracking, going brittle or rotting.
PVC and PU are cheaper synthetic rattan options however they are not as durable as HDPE, yet still far stronger against British weather than authentic rattan. PVC and PU materials are more susceptible to colder conditions and are more likely to crack when exposed to extremely cold temperatures. However, they are flexible and can be shaped easily to make great garden furniture.
The process of weaving these synthetic rattans is a very similar process to weaving authentic rattan and wicker which helps to replicate a traditional weave look. Authentic rattan is typically woven around a wooden frame, however, in the UK we often opt for a light-weight powder coated aluminium which is completely weatherproof and can be left outside all year round. The cheaper option is steel framework, but this is not weatherproof and can rust easily.
Synthetic rattan has been developed specifically to withstand tough British weather conditions such as heavy rainfalls, snow and heat. Authentic rattan and wicker is available at limited places across the UK, however, we do not recommend genuine rattan and would always recommend the specially developed synthetic rattans if you are looking for durable, long-lasting furniture that requires little maintenance and will not need regularly replacing.