Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How To: Refinish Wicker Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use
Wicker furniture have been around for centuries and the styles of furniture built with this material has evolved into very sophisticated shapes. 
Wicker comes in various types of fibers that can be either natural like (Rattan/Rotan Palm, Bamboo) or Synthetic Resin (which is mainly a man made material like plastic). 
The natural form (Rattan Palm) is mainly found in the forest areas of South Asia, Malaysia and the Philippines, but not complete unknown in North America.

Image of a rattan palm

These woody stalk will normally climb to a height of 600 plus feet in height and anywhere from 2 to 4 inches in diameter with a solid inner core called a reed. Somewhat resembling that of hard wood. 

The 2 inch inner reed of these poles are normally used for constructing the framework of the rattan furniture while the outer skin where the flat reed comes from is used for weaving together the intricate parts of furniture, baskets, and planters if you will. 

There are other materials currently used when building these gorgeous and timeless outdoor furniture pieces. For instance, Cane stalk is normally used today as a weaving material to wrap the joints of wicker resin or bamboo furniture and also for weaving the backing and seating parts of these furniture. 

Some benefits of the Rattan (Rotan) are:
a) Light and sturdy material which makes it suitable to be moved around effortlessly. 

b) Rattan furniture that also incorporate the use of the palm reed (inner part of the Rotan stalk) which is woody in nature, is very pours and malleable therefore accepts various finishes of paint, varnish or lacquer extremely well. 

c) This type of material does well outdoors (with certain limitations) and even better indoors.  

Some disadvantages of the Rattan material:
Rattan due to its woody nature will have the tendency to fade and loose its stability when exposed to constant strenuous changes in outdoor climate. 

Image of a rooted cane stalk

The skin of the cane stalk is mainly used when making outdoor furniture backing and or seating. The core of the cane stalk is mainly moisture filled and therefore enjoyed for its organic tasty sugars and as a tasty sugar filled drink. 

If you look closely at the Rattan and Cane stalk, they have similar yellowish tones. The Rattan stalk however will display a series of spikes along its ridges while the Cane will display a more ridged darker toned (with no spikes). 

Note: Because of the canes natural glossy skin, it does not accept stains, lacquer or paint very well. Therefore make sure that you are completely pleased with the purchase of this type of furniture which incorporates cane backing or seating weave into their finished product.  

Here is a tip !  In laymen terms, when you heir the word wicker, this is a clue that the furniture may be built using materials that are distinct in nature (synthetic and or natural).  Rattan furniture is typically EXCLUSIVE in nature and will only be built using this robust,versatile and beautiful Rotan woody stalk . Rattan is not Wicker and hence Wicker is not Rattan.

Image result for bamboo
Bamboo is a natural material and tends to resemble rattan therefore when shopping for outdoor furniture many uninformed shoppers will easily mistake the two. Bamboo may also have a glossy outer skin but one major distinction is its hollow inner core. 

The ridges of the bamboo stalk is also much more pronounced than that of the rattan. Because bamboo is much less dense, it's not used as framework for furniture, as it is used mainly for weaving and or strengthening the joint area of wicker furniture. 

Furniture built with bamboo material also tends to do well in the outdoors as long as it is kept away from the constant direct sunlight and rain. 

Resin (Synthetic or Natural)

About 99% of the manufactured Wicker furniture on the market these days are made of the synthetic version of this material. 

Resin or (Synthetic Wicker Fiber) to be specific is one of the most resistant materials used to build outdoor furniture. 

Some Advantages of resin furniture are its ability to take on the wrath of nature by being fade resistant and highly durable. 
resin wicker furniture is also very easy to clean and is constructed mainly of aluminum frame making it extremely light weight. 

If a quality purchase is made, this can last for decades as it is resistant to fade and cracking. 

Resin furniture can also be refinished by painting it in your favorite shade of color by using a high quality spray paint. This is one advantage I am actually grateful for, as I would show you our Refinished Wicker Outdoor Furniture we decided to use for the indoors. 

Above is an example of a wicker furniture built with different materials such as Bamboo (curved back frame) Resin (laced backing and under seating) with some aluminum framing (bottom of the seating) and hardwood legs. Because of the fabric cushion and hardwood legs, this type of combined material wicker furniture will be mainly for indoor use or in an enclosed patio or sun room.  

Note: When purchasing resin wicker furniture be sure to purchase one of quality High Density Polyethylene or (HDPE). Many wicker furniture sold to the public, if not by a reputable retailer may be of very poor quality PVC plastic. 

Above are the two different shades of black by Rust-Oleum ( flat black primer and Metallic Flat Soft Iron) we used to refinish these chairs. 
The flat black primer was used as the main base coat as means of making sure the wicker resin was covered completely. The Metallic Soft Iron was used to give the chair a smoother more glamorous look. 
Even though the Soft Iron is also flat, the Metallic aspect of it will still give a slight overall sheen without the mirror effect.  

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use
A little close up view of the refinished project.

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use

Outdoor Wicker furniture refinished for indoor use

Above you can see the outcome and new look of this completed 

NoteSome areas of the chair was left with the flat primer as means of giving it a two tone look reflecting both shades. We felt this was the best color shade(s) to use based on the room these would be utilized, where the walls are charcoal grey. 

Please take a further look into more of our D.I.Y projects and LIKE US  when visiting our YouTube channel.  

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