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Why Is Patio Furniture So Expensive?

Posted by on February 11th, 2019

With the rapid expansion of the Outdoor Living category, many traditional retailers and celebrity names are now entering the market to offer their take on outdoor furnishings. In your pursuit of creating your own backyard paradise, you may end up wondering: why is patio furniture so expensive?

Well, as the saying goes: you get what you pay for.

The manufacturers represented by The Wickery have built their furniture to withstand the elements of sun, snow, salt water and the varying climates in North America. The items that we carry are not meant to be replaced every two-three years and comes with a warranty ranging from 5 to 20 years. In fact, most of our customers get at least 7-10 years out of their furniture purchased at our store. With common-sense level maintenance, your outdoor furniture could last 15-20 years.

Before you venture out on your next shopping trip for outdoor furniture, please keep the following in mind:

Synthetic Wicker

COMPOSITION: HDPE vs. PVC? Low quality quicker will easily break down within a year or two. The factor that determines this is whether the material is HDPE or PVC. PVC is a cheaper material, a vinyl polymer that is composed of fillers and is the type of material used to make plumbing pipes. We have limited selection of PVC as a low-cost alternative for our customers with explicit warning of its short shelf-life.

HDPE stands for High Density Polyethylene and is a polyethylene thermoplastic derived from petroleum and has the highest tensile strength. Plainly stated: HDPE is pure, without fillers, and has a significantly long shelf-life that will last you for years to come. HDPE products will not be cheap, as many in the industry consider it as investment pieces.  On your next shopping trip, ask your salesperson if the outdoor wicker is HDPE. Manufacturers like Lane Venture and Lloyd Flanders are proud and confident in this feature and will provide consumers with at least a 5 year warranty.

FRAMES: In the early years of outdoor wicker, most of the furniture was constructed on rattan frames, which is susceptible to corrosion. This eventually evolved to steel or powder-coated steel which also corroded over time. When The Wickery started selling outdoor wicker over twenty years ago, we admittedly sold items that were on steel frames but converted to 100% aluminum frames in 2010.  Unfortunately, most of the lowest prices outdoor wicker furniture are still constructed on steel frames. That’s a big no-no. After prolonged exposure to the elements, the steel will corrode and you may find yourself on the floor with a broken chair leg.

Outdoor Wicker that has to be assembled is a signal that the frames were not welded in the factory. Watch for product/item description as “KD” meaning “Knock-Down.” The reason why manufacturers do this is because it saves space, saves on freight, cuts costs, increases profits in all the while decreasing the lifespan to the consumer.

Fire Pit Tables 

As a family company located right in Minnesota, The Outdoor GreatRoom Company (OGC) designs with safety, quality, and innovation in mind. OGC’s innovative experts design using the most innovative technology to ensure a user-friendly experience season after season. All OGC gas fire pit tables include our proprietary Crystal Fire® Burner. This top gas burner is UL Listed, which requires rigorous safety and quality testing for certification. The flames offer offer a full, warm look unlike any other in the industry. Crystal Fire® Burners are clean-burning and efficient for continuous enjoyment. These quality burners can run 8-16 hours on a 20-lb. liquid propane tank or can be hooked up to a natural gas line.

The fire tables are constructed out of durable, outdoor-rated materials. For example, the extra strong steel is powder-coated to further resist scratches, rust, and dents. Some of the gas fire tables are made out of composite, which offers a realistic wood look without the fear of cracking, rotting, and splinters. OGC’s proprietary blend of Supercast™ is 10 times the strength of concrete yet half the weight. Perfect to last brutal winters or unpredictable outdoor seasons! Each trendsetting fire pit is stylish yet versatile to fit your patio or backyard theme.

Teak

In a recent discussion with Joe Kilcourse, National Sales Manager of Barlow Tyrie, we learned the difference between Grades A, B and C of Teak. A is the highest grade and C is the lowest. Grade A teak is found at the center of the log, and has the highest concentration of natural oils, shows close/dense grains with a uniform golden brown color. Natural oils assist teak in fighting the elements and repelling insects. Grade A teak makes up about one quarter of the log, therefore has a high price.

Grade B & C teak are found at the outer cores of the log. Grade B has a lighter color, uneven grains and has hints of natural oils. It is less likely to withstand the outdoor elements. Grade C teak is the lowest grade,  has virtually zero presence of natural oils, is even in color and easily damaged. Like in school, you can pass with Grade C, but it will catch up to you.

Grades B and C teak are sometimes treated with chemicals in order to mimic the presence of natural oils found in Grade A teak.

Durable Fabric, Customizable Cushions & Covers

Whenever a customer visits The Wickery, we always emphasize: even if you don’t buy from us, PLEASE make sure you get Sunbrella fabric on your outdoor furniture. Why? Sunbrella is the gold standard for outdoor fabrics. It is easy to maintain while being fade, mold & mildew resistant. Watch this video and witness how Sunbrella cleans up with exposure to ketchup, chocolate and wine with a quick clean up of tap water and bleach.  Yes, fabric that can be cleaned with bleach without losing its color.

In addition, Sunbrella is UV protective, eco-friendly, customizable (there are hundreds of variations each season) and a 5-year warranty.

Sunbrella costs about $20 per yard and can go up to $200 per yard, depending on the designer, availability and complexity of the pattern. An average cushion requires at least one yard and one sofa requires at least 6 yards of fabric. You do the math.

Our manufactures also use the very best in fiber cores that will hold up over time. For example, Lane Venture has a patented WeatherMaster Drain-Through cushion system that uses all-fiber core with multiple layers of densified fiber and sewn-in mesh bottom that promotes water drainage for quick drying.

Finally, our brands manufacture cushions t0-order right here in the United States instead of placing a large order of a few basic colors from overseas.

USA: Support & Continuity

The Wickery is proud to carry brands that have a strong presence in the USA : Lloyd Flanders, Lane Venture, Outdoor Greatroom Company, Homecrest, Skyline Design, Malibu Outdoors, Classic Rattan and South Sea Rattan.

If issues ever arise, you can alway call on The Wickery or the manufacturers themselves. These companies have trained, polite, support-staff who are ready and willing to assist you with any issues. Did a cushion blow into the lagoon? We can replace that. Did you accidentally throw away the umbrella plug? We got your back. Need just ONE chair but don’t need the whole set? We can do that for you. Need an extra firm seat cushion for grandma? We got it.

 

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