Q Which type of plastics and woven synthetics are best for garden furniture?
A Traditionally, solid plastic furniture (known as synthetic resin) has been a popular choice because it’s sturdy, light, easy to clean and relatively inexpensive. Dining sets, chairs and loungers are easily moulded and, once set, are rigid and strong.
However, the popularity of solid plastic has declined in recent years with the introduction of synthetic ‘rattan-effect’ weave. Designed to look like wood rattan, it’s made from a strong plastic that’s lightweight, weather-resistant and hard-wearing, yet looks stylish and contemporary.
As it’s plastic it’s less likely to split or unravel than real-wood weave. Good-quality rattan-effect resin furniture will be weaved on to an aluminium or steel frame that won’t rust.
Q What should I look for when buying garden furniture from plastic and woven synthetics?
A Find out what metal the frame is made of, particularly if it’s hidden from view by the resin weave; only choose stainless/galvanised steel or aluminium. Cheaper metals will quickly rust.
Look at how the resin weave has been stapled to the frame on the underside of the seat. Check for neat, even staples at frequent intervals; insufficient or sporadic stapling is likely to cause the rattan to unravel.
Q How do I care for garden furniture from plastic and woven synthetics?
A Solid plastic furniture is easy to clean and can be left outside in all weather, although prolonged exposure to strong sunlight will cause darker colours to fade.
Plastic rattan-effect weave is also extremely durable and can be left outside all year round, providing its frame is made from stainless steel, galvanised steel or aluminium.
In both cases, clean your furniture with warm water containing a mild detergent and use a cloth. Allow the furniture to dry completely before storing it away. Some manufacturers advise that you don’t store this type of furniture under cover because a build-up of moisture can cause mildew.