For many years all-weather fabrics, also known as spun polyester fabrics, have been the leader in use with replacement cushions because of the wide variety of different pattern choices available and the fact that they have a similar feel to the ever-popular indoor cotton-based fabric. Spun polyester is perhaps not the best outdoor fabric for longevity, but all-weather fabric serves an excellent purpose in meeting the needs of many at an economical price point and a wide selection. This article will assist you in understanding the benefits of All-Weather fabric and why you should consider using it the next time you have replacement cushions made.
State of Use
Using spun polyester all-weather fabric for replacement cushions has been a mainstay for pillow and cushion making for decades until more recently when acrylic fabrics like Sunbrella® appeared on the market. Even though acrylic fabrics have better resilience to fading and perhaps life expectancy due to their excellent ability to resist ultraviolet sunlight and the strength and durability of the acrylic yarn, all-weather fabrics hold the trump card for a much wider selection of floral and other desirable print designs.
All-weather fabrics became popular years ago because they were manufactured to withstand the outdoors as compared to their indoor counterpart, cotton-based fabric that did not fare so well in the outside elements. Spun Polyester fabric is a durable fabric manufactured with a spun polyester yarn that feels like cotton and is water-resistant. The fabric is suitable for being able to be machine washed and dried.
Printing Patterns, Stripes, Colors
It must be printed with ink to get a solid color, stripe, or design on an all-weather fabric. Printed spun polyester fabric starts as a white roll of fabric that is put through a printing process. The process applies the inks to the surface and subsurface of the fabric. Using this printing method, the designer can print any pattern they want with any colors they want on the polyester base leading to the multitude of spun polyester fabric patterns on the market.
The inks used provide between 300 and 500 hours of ultraviolet (UV) light protection before they begin to fade, compared to Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic fabric that offers a 5-year guarantee against fading at full exposure. Fading does not mean it’s the end of the cushions. Fading happens gradually to the extent that you won’t even see the fading in its first stages unless you put the fabric up against a piece that was never exposed to the sun.
So, the solution to the fading issue to enable your all-weather cushions to look better longer is to protect them from being exposed to UV rays when you’re not using them for long periods. This can be easily done by covering your furniture with furniture covers when you’re not using it, storing the cushions in a convenient storage trunk on your patio, or taking them inside out of the sunlight when they are not used. As much as this may be slightly inconvenient for some, it’s really not that bad, especially if you only have tufted cushions. If you have a lot of deep seating cushions, we recommend using furniture covers.
Furniture covers are an excellent way to protect your furniture and cushions from the detrimental effects of UV rays, dirt, and grime but it helps keep your furniture and cushions clean and protected during all times of the year. This is good advice, especially if you have problems with bird droppings, fruits, and berries dropping onto your furniture.
If all-weather fabric cushions begin to fade after a few hundred hours and other fabrics, such as Sunbrella fabrics, have a much longer UV exposure time before fading, why not just go ahead and buy the acrylic fabric cushions? The answer is simple, and its two-fold. It’s the cost and the wide variety of floral and other unique designs that all-weather fabric has over acrylics.
Acrylic fabrics are more expensive than all-weather fabrics because of the way they are manufactured in addition; cushion makers put a premium on making acrylic cushions as well. An all-weather fabric is printed, which is a much less expensive way to get the pattern on the fabric as compared to acrylic fabrics, which use solution-dyed yarns that need to be woven to implement the fabric pattern in addition to the price of the base acrylic material is more expensive than polyester.
The points brought out here suggesting you should buy spun polyester all-weather fabric cushions is based primarily on two things:
- Pure economics to get a great-looking and feeling cushion that will wear quite well at a reasonable price.
- The selection of fancy florals and patterns is enormous, and you can surely find something to coordinate with your furniture and decor by choosing all-weather fabrics.
Spun Polyester fabrics have thousands of available patterns, strips, and solids to choose from compared to acrylics. If you can’t find something you like in an all-weather fabric, you’re too picky or not looking hard enough. The designs are plentiful, ranging from olive drab to brilliant reds, yellows, blues, and violets. Cushions made with this fabric feel like they were made with cotton, and they wear very well. The cost can be between a quarter to half as much as acrylic fabric cushions, so there is a considerable saving whether you are replacing one or a patio full of old cushions.
There are many more benefits to using acrylic fabrics, but those will be covered in another article.
Take a video tour of our Wicker Living fabric gallery to learn where to find and review fabrics.