Wicker that can weather the elements
Looks like real thing, easy to care for
By Frances Ingraham Heins
Albany Times Union
Wicker furniture has been an attractive fixture on porches, patios and lawns since the mid-1800s. But it always had to be kept under a roof or awning to protect it from the rain and sun.
That's no longer a worry with all-weather wicker.
While natural wicker can peel, crack, splinter and unravel when left outside, all-weather wicker has been immersed in resin to protect it.
"All-weather wicker looks like the real thing and is so easy to care for," said Patricia Demento, co-owner of Moose Creek Ltd. outside Albany, N.Y.. "I have a white wicker cottage-style set on my front porch and a green settee on the back porch. The wicker, fabrics and cushions are fade-, stain- and mildew-resistant and repel water to a degree."
There are between 80 and 100 indoor and outdoor acrylic and polyester fabrics to choose from, plus decorative fringe and throw pillows, said Larry Mullins, a sales associate at Islander Pools near here. Cushions and fabrics by Lloyd/Flanders are treated with either a Teflon or ScotchGuard coating., he said.
Lloyd/Flanders produces all-weather wicker in a myriad of colors, including black, red, blue, green, white, bone and natural.
Wicker furniture pieces built on metal frames can be expected to last 20 years, said Mullins. "Some people leave it out all winter with just a protective covering over it, but a lot of people still like to store it or bring it in to the house to use in another room or sun room."
However, it is important to follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
Cautions with treating wicker
Spraying the cushion with a hose may penetrate the core of the cushion, where it will be too wet to sit on right away. To prevent dirt from becoming embedded, clean cushions on a monthly basis with a cloth and clear water or a mild soap in lukewarm water.
If grease spots go unattended, they can foster mold. So beware of insect repellents and tanning lotions that have an oil base.
Depending on the manufacturer, size and quality of the piece, all-weather wicker furniture ranges in price from $125 for a small table to $1,500 for a full sofa.