Outdoor Patio Covers

Outdoor Furniture Choices: The Difference Between Wicker and Resin Wicker; Aluminum and Cast Aluminum

Posted in outdoor furniture by admin on the August 10th, 2010

Resin wicker outdoor furniture by Hampton Bay for just $79; cast aluminum tables starting at just $99; wrought iron dining tables for just $67; Napa Plantation style chairs for as little as $90; complete three piece bistro sets for just $179 – discount patio furniture and accessories from all the top manufactures.

The art of crafting outdoor patio furniture that doesn’t get damaged by the elements, is comfortable, stylish and keeps with the natural outdoorsy themes of gardens, decks and patio areas, has reached a crescendo with resin wicker and cast aluminum. What do we mean? Let’s take a look.

While everyone knows what wicker and rattan furniture is like, and how it reacts to even a little moisture or sun (how quickly it deteriorates), and most home decorators appreciate the idea of wrought iron bistro sets and patio dining tables because of their classic elegance (although prone to rust), and many are leery to opt for the rust-proof aluminum (because it gives the appearance of being cheap and often looks tinny), while the newer terms like “resin wicker” and “cast aluminum” are less known and therefore sometimes overlooked.

Here are the main questions that arise when discussing garden chairs, lawn furniture and metal or wicker patio furniture choices:

  1. What is resin wicker outdoor furniture all about? How is it different from natural wicker?
  2. What’s the difference between cast aluminum outdoor patio furniture and plain aluminum? And why do we talk about wrought iron when aluminum is mentioned?
  3. Does it really matter what patio furniture sets are made from so long as they’re comfy, match the décor, and are affordable?
  4. Resin Wicker Outdoor Furniture

How is resin wicker different from natural woven varieties?

Although it’s not immediately apparent by looking at chairs and tables, the main difference is that resin wicker isn’t wicker at all. In fact, the slender wicker-like fibers that are woven into end tables, patio dinning sets and bistro sets are synthetic resins, which in other words may be called “plastic”. We refrain from using the term plastic outdoor furniture when talking about the wicker style because it creates an incorrect picture of common plastic chairs and tables that are molded, are really cheap and not the least bit stylish.

Although resin wicker is synthetic, it’s woven and even stretched over heavy duty steel frames with much attention to detail. For example tables may have glass or ceramic inlays, there may be layers of different styles of weaving around edges of chairs or as decorative elements – all very similar to the genuine wicker creations from tropical islands, the Philippines and other Asian countries noted for handcrafted outdoor furniture.

Why choose resin over genuine wicker? Anyone who has bought the gorgeous handcrafted real wicker chairs and table sets and has put them on an open patio deck, or set them in a garden and has watched them slowly (sometime not so slowly) disintegrate with moisture and sun, will understand why resin is superior. Although it’s possible to treat natural wicker, its life expectancy is a few years at best, even if covered or taken care of. Eventually termites, mildew, moisture, mold, heat, water, or exposure to sun, will cause the furniture to weaken structurally. The woven seats will unravel or get holes due to rotting and weakening fibers, the legs will teeter and often fall off, and the chairs, tables and loveseats will end up in the garbage much sooner than their owners would like.

On the other hand, resin wicker will not get infested with termites, will not retain moisture and therefore is not prone to mildew, mold or rot. The frames are steel and therefore the legs and seats remain in tact even after years of use and outdoor exposure. Colors don’t fade quickly in the sun and, although the seats and backs and table tops are also hand woven, the materials are so resistant, it is unusual to find them with holes or falling apart. They are in fact completely weather resistant even when left uncovered and unprotected.

What about price? Outdoor dining furniture is not usually cheap, unless you choose the basic plastic round tables and molded chairs, which are fine in a pinch, but not something decorators will choose to enhance an outdoor patio or garden. Amongst the choices that are stylish and practical, the Hampton Bay patio furniture collections, which come in resin wicker, offer good value and a natural-looking alternative to genuine rattan or wicker products, and are even comparable in price to the leading metal, aluminum (cast aluminum) and wrought iron designs. Here are some examples of what you can get that’s reasonably priced:

1. The wicker chairs featured in this post are either Hampton Bay or the Bayside designs. One that is really great value (at the time of writing this piece) is the Hampton Bay Java model that’s crafted in resin wicker and comes in white and costs about $99. It’s available through Home Depot, either in their department stores or online.

Put together complete outdoor resin furniture sets to suite your needs by selecting other complimentary items. For example, the matching loveseat costs only $179 and comes in white, and has a 1 year warranty. The end tables, also crafted in resin wicker, are really affordable at just $79 each.

Fulllength coffee tables are about $99, and the glass top dinning table is only about $95. Create a set for a few hundred dollars and have furniture that will last year after year.

Oh, by the way, don’t forget that you can get traditional floral or contemporary patio furniture cushions that fit these large wicker chairs and loveseats, and if you choose the fabrics by companies like Sunbrella, or Plantation Patterns, they will also be weather resistant and will withstand a lot sunshine without fading.

These items can be placed on a deck or in a garden. They also make ideal lawn furniture or can be garden chairs in areas that are unprotected by a patio cover or roof. They are all crafted with steel frames so they won’t easily fall apart. All are guaranteed to be weather-resistant, fade-proof, and will not become saggy in the seat, give splinters or get filled with mildew even in humid regions. Cleaning the Hampton Bay outdoor furniture is also easy. Just use soap and water – in fact you can spray them with a garden hose. They are indeed, affordable, stylish and maintenance free. (Just a note: the other furniture sets that are very elegant and well crafted, available through Home Depot, are the Martha Stuart Living collections. There are great bargains like a complete 6 piece set, when on special, for about $975. Choose your own accent cushions separately.)

II. Wrought Iron, Aluminum and Cast Aluminum Outdoor Furniture

We begin this segment by answering the initial question: How is cast aluminum different from regular aluminum outdoor patio furniture? That will also answer why aluminum comes up when wrought is mentioned.

First of all, aluminum is lightweight metal, often crafted in simple outdoor furnishing designs that are contemporary, but are seldom decorative or made in traditional garden styles. On the other hand, cast aluminum, while still being light weight and resistant to corrosion, is molded or poured and used for wrought style creations. The cast aluminum outdoor furniture that’s on the market resembles the classic wrought iron designs that have been used for centuries in gardens and terraces around the world. The main benefit is that, while it’s forged metal, which in every way resembles iron, it’s light to move, easy to maintain, resistant to rust and durable even when left outdoors in inclement weather. It has almost taken over the metal garden furniture industry due to it being less expensive to manufacture (because of its lower melting point), more cost efficient to transport (which is why when buying online these products usually qualify for free delivery) and resists the elements offering better value for your dollar spent.

Good examples of outdoor furniture chairs, tables, loveseats and other items that are weather resistant, can be found from a company called FlowerHouse. We recommend these creations because they’re uniquely delicate in structure (with butterfly wings as backs) and yet crafted from cast aluminum that’s also been powder coated to give an additional durable finish suitable even for poolside environments where water, chlorine, sun exposure and other abuses could harm furnishings.

The price of these chairs start at just under $140 and full benches are just $389, while tables cost about $279. These are good prices considering the unique styling, the durability of the materials used and the ease of purchasing.

High Quality Hanamint Outdoor Furniture In Cast Aluminum

For high end cast aluminum creations that are top of the line, more expensive, but exclusive and unique, there are few better choices than those that come from the Hanamint outdoor furniture collections.

The Hanamint styles have been gracing gardens and terraces since 1993. They specialize in both cast aluminum and cast iron pieces. Although some of the manufacturing process takes place in China, their finishing and distribution centers are in the United States. They offer online catalogues, however their products are only for sale through showroom dealers and reputable online retailers.

Alumont is also a manufacture of high end cast aluminum outdoor patio furniture that’s a cut above. Their collections range from classic scrollwork to sleek contemporary simplicity.

The process that’s used to craft these intricate pieces of furniture is extensive, done in the Alu-mont manufacturing plant in California. The finishing of the framework is one of the most rigorous of the industry. First the metal is ground so that all pieces are smooth, ready to undergo an eight step process that includes washing, double rinsing, applying an aluminum sealant, then oven drying. Next a powder coating is applied and then the cast aluminum frame is baked once again.

If there are cushions attached to the frames, then the straps that mount them to the metal are riveted in place and UV protection is applied, as well antifungal treatments, to ensure mold and mildew will not grow therein.

The wide range of collections are then shipped to distributors and retailers, many of which are online representatives of the products.

The Alu-mont and Hanamint lines are often sold by the same retailers, and are related in some ways since Hanamint Corporation made an agreement with Alumont and now work together. Although you can’t buy directly from the manufacturer (unless you’re a retailer or furniture dealer), you can still browse their catalogues and choose items that suit your needs knowing they are high quality products. Then, knowing the item name or model number, it’s easy to find a retailer who sells the outdoor garden furniture you’ve chosen. In that way, you’re not at the mercy of advertising gimmicks or so called special offers on items that will not prove themselves to be bargains in the long run.

For more specific information regarding Teak Furniture that’s expressly designed for outdoor use, and high quality Wicker Furniture, please browse related topics. We offer advice on shopping for Patio Furniture, choosing Cushions and Patio Covers to protect chairs/tables as well as ideas on building roofs and getting the best Sun Shades, Aluminum Patio Covers and Awnings.

We provide suggestions on choosing wood versus vinyl (and other materials) for covering decks and porches (also Carports), and provide insight into alternatives.

We also have interesting ideas on little extras for your garden like Gazebos, Sheds, garden houses and even unusual Summer House concepts for having holidays at home.

And speaking about holidays, we have lots of ideas and the latest news on Caravan Awnings (both new and used) for mobile homes and campers, so your travels can be enjoyed as much outdoors as on the road.

When it comes to putting up outdoor buildings, covering decks patios and porches, furnishing or decorating your patio or garden, we have recommendations that are both stylish and practical. We have solutions for helping you expand the usage of your outdoor space into the winter months and how to create patio enclosures that will keep you within your budget.

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