As you look for outdoor furniture, you may find that you continue to come across furniture made out of “PE rattan wicker” or some similar version of this (e.g., “PE rattan” or “PE wicker”). You will find these terms listed as the furniture material listed in many pieces on Amazon, Wayfair, and elsewhere. But what is it? Is it any good? Should you consider this material for your outdoor patio furniture set?
In this post, we will explain what this material is and its key features. This will help you evaluate if getting a piece of furniture with PE rattan is the right fit for your outdoor living space.
So, let’s jump right in!
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PE rattan wicker is a good choice for outdoor furniture for your outdoor living space. It will provide your outdoor space with stylish furniture designed to last several years. If your budget allows, look for HDPE or recycled plastic wicker options as these will be more durable and longer-lasting furniture pieces.
What is Rattan, and what is Wicker?
Before we address what the “PE” means, we need first to define “rattan” and “Wicker.”
Unlike commonly thought, wicker is not a material. Instead, wicker is a style of weave used to make furniture, and wicker can be made from various materials. In some cases, these materials are natural plant materials, and one of the most commonly used plant materials is rattan. Rattan is a vine-like palm plant that grows mainly in Asia, Africa, and Australia. When wicker furniture is made with natural materials you will normally see it listed as “natural wicker” or “natural rattan furniture.” To summarize, wicker is the method to make the furniture, and rattan is the material used for the furniture.
However, natural rattan wicker furniture (or another natural plant wicker) is not durable or weather-resistant for consistent outdoor use. Natural wicker furniture (or natural rattan furniture) will easily mildew and decay if left outside for extended periods. Instead, synthetic materials create durable outdoor wicker furniture.
What is PE?
Synthetic materials, specifically synthetic resins, are artificially synthesized polymeric materials, and these resins are the main components of plastics – additional fillers are added with these resins to make plastics. Thus, when you see something listed as “Resin Wicker,” that means the material is synthetic rattan and not natural rattan.
One popular synthetic material is Polyethylene or PE for short. PE can come in various forms, with High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) being the most common forms of PE. Other synthetic materials used for outdoor wicker furniture include Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polypropylene (PP), and Polyurethane (PU).
Is PE Rattan Wicker any good for outdoor furniture? What are its advantages?
PE is a good choice for outdoor furniture for several reasons. First, the material is water-resistant, which means it will resist the growth of mold and mildew (unlike wicker made with natural materials). Also, this material is durable enough to withstand typical outdoor wear and tear for several years. Finally, resin wicker furniture is easy cleaning as you will only need minimal maintenance to keep PE furniture clean throughout the year. You will typically only need mild soap and water to clean any spills or dirt away from the material. Overall, PE rattan is a good weather-resistant material for outdoor furniture that is relatively simple to maintain.
What are the disadvantages of PE Rattan Wicker?
The main concern with PE rattan or resin wicker is the quality of the PE used in the wicker furniture. We believe it is safe to assume it is likely LDPE when you see “PE rattan wicker,” “resin wicker,” or any similar variation. If not, we typically see manufacturers predominantly display that the furniture is made using HDPE (more on this below). LDPE will likely show signs of wear and tear after heavy or prolonged use. It is not uncommon for some of these wicker strands to break, crack, or tear after a few years of use. Additionally, this material is likely to fade if left in direct sunlight for extended periods – unless the manufacturer states that it has been treated to be fade resistant.
What are other good forms of outdoor wicker furniture?
HDPE and recycled plastics (which are primarily made from HDPE materials) are the premier synthetic materials for outdoor wicker and other plastic-based furniture. As such, resin wicker furniture made from these materials typically comes at a premium price. HDPE and recycled plastics have two main advantages over LDPE.
First, the color of the materials is introduced during the production process of the resin, which means the color is part of the material. So, if the furniture gets scratched, you will not see a different color underneath. This is opposed to LDPE, which typically has the material’s color applied on top of the resin. Additionally, this consistent color of HDPE and recycled plastics enables it to be fade-resistant, unlike LDPE.
Finally, HDPE and Recycled Materials are higher density materials, making them much more durable than LDPE. As a result, these materials can withstand more wear and tear than LDPE, making them less susceptible to breaking, cracking, or tearing as you may experience with LDPE.
PE Rattan Outdoor Furniture Options
PE rattan wicker, or resin wicker, furniture is used in many different outdoor furniture pieces, and you can find a wide variety of options to fit the style of your outdoor living space. Whether you are looking for a patio set, sofa, chairs, table, sectional, or other items, you will find plenty of options to shop to find the ideal furniture item. Below are some examples of PE rattan Wicker. One note though: PE rattan furniture is not sturdy enough by itself, so this furniture is usually supported by a powder coated steel frame or a powder coated aluminum frame to make the furniture sturdy enough to sit on.
Patio Conversation Sets
Conversation sets are outdoor or patio furniture that typically includes a sofa (usually a loveseat), two chairs, and typically a coffee table. You can find a conversation sets that come in a variety of configurations that may include additional furniture items. Additionally, you will find a wide-range of styles for conversation sets to best fit your backyard decor.
A bistro set, or also called a patio bistro set, is a table and chair set designed for the outdoors for small outdoor areas. Bistro sets typically come with two chairs and a small table, but larger patio sets can also include smaller tables and chairs in various configurations. Bistro sets can be a good space saving option if you are looking to have a seating area, but you are very limited on space. Are you interested in more small outdoor space items? Read our post here on small outdoor space furniture considerations.
A chaise lounge is a long piece of furniture designed to support your whole body with your feet and legs propped up by the piece of furniture. Outdoor chaise lounges generally feature an adjustable back that may help you sit up or lay flat. Additionally, some chaise lounges may have armrests that provide additional support and comfort. Learn more about Chaise Lounges here.
An outdoor dining set is a furniture set that includes a dining table and at least four chairs. Some dining sets can have 6 or 8 chairs, and the shape of the table can be a square, rectangle, circle, or oval. So, you need to assess your outdoor dining plans and available area to determine which type of dining set is right for you. Luckily, there are plenty of PE rattan wicker dining sets to fit your needs.
An outdoor daybed is a piece of furniture that provides a large lounge area that can typically support 2 or more people to fully recline. Daybeds can provide an excellent spot to rest and relax outdoors, and some daybeds may have extra storage or dining options.
You may simply just need patio chairs for your outdoor space. Fortunately, there are plenty of PE rattan wicker designed patio chairs to fit your backyard needs.