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The ultimate guide to choosing outdoor fabric

In this modern day, we are lucky enough to have a wide selection of appropriate garden furniture fabrics, which all have different pros and cons. In some ways this market saturation makes it a lot harder to decide which option is right for you. It also makes it harder when you don’t know which criteria you should be marking your options against.

If this sounds like you, don’t fear. We will outline the 3 essential factors you should consider before making any outdoor fabric-related decisions, as well as proposing which products truly tick every box. There may be a lot of outdoor fabric brands, but there is only one which we believe is miles ahead of the rest - Sunbrella®.

The ultimate guide to choosing an outdoor fabric for your garden furniture

No matter where in the world you live, it’s likely that your garden furniture will come into contact with water, whether that’s from rain, snow, sleet or condensation. Unfortunately for us Brits, the likelihood of this occurrence is much higher than we would prefer! The benefits of having weatherproof garden furniture ultimately means no more running to gather all the outdoor cushions or throw on the covers just before the heavens open. It may sound like a small thing, but the little wins in life mustn’t be underestimated.

It’s important to note that all materials have differing levels of waterproofing, which can be increased further by using treatments such as Fabric Protector. Without these added layers, most materials will absorb the water and deteriorate, damage and wear away. All Sunbrella® fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish that makes them completely water-resistant and forces water droplets to pearl on the surface of the fabric, instead of being absorbed through. This exceptional treatment makes Sunbrella® the perfect upholstery material for garden furniture.

Although the majority of water is repelled naturally by the Sunbrella® cushion case, it’s almost impossible to create a fabric which is completely waterproof, due to the tiny spaces between threads and seams. That’s why we design all our furniture with quick dry foam technology; any water that does pass through the fabric and into the foam will quickly drain out of the bottom of your furniture. This incredible drainage quality stops the material from becoming saturated, meaning your furniture is ready to use again with 30 minutes.

The ultimate guide to choosing an outdoor fabric for your garden furniture

This clever combination of materials makes it ideal for outdoor use and can be left outside all year round, without the need to cover or move. This nifty engineering, and quick expulsion of any water or damp, also results in the chances of any mould or mildew development being greatly reduced. Therefore, by choosing a weatherproof material, such as Sunbrella®, you are most importantly investing in the lifespan of your furniture.

The ultimate guide to choosing an outdoor fabric for your garden furniture

Arguably one of the strongest benefits of Sunbrella® fabric is its extreme resistance to fading. The fabric is made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic. This may sound technical, but all this means is that the fabric is dyed from the inside-out, as opposed to just the surface. The result of utilising such a powerful dying technique is outstanding colour pigmentation, guaranteed to last for years to come. More specifically, Sunbrella® fabric comes with a 5-year warranty, a promise practically unheard of in the outdoor upholstery industry. We are confident that the lifespan will even extend much further than this 5-year bracket without degradation. Many of our oldest customers are still enjoying the revolutionary properties of Sunbrella® fabric furniture with no sign of age.

Sunbrella® offers several different grades of fabric, all designed for different purposes. As well dominating the garden furniture industry with their upholstery line, Sunbrella® is also the first choice of upholstery fabric in the nautical sector with their marine grade line. This is largely due to its incredible resistance to fading, even in the harshest of salty-sea air. If Sunbrella® can resist fading in the harshest of sea storms and bright UV exposure on the open water, then we’re confident that the milder British weather is truly no match for its mighty powers against the elements.

The ultimate guide to choosing an outdoor fabric for your garden furniture

It’s no surprise then, after discovering its water and fade resistant properties, Sunbrella is also able to withstand cleaning chemicals and even a pressure washer. This ability can be extremely beneficial when it comes to cleaning up stains and spills. Although you need to carry out a general clean a few times a year to prevent the build up of dirt and grime, the true power of the fabric is unveiled when it comes to spot cleaning. If you thought red wine, chocolate and tomato sauce spillages were impossible stains to remove… then think again! This unique ability to wipe away such stubborn stains with few supplies and little effort, is almost legendary. If you have dogs which have a particular fondness of dirty puddles or accident-prone children, then Sunbrella’s low maintenance and easy-care may be the clincher for you.

For more detail on specific cleaning techniques, Sunbrella have a useful guide on their website, outlining various types of spills and which methods of cleaning is recommended. We have also produced our own guide to cleaning and maintaining your garden furniture.

We understand that fabric garden furniture can be an investment. Before deciding on any fabric, it’s important to consider whether the fabric is: water resistant, UV resistant and easy to clean. These properties will help to alleviate any concerns regarding damage or degradation when it comes to extreme weather conditions, muddy pets or unwanted spillages. There’s no doubt that Sunbrella ticks all the boxes when it comes to finding the ideal outdoor fabric. It takes the worry out of garden furniture and puts life back into your garden.

If you’re looking for stylish furniture designs, upholstered in an outdoor material you can trust, shop the Westminster Outdoor Living 2023 collection today.

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