BUYER BEWARE: PLASTIC RATTAN OUTDOOR FURNITURE

Synthetic weave furniture, also called all-weather wicker, can be an excellent investment for our oceanside, sun-drenched homes. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers make synthetic weave furniture from the right type of plastic. Some manufacturers use cheap plastic that will crack and split within one year from purchase. That is why it is critical to know what materials the manufacturer uses.

Since we have harsh conditions, including strong, direct sunlight and nearby saltwater, it is prudent to ensure you buy your outdoor furniture with caution. You have worked hard for your money – the last thing you want to do is have to replace your outdoor furniture every year.

Synthetics are an excellent option for outdoor furniture if you select the right kind. There are different types of synthetics and each performs differently. The options include cheap PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PP (polypropylene), PC (polycarbonate), PE (polyethylene) to the best, which is HDPE (High-density polyethylene). Buy the correct material, and your investment will last for decades. Buy the wrong type and you will end up replacing it within one season because it cracks and peels. Even more problematic is that it could be harmful to your health due to its toxicity.

Many of the synthetics available on the market in the outdoor furniture category use PVC. Not only is PVC a less durable choice because it will dry out and crack rapidly, but it also emits toxic compounds during construction and decomposition. What may appear to be a good deal at first will end up costing you financially and could potentially cause you and other people in your home health issues.

So why do some stores sell low-grade plastic furniture? 

Big box stores and department stores compete amongst each other based on lowest prices. Outdoor furniture manufacturers who supply to these retailers, many of whom are offshore in China and Taiwan, want to maintain their margins and look for ways to save costs. As a result, they often reduce the quality of the materials and manufacturing processes. Manufacturing standards are not as rigid as in North America if they exist at all.        

                                                               

HDPE is the highest quality resin material. Its high density means that it will not break, scratch, or chip. It is also stain-resistant and 100% recyclable. Most HDPE outdoor furniture pieces are also infused with UV inhibitors to not fade in direct sunlight. One of HDPE's other advantages over lower grades of synthetic rattans is that the furniture will not stick to your skin. Don't you hate that feeling?

How can you tell if that piece of outdoor furniture is low-quality synthetic or high-quality HDPE? One sign that the item is cheap vinyl material or low-grade synthetic is that it is shiny. Good quality synthetics are usually matte/flat.

To ensure the manufacturer made the furniture from the right resin, check its plastic resin identification code. Usually, you can locate the code on the packaging of the product. All HDPE items will display the HDPE code, a triangle made up of three arrows pointing clockwise and the #2 in the triangle's center.

The best option is to purchase your furniture from a knowledgeable company. A good company will know about all the possibilities and take the time to help you find the right solution.

Are you buying a new condo in Vallarta? Check out our website at www.solutionsmexico.com where we feature whole home furniture packages. We can even customize one to your décor style, budget and items required. And, join our Facebook Group for ideas and inspiration of what is available in Mexico: Mexico Furniture and Décor.