The choice of material can make a big difference in the quality and enjoyment you get from your outdoor furniture. Two of the most popular styles are teak wood and all-weather wicker. But which one is better for your backyard—wicker or teak?
Each one has some advantages over the other, so the ultimate decision will depend on your circumstances and preferences. To help you make up your mind easier, let’s compare and contrast lawn furniture made from teak vs wicker furniture.
Teak furniture advantages
To start with, let’s consider teak garden furniture. As you may know, teak is an extremely dense variety of hardwood that grows natively in Southeast Asia and India.
The two main advantages of teak are beauty and durability.
Teak wood is very attractive, especially when it is freshly cut or sanded. It has a lovely honey toned golden color and feels ever so slightly oily to the touch. This is because of the natural protective oils found in mature teak trees. The wood is infused with this oil from the inside, giving it protection from insects, fungus, rot, and water damage.
Teak wood furniture looks luxurious and classy, and it feels that way too. The color of the wood will fade over time, however, you can help to maintain this look with an annual teak sealer treatment. Other than treatment to preserve color, teak wood is quite easy to care for. An occasional deep cleaning is all that is needed.
As mentioned, teak wood is very dense and strong. It won’t get damaged by bad weather, and it is so heavy that even a hurricane would have trouble knocking teak furniture over.
Due to teak’s beauty and durability, it has a well-earned reputation as the highest quality wood for outdoor furniture. This gives it an air of prestige that is unmatched by other patio furniture materials. Owning a teak dining set is a bit like saying you drive a Mercedes Benz or wear a Rolex watch. You know top quality when you see it and don’t mind paying for the very best.
Teak is also a great investment. A top quality furniture set can last literally decades. There’s even a good chance that the teak furniture you buy today will outlive you.
Wicker furniture advantages
Wicker is another popular choice for lawn furniture, but for different reasons.
First of all, we need to clarify that when speaking of wicker furniture we are talking about all-weather wicker made from synthetic material.
I’ll be the first to say that I originally assumed “wicker” always meant woven natural reeds, and that synthetic materials constituted “fake wicker”, but this isn’t actually the case.
“Wicker” itself is not a material, but rather a term to describe any product constructed by the weaving of semi-rigid materials. Wicker weaving is typically used for making furniture, baskets, and other household items. It can be made from natural materials such as bamboo, willow, and rattan. However, nowadays nearly all the outdoor wicker furniture you see is made from synthetic resin or plastics such as Polyethylene.
All-weather wicker, resin wicker, PE rattan, and polyrattan are all different names for the same thing—wicker made from Polyethylene woven onto a rigid frame of iron, aluminum, or wood.
Resin wicker is far more durable when used outdoors compared to wicker woven from natural materials. This is because it is basically immune to damage from the sun and rain. Natural rattan wicker looks and feels great, but should only be used for indoor furniture due to the structural damage that it can suffer from moisture.
PE rattan furniture, on the other hand, can sit outside all year long with no ill consequences. It’s even easier to care for than teak because no special measures are required to mitigate color fade. Mold, mildew, and burrowing insects are likewise of no real concern. Dust and dirt are the only adversaries you need to be aware of, and a simply scrubbing with soapy water should do the trick.
Wicker furniture is also much more lightweight when compared to teak wood. So it is much easier to move around and reposition.
Another advantage, of course, is the price. Wicker furniture is usually significantly cheaper than similar teak furniture.
While it is mostly rigid, wicker furniture also has a bit of give to it, so it can be slightly more comfortable for sitting, although this depends on the particular design. If a chairs armrests are not wide, they won’t be very cozy for resting your arms no matter the material. And for whatever reason, teak wood chairs tend to have wider armrests than a lot of the wicker options being sold.
Wicker also has a bit more of a casual feel to it. This makes it a great choice if you want to create a relaxing environment. This is readily apparent in the overall difference of typical wicker vs teak patio furniture designs.
Wicker tends to be used more in casual conversation sets with sofas, low seats, and coffee tables—perfect for creating your own chill-out zone in your backyard. Teak wood, on the other hand, is a better choice for dining tables, benches, and rocking chairs, although you’ll find some great teak wood conversation sets with deep-seating cushions as well.
As mentioned above, the overall best choice of material for your patio furniture will depend on your own personal preference and needs.
Generally, though, we can consider the advantages of each material over the other:
- The most durable option. Will last many decades.
- More luxurious, prestigious material to own.
- Classy appearance suitable for dining sets and timeless pieces such as benches and rockers.
- Designs with wider armrests may be more comfortable than wicker options.
- Cheaper price when compared to teak.
- The easiest option to care for.
- Lighter and easier to move.
- More of a casual feel, suitable for a chill-out zone.
- Can be more comfortable, as the material has some degree of give.
Teak and wicker together
Now there is a third option you might consider, especially for a large dining set, and that is to combine teak and wicker together. There are some unique advantages that you get by pairing a top quality teak wood table with all-weather wicker chairs.
For starters, this can be cheaper than purchasing a full set of teak wood chairs and table.
As chairs are the items that get moved around the most, having wicker ones can be more convenient.
When it comes to protective treatments, the table is a large flat surface, making it quite simple to apply a sealer or even sand down when needed. Wooden chairs, on the other hand, have rungs and lots of nooks and crannies that make proper cleaning and treatment application more of a time consuming task. With wicker chairs, you can simply hose them down and scrub with soapy water—leaving just the large flat table in need of any special care.
Also, with purchasing a teak table, you can always decide later to upgrade from your wicker chairs by purchasing a set of teak chairs.
The number of teak and wicker combined dining sets you can find are a bit limited. So if you don’t find any you like, you can simply purchase the teak table and wicker chairs separately. This will give you many more styles and combinations to choose from.