Rattan is generally known as one of the easiest furniture materials to maintain. However, over time it can become discolored and may need a touch-up. We've researched the best way to refinish rattan furniture, and in this post, we will share it with you.
Here are the steps to refinish rattan furniture:
- Vacuum the furniture thoroughly
- Repair any damaged areas
- Clean the furniture with mild dish soap
- Let the furniture dry out
- Sand the furniture with sandpaper
- Apply a single coat of paint or lacquer
- Additional coats as needed
Now that you've got the basic steps, stay with us as we delve into how to do each, along with any materials you may need. We'll also provide a few tips to determine that your furniture is indeed rattan, keep your rattan protected outdoors, and prevent it from drying out.
7 Steps To Refinish Rattan Furniture
Refinishing your rattan furniture can help to restore its natural luster and make it look brand new. It's also just as important to properly maintain the furniture so that it holds up well over the years. Continue reading to learn about how to refinish your furniture and keep it looking awesome for years to come.
Things you'll need:
- Dish soap
- 300-grit sandpaper
- Two-gallon bucket
- Microfiber cloths
- A sponge
- Large towels
- Beeswax wood conditioner
- Painter's tape
- Varnish or lacquer
1. Vacuum the furniture thoroughly
Vacuum the furniture thoroughly using a bristle attachment. Be sure to get around the seating and in between any cracks and crevices. Be sure to remove the furniture's cushioning, if possible, and any decorative items lying on top of it, such as pillows, throws, etc.
2. Repair any damaged areas
Take this time to repair or replace any damaged areas with flexible cane or leather strips if possible. You can use furniture glue to repair any splintered sections.
3. Clean the furniture with mild dish soap
Fill your two-gallon bucket with lukewarm water and add half a tablespoon of dish soap. Next, grab one of your microfiber cloths and wipe down the rattan furniture to remove any caked-up dirt or grime. Be sure to get between all the cracks and crevices, and then flip the furniture upside down to clean the pieces' undersides --pay special attention to this area as it's more likely to harbor settled dust and debris. After cleaning the furniture, rinse your cleaning cloth and wipe it down again.
4. Let the furniture dry out
If the furniture's outside, place it in a covered location to dry out. Be careful of placing the furniture in an area that receives direct sun, as it can become damaged if exposed for too long.
5. Sand the furniture with sandpaper
Once the furniture has dried out, take your sandpaper and lightly go over each piece from top to bottom, making sure to get in between all cracks and crevices. Use a dry cloth or a hairdryer to blow away the dust, as a lot will develop during this process. Make sure that all dust is removed from the furniture before moving to the next step.
6. Apply a single coat of paint or lacquer
Next, grab your polish and coat the furniture lightly, making sure to get between each woven strand. If you're using a spray-on lacquer, be sure to spread it evenly over the entire surface of the furniture and work your way from the top to the bottom. Also, be sure to keep the nozzle about 10 to 12 inches from the furniture to keep it from dripping. If you are using liquid lacquer, be sure to work the lacquer into the material using your microfiber cloth so that you cover it thoroughly.
7. Additional coats as needed
After applying the first coat, wait about an hour before applying the second coat. And if you are applying additional coats, make sure to wait before for the previous coat to dry first.
How do I know if my furniture is rattan?
Rattan furniture can sometimes be confused with bamboo or wicker furniture. Let's go over their differences. For starters, furniture that is made of rattan material will usually have a label that says as much—the same thing as bamboo furniture. Also, rattan is a solid and flexible material that can be shaped into intricately designed pieces.
On the other hand, bamboo is hollow and stiff and typically isn't used for furniture making so much as it is for home building. The terms wicker and rattan are sometimes used interchangeably. However, unlike rattan, wicker is actually a method and style of weaving; it's not an actual material.
How long does rattan furniture last outdoors?
Natural rattan furniture can't withstand exposure to extreme outdoor elements very well. It doesn't hold up well in strong direct sunlight for extended periods of time, and it can become damaged if it gets soaked by rainfall. That being stated, synthetic rattan, on the other hand, is designed to be resistant to outdoor use and can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years if properly maintained.
How do I keep my rattan from drying out?
There are several ways to keep your writing from drying out. Let's discuss them.
Keep it away from sunlight
Exposing natural rattan to direct sunlight can, over time, dries out the furniture and causes it to discolor. The furniture can begin to develop tears and cracks and its construction, making it unstable for use.
Keep it humid
If you like to crank up the heat to 78 degrees in the wintertime, be sure to install a humidifier in the room in which you have rattan furniture. You can also crack a window in the room to allow fresh, humid air from the outside. It's also best to keep the furniture at least a few feet away from sources of direct heat such as radiators, space heaters, and vents. Prolonged exposure to direct heat can cause the furniture to dry out and warp.
If the furniture has begun to split due to dryness, it's best to prevent further damage by treating it with linseed oil or tung oil, in addition to raising the humidity of the space in which it's located.
Wipe down dry or brittle areas
Use a damp cloth to wipe down the furniture every month or two. Take care not to soak the material in water, however. If you find that it's over-saturated, be sure to let it dry outdoors, if possible. Doing so will prevent it from permanently losing its original shape.
Give it a spritz
You can also give your furniture a monthly spritz with a glycerin or lemon oil-based soap. Ensure that the oil is diluted, and then spray the sides and bottom of the furniture before wiping it down with a clean microfiber cloth. It's best not to spray the solution on the top of the furniture as you don't want these sitting areas to become oily. It's also a good idea to cover the cushions beforehand. If you don't have a spray bottle, you can wipe the furniture down with a semi-damp sponge.
How do I protect my rattan furniture outside?
Protecting your furniture while it's outside is essential to preserving its life. Let's look at the best way to do this.
Paint the outdoor wicker furniture
Painting your rattan furniture is a great way to protect it from weather damage. Certain paints are specifically designed for this type of furniture, and painting it is fairly easy. It's best to leave the bottom portion of the furniture untainted, however, so that it can breathe.
Applying lacquer to your rattan furniture will help it become resistant to water. However, it's important to note that the lacquer may not protect it against long periods of rainfall, and it may develop mold if exposed to water for too long. Applying two to three lacquer coats can reduce the likelihood that the water will penetrate the material's surface, causing it to soften and stretch.
Cover the outdoor wicker furniture
This is one of the best ways to protect your furniture from outside elements. You can purchase plastic tarps to cover your furniture outside. These tarps are relatively inexpensive. It's also a good idea to install a retractable awning that extends over the furniture to protect it on days where there is rain or other precipitation.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has expanded your knowledge on how to refinish and care for rattan furniture. Remember to always look at the care instructions when purchasing rattan furniture to note the best ways to care for your specific furniture.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: