When it comes to picking the right material for your outdoor furniture cushions, the options are virtually limitless.
However, homeowners have varied tastes and preferences. That means the phrase “the right cushion fabric” may have different connotations depending on who you ask.
That said, there’s some consensus when it comes to what constitutes the ideal material for outdoor cushions. That’s especially if durability is your primary goal.
This article looks at the best outdoor cushion fabrics for longevity, but first things first.
Begin By Finding a Reputable Supplier
There are certain key considerations while shopping for outdoor cushion materials. There are equally many fabric recommendations to pick from. But even before you hit the stores, it’s best to start by identifying a reputable supplier of outdoor furniture and related accessories like cushions.
A subtle internet search for the phrase “outdoor cushions store near me” will turn up several outlets across the street where you can quickly grab these products. But how do you hunker down on the best store?
First off, prioritize outdoor cushions suppliers like SaltSunSand, who guarantee variety. The term “variety” here denotes both a wide range of materials as well as different fabric patterns. You can then choose the most durable fabric that also comes in your preferred designs and patterns.
It’s also prudent to deal with suppliers who maintain a team of professional outdoor space designers. The company should be able to dispatch design experts to your property even before issuing you with a quote. The designers will typically assess various elements of your outdoor space before recommending the best cushions. Among the aspects, they may examine include the type of your outdoor furniture, your property’s landscaping ideas, and the general ambiance.
Reading online reviews may also help you choose the best outdoor cushion supplier. Such feedback can offer a sneak preview into the quality of cushions the retailer offers. You may also get invaluable insights into key aspects of their services, such as shipping and returns policies.
Last but not least, prioritize companies that provide reasonably-priced outdoor cushions. The best way to go about that would be to compare prices across several potential suppliers to hone in on the most affordable one.
Understand the Factors That Influence the Durability of Outdoor Cushions
You’ll come across numerous outdoor cushion materials marketed as long-lasting. But before you take your pick, it’s prudent to understand the specific aspects that qualify a fabric as durable. Below are some of those factors;
- Water- and Mildew-repellence
Outdoor cushions are continually exposed to a significant amount of moisture. The moisture can lead to mold growth over time, ultimately damaging the fabrics besides leaving them with stubborn stains.
Therefore, it pays to select fabrics that can repel moisture. The material should feature a protective coating that repels or resists water, moisture, and mildew.
But what’s the difference between water-resistant and water-repellent fabrics?
Water-repellent materials are impervious to water. They’re also known as waterproof. On the other hand, water-resistant textiles only repel moisture to some extent.
- Washability and Stain Resistance
Outdoor cushions need to be washed every so often. On a long enough timeline, the material will wear out completely from repeated laundering.
However, certain cushion fabrics can stand up to multiple washes before becoming worn out. Others also feature Microban, which protects the individual fibers while also averting the growth of bacteria that cause stain, odor, and mildew.
- Fade Resistance
It’s possible to find outdoor cushion materials that are made from tough fabric but which are highly prone to fading. And considering that these cushions will be in direct exposure to the elements, fading may set in sooner than you imagine.
The good news is that you can get your hands on fade-resistant outdoor cushion fabrics. Woven acrylic fabrics have proven more color-fast when exposed to the elements than printed acrylic or polyester print fabrics.
Note that fading also has much to do with the fabric colors. Darker colors like navy blue tend to fade faster than light and neutral colors like white. Fortunately, woven acrylic fabrics are also effective at masking dirt and dust.
- Abrasion and Tear-resistance
You could be living in a serene environment in which your outdoor cushions aren’t exposed to destructive critters or hyperactive kids. But the fact that these cushions may require regular machine washing means they need to be incredibly resistant to abrasion and tear.
Cording and strapping are the key aspects to consider here. The more corded and strapped your cushion fabrics are, the higher their tear- and abrasion resistance.
Picking the Most Durable Outdoor Cushions Material
Now that you’re familiar with the key aspects that affect outdoor cushions’ longevity, the final thing to do is research the specific materials that fulfill most (if not all) of the above requirements. Below are the top recommendations you might want to check out.
Polypropylene was one of the first (and still among the most preferable) marine fabrics. That’s mainly due to its superior resistance to moisture, ultraviolet (UV) rays, and even flame.
The material dries incredibly fast and has no dye sites. It also retains its texture and color well after repeated washing.
Polyester stands out for its softness and flexibility. The material hardly rips, even under a significant amount of pressure. It’s relatively easy to clean too.
But unlike polypropylene, that’s made from natural fibers, polyester is a product of synthetic fibers. That makes it cheaper but considerably less durable than polypropylene.
This is probably the first material you’ll bump into while looking for the best outdoor cushion fabrics.
Acrylic’s popularity is primarily due to its affordability, softness, and resistance to fading and staining. It’s also fairly breathable and dries remarkably quickly. Added advantages include resistance to shrinking, oil, and UV rays.
- PVC Mesh Fabric
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mesh fabric is highly resistant to water, which says a lot about its longevity. The fabric is also more affordable than the other popular options on this list.
However, PVC isn’t the best outdoor cushion material for the environmentally conscious due to its non-biodegradability. Cushions made from this fabric are also quite difficult to repair when damaged.
Alcantara is commonly used in boat and car construction due to its water- and stain resistance. The material has become synonymous with outdoor cushions for those very reasons.
Alcantara is also light and stands up well to repeat washing. Moreover, the fabric can be easily made to become flame-retardant.
Longevity shouldn’t be the only parameter for choosing the right outdoor cushion material. There are many other aspects to bear in mind as well, such as size, comfort, and aesthetic appeal.