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Wicker Patio Furniture Buying Guide

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Seats 8!  Genova All-Weather Wicker Dining Set
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Patio Furniture Buyers Guide: Compare styles, price, durability

by Sherry Law
July 2008

Searching for new outdoor patio furniture? Try wicker. Whether made from natural fibers or the newer plastic resins the beautiful weave, soft lines & durability of wicker make it a perfect choice. Important points to consider when picking wicker patio furniture sets are the quality & condition of the materials, the tightness & integrity of the weave, the finish & waterproofing & cleanup.

1) QUALITY OF THE MATERIALS
Many natural fibers are used to produce wicker. Though rattan is the most familiar, willow bark, straw, cane, banana bark, twisted paper & even grasses can be used to produce different textures & natural colors of wicker. The more modern vinyl or resins retains the airy look of traditional wicker, but is lightweight, durable, UV & heat resistant.

2) CONDITION OF THE MATERIALS Materials should be pliable & shiny. Look for splits or breaks. Splinters will be uncomfortable & splits will cause the weave of the furniture to loosen & shift.

3) OVERALL CONSTRUCTION
Newer pieces may have a metal frame underneath the woven material to add strength, yet retain the relaxed country feel of wicker patio furniture or wicker chairs. Wicker tends to bend & conform to weight. The tighter the weave, the less flex & bend. Wicker can be difficult to assemble; make sure the pieces you buy are pre-assembled. To protect the bottom of the legs look for metal caps or casters.

4) CHECK THE FINISH OR PAINT
Most wicker is painted white or black; some wicker is left the natural color or stained. The finish should be smooth with no streaks or discolorations. It should be dry & odorless. Your wicker should be waterproofed - either prior to purchase or when you get it home.

5) LOCATION
A hot, dry environment or direct sun will cause wicker to become brittle, crack & fade. The best place for wicker furniture is on a covered porch, deck or patio or inside a gazebo. If you live in a hot, dry climate, use a plant mister & mist the wicker on a regular basis.

6) MAINTENANCE OF WICKER
Clean your wicker regularly. Revitalize natural fibers with furniture wax or polish. Vacuum your wicker & clean it with a damp cloth or soft toothbrush. Dry your wicker to prevent mold.

Wicker patio furniture will be a practical & comfortable addition to your outdoor living environment. By varying the color & textures of the cushions you can totally change the mood evoked by wicker patio furniture, allowing you to change the "theme" of your outdoor living area quickly & inexpensively. The classic curves & soft, cushioned seats of your wicker patio furniture will make guests feel welcome & provide enjoyment for years to come.