When buying rattan garden furniture online you really need to take your time to make sure you are comparing like for like as there are so many different qualities, sizes, designs and styles that it is easy to become confused and start to assume that cheaper product might offer better value which isn’t always true.
Some retailers will use clever imagery and take photos from certain angles to make items look bigger than they are so one of our top tips is to make notes of all the products you are considering and check the dimensions, you’ll be surprised what a difference a few CM can make on a dining chair and the difference it makes to comfort. Similarly, with sofas, the depth of seats and height of back cushions can make all the difference between sitting comfortably and uncomfortably.
The thickness of the frame is a key cost in the design and manufacture of rattan furniture and is something you should also consider. Arms on sofas and lounge chairs can range from 5cm to 15cm wide, whilst some consumers may not consider this as a key part of the decision making, you will need to consider the comfort you want when sitting in your garden and having somewhere to rest drinks or a tried arm will be appreciated later down the line long after the decision of cost is made.
Steel or Aluminium frames
Frame material directly relates to the retail price of furniture but also relates to the life expectancy. Steel frames are approximately 25% to 30% cheaper to manufacture than Aluminium frames but they will rust within 1 or 2 years, so you’ll find most steel framed furniture only comes with a 1-year guarantee. If you are happy to replace your furniture every couple of years and purchase furniture manufactured with steel frames (as are many consumers), then the only other thing to consider is the orange pool of rust water that you’ll find around the feet of the chair and tables legs. This won’t be too noticeable if your furniture it placed on grass or old decking but will be highly visible on any light coloured ceramic tiles or newly laid decking. Unfortunately removing rust stains from many surfaces is difficult and often requires replacing the affected area.
Aluminium frames, however, are extremely weatherproof and can be left outside, even in damp and cold conditions, without rusting. Garden furniture with aluminium frames will typically come with 3-year – 10-year guarantees.
Flat packed or Pre-Assembled
Like steel frames, flat packed frames are approximately 25% to 30% cheaper to manufacture and import to the UK than pre-assembled frames but price is about the only redeeming feature for flat packed rattan furniture. Over time the steel bolts will rust, these bolts will also require tightening and if they fall out you may struggle to find the right size replacements. With rusty, loose bolts the furniture will begin to wobble and become unstable making the furniture dangerous for young children and elderly people use. The benefits of investing in pre-assembled furniture our notable and whilst the upfront cost will be higher the long-term value you will get will outweigh any cost implications.
There are lots of different materials being used for the cushions on rattan garden furniture and whilst some are good there are some that must be avoided. Acrylic and Olefin fabrics are amongst the best fabrics for use on outdoor furniture due to their durability and fade resistance levels; which are the highest of all fabrics, however with all quality products these fabrics are not cheap and will add many hundreds of pounds to the cost of the furniture. Polyester fabrics are the most commonly used fabrics within the Garden Furniture industry as they offer great value for money but there are many different qualities of polyester cushions and not all these qualities are really suitable.
Considerations to make are:
The weight of the fabric will often start at 160GSM (Gram per square meter), going through to 320GSM. We would urge you to use caution when considering purchasing any furniture using 160GSM as the fabric could be considered “paper thin” and when held up to daylight is almost totally see through. The lights the fabric the quicker it will rot and eventually tear. Acceptable qualities are 230GSM and upwards.
If you want a better-looking cushion with a softer feel and more luxurious finish you should consider looking at Polyester Spun fabric cushions as these are manufactured differently to plain polyester cushions and contain a mixture of Polyester and Acrylic yarns. This will enhance the life of the cushion as well and the overall look and feel.
The stitching of an outdoor cushion is crucial as some cushions will be made using cotton threading which is much cheaper than polyester threading, but cotton will rot, and the seams of these cushions will split within 1 or 2 years of use. We thoroughly recommend checking with the retailer to ensure polyester threading is used in the manufacturing process.
Fade resistant cushions are essential as they completely change the look of the furniture and manufacturers of rattan furniture can help slow the fading process by using special UV treatments on the cushion fabrics. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t, as the cost is considerable and can add up to 20% extra to the price of the cushion fabric. Different levels of fade resistance are graded from 4 to 8, level 4 represents untreated fabrics and level 6 is where you should aim for best value for many.
There are only a couple of different fillings used inside a garden cushion, but they differ considerably in comfort, longevity and price so make sure you know what cushion filling the set you’re considering buying in made using.
The main filling types are Foam, Fibre and a mixture of Foam wrapped in Fibre. The most expensive and best quality is Foam wrapped in fibre as this style of filling will look good aesthetically and recover from weather damage the best from all types available. The Foam filling will provide the strength to the cushion and means that the cushion will last longer without going flat whilst the Fibre wrap will add comfort and make the cushion look soft and rounded instead of a hard, square slab. However, with any Foam filling you have the potential for water to be retained over a longer period within the Foam, which unless dried thoroughly can lead to the filling rotting inside the cushion case. The best filling to use is Fibre, however there are varying differences in the quality of Fibre ranging from CMHR 21 to CMHR 30 (Combustion Modified High Resilient), suitable for garden furniture. The lower grades of fibre will go flat within 1 to 2 years whilst the higher grades of fibre will last up to 5 years depending on usage. The most ugly and worst value for money filling is straight foam filling. These fillings will retain water, sit uncomfortably, look bad and cost more than a good quality Fibre options that is far more suitable.
If you are concerned about how your furniture will arrive then we recommend checking with the supplier on how they package your furniture safely and securely so that it arrives without damage.
At White Stores, we ensure that all of out products are wrapped in bespoke mail order packaging that is suitable for each item. We also work closely with our third-party couriers to ensure the pallet delivery service does not damage the furniture. Alternatively, we deliver larger items on our own vehicles to ensure no damage is incurred.
The thickness of the glass on your coffee tables and dining tables can make a huge difference to the rattan underneath. The thicker the glass the more protected your rattan is from the sun. Additionally, should any accidents occur the thicker the glass, the less chance of smashing.
All of our glass ranges from between 5mm to 8mm in thickness and is tempered for extra safety.
Fixtures and Fittings
As previously stated, flat packed furniture is cheaper but not of good quality. However, even if you opt for a better quality furniture some elements may have to be assembled, this mainly applies to dining tables. For these instances you will want to ensure that the fixtures and fittings are the correct size and of strong quality.
All of our furniture is welded together to avoid bolts coming loose, however our dining tables do require assembly for which we provide the correct sized screws and tools to help fit these securely.
PE v PVC Rattan Quality
There are several types of rattan materials including PVC, PU and PE materials. PVC and PU synthetic rattan materials are the cheaper option, however, they are not as weatherproof as PE and therefore only come with a 1-year guarantee as standard. PVC and PU can often crack or go brittle when left outside in cold weather and can often sag when exposed to heat.
However, PE synthetic rattan is fully weatherproof and can be left outside all year round. It will not crack or go brittle and, although it is more expensive, guarantees on this material can range from 3-10 years.
As standard, at White Stores we only use PE rattan for all of our rattan garden furniture.
Rattan Styles – Flat v Half Round v Rod
There are many weave styles to choose from and your choice in weave could have a huge impact on the weight, durability and comfort of your furniture, as well as the price.
Flat weave is the most common weave style on the market and is incredibly popular for both gardens and business use. Flat weave rattan furniture is often cheaper than other rattan styles and is also the most lightweight, making it easy to move around. Flat weave is incredibly durable and requires virtually no maintenance. Dependent upon other factors, such as frame, flat weave typically has a guarantee of up to 5 years.
Half round weave is a popular weave as it is incredibly comfortable and looks luxurious. It is also available in more colours than flat weave, offering much more flexibility style wise. Half round weave is slightly heavier than flat weave, but it is incredibly durable, requiring minimum care. Our half rod weave comes with a guarantee of 7 years as standard.
Rod weave is the most expensive style of rattan weave and also the heaviest, making it incredibly durable. It is very luxurious and comfortable to sit in and in many places comes with a guarantee of up to 10 years.
We hope that this information helps you to make an informed decision on your rattan garden furniture purchase. If you require more information, then please feel free to contact any of our team who will be happy to help.