SYNTHETIC OR NATURAL RATTAN FURNITURE
Rattan garden furniture can either be made from natural rattan, one of over 600 species of tropical palms or from synthetic fibres. As a result, many people have difficulties deciding between the two options.
The reason synthetic rattan is produced is that natural rattan furniture does not always stand up particularly well to the climate of New Zealand and can be affected by mould if it becomes wet too often. Synthetic rattan is usually resistant to the elements and more suitable for outdoor use in New Zealand.
Rattan effect garden furniture is often made from poly-rattan, plastic, polythene or a polyethylene alternative which is designed to look identical to natural rattan. The up side to synthetic rattan furniture is that it is more resistant to the New Zealand weather conditions.
Synthetic rattan is lighter and stronger than natural rattan, extremely flexible, and can be woven into an infinite range of shapes. Some types of polyethylene weave are also resistant to ultraviolet light so they will not fade.
It is generally agreed that natural materials reflect a special sense of warmth that simply is not there in man made materials no matter how much they resemble the original. When it comes to rattan, it is hard to tell the difference between natural and synthetic version. Additionally, there is no difference between natural and synthetic rattan when it comes to comfort.
If you do prefer natural rattan you can make it more weatherproof by applying a coat of water sealant or lacquer.