Wicker furniture is comfortable, easy to move, and pretty durable. It also looks very nice when you want to add some decoration to your living area. Depending on the weave, it seems to do a good job letting the water run through it without pooling, but will rain ruin wicker furniture?
Even though wicker is versatile and rugged, it isn’t designed to get wet. It will be fine in the occasional drizzle or hosing down, but it won’t hold up to repeated heavy rains over time.
Don’t despair if you love wicker. There are ways to make wicker better in the rain. Once you know what might go wrong, you can adjust and make the furniture work better outside.
What Happens When Wicker Gets Wet?
If you only let your wicker furniture get wet occasionally, you probably won’t notice any ill effects. Just make sure it is allowed to dry out completely. Most wicker works fine if you make sure that it doesn’t keep getting wet.
Wicker is made from woven wood reeds. These reeds are pretty strong, but they are not the best at stopping water.
Most of these problems only occur if the wicker is not allowed to dry. If it stays in the water for extended periods, problems can occur. Outdoor wicker furniture works better in drier climates. If your yard gets rain and snow all the time, wicker will start experiencing all these issues.
Water can cause the wooden reeds to soften up, and over time they will start to bend more when in use. If they get wet enough, they will begin to rot, and eventually, the furniture won’t even be able to support its own weight, let alone yours.
Mold and Mildew
When wicker gets wet on a continual bias, the reeds can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Even if this doesn’t immediately start to cause the chair to break down, it can still cause many problems for the chair if left unchecked.
Mold and mildew may also cause health problems if you continue to use the chair. These can range from mild respiratory problems to much more severe issues.
Fibers in the reeds of wicker chairs can start to take on different colors if they are getting wet too often. It can affect the aesthetic of the furniture turning the once beautiful piece into something that looks gross.
Water on wicker can allow microbes to grow on the furniture. Once that starts to happen, your furniture may begin to smell. The odor might get worse when someone sits in the chair and shifts all of the reeds around.
You may not even notice the smell until you or a guest sit on the furniture, which might be embarrassing.
How Do You Protect Wicker Furniture from Rain?
Water isn’t great for wicker furniture. So you might start to think that the answer to will rain ruin wicker furniture has to be yes. However, you can change that answer.
If you have your heart set on using wicker furniture outdoors, there are many things you can do to help protect it and make it more useful outside in any weather. Some are things you do directly to the reeds, and some are extra steps you can take to keep it out of the rain.
A lot of wicker comes with extra cushions to help make them more comfortable. Many of these cushions are not waterproof. If you leave these on the furniture, it will ruin the pillow, and it will also cause more problems for the wicker.
The cushion can hold water on the wicker and cause the reeds to absorb more. By taking off the cushions, you will help the furniture dry quicker and not absorb the extra rain.
Paint the Furniture
Some paints exist to help waterproof your wicker. There are also marine varnishes that waterproof almost anything. You should apply multiple coats of paint to the whole chair. Make sure to cover the underarms and bottom of the chair for best results.
You can add more varnish if you want to skip the paint to maintain the current color of the wicker. If you use paint and varnish, you should reapply every three years. If you only use varnish, you need to reapply every two years.
Add Oil to the Wicker
Adding oil to your wicker can help keep the reeds from absorbing too much water. It won’t be a perfect water protection, but it can help buy your wicker some extra time if it gets rained on.
Add the tung oil when you first put the wicker out for the season using a soft towel. Cover the whole thing, including the undersides. At the end of the season, you will want to reapply the oil before you put it away.
There are two kinds of waterproof covers for the furniture. You can put a cover on when you are not using the items or cover the pieces all the time. Both styles can help keep your wicker safer.
Make sure you put the covers on correctly. If you don’t, water can get in and cause more harm to the furniture. Once water is in, it may not dry like it usually would, so it sits on the wicker, causing more problems.
Store Wicker In the Off-Season
When you are not using your wicker furniture, it is best to store it somewhere dry and safe. It can help the wicker avoid the rain and the snow, which will make the furniture last longer.
You can store the wicker anytime you aren’t using it, which will help prolong its life. Wicker is lightweight so moving it in and out of the garage is easy. It would be best if you stored it during seasons where you won’t be sitting outside.
If you are looking for outdoor furniture, some options might work better depending on where you live and how much water you get in a season. In addition, some of these options require very little upkeep at all.
Hardwood, in general, will do better in the rain and the snow. If you treat it with a wood stain, it will become even more durable. These options tend to be heavier and more challenging to move than wicker, but they keep that natural vibe that wicker offers.
Metal can be a great lightweight option. As long as you make sure metal dries and doesn’t get water pooling on it, it can last for a long time. Stainless steel and wrought iron are better in water, but aluminum is lighter, so you will have to decide which style you want to use.
Plastic is a lightweight option that isn’t affected by water. However, one downside comes from being more prone to discoloration from the sun.
There is even synthetic wicker that mirrors the appearance of wicker but is more durable in the elements. Though these artificial wickers aren’t as sustainable, they last longer when exposed to rain and still give many of the same qualities as natural wicker.
Final Thoughts on Wicker and Water
Will rain ruin wicker furniture? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that you can do plenty of things to make wicker furniture a better outdoor option. If you live somewhere that doesn’t get much rain and plan on taking steps to protect your wicker. It is a good choice.
However, if you’re looking for outdoor furniture that can hold up to the elements without much care, there may be better options. Wicker can only survive the rain if you are willing to take care of it.