What’s The Best Fabric For Outdoor Furniture

Are you considering what type of fabric will be best for your outdoor furniture? With the growing trends of outdoor lifestyle, deciding on the best fabric for your outdoor furniture could become a tough challenge. Why? Because there’s an overwhelming number of fabric options in the market! What type of fabric do you need?

Acrylic or olefin fabrics are the best choice for outdoor furniture. They both resist mold and mildew, and while Acrylic’s color fades less over time, olefin has somewhat better chlorine resistance for usage near pools. Sunbrella and CushionGuard are the best brands for outdoor furniture fabric.

There is a consensus among realtors, landscape architects, building contractors, and designers that outdoor living space is gaining importance to the typical home-buyer. It’s never been a better time to extend your nesting from inside the house to outside it, and it all starts with some comfortable (and durable!) outdoor furniture.

Important Factors to Consider

Outdoor indoor sofa with pillows

Adding a comfortable seating area to your backyard or garden is a vital part of creating the best kind of outdoor living area for your home. Outdoor furniture fabrics are made of materials designed to withstand extreme temperatures, water, harsh sunlight, and humidity that can spoil the fabric.

What is the right fabric for you? Would you want a waterproof or water-resistant but fast-drying fabric, or a fabric that can handle chlorine (for use around pools) or fit with your color theme? There are a few things you need to keep in mind as you search for the best fabric for your outdoor furniture.

How much sun can the fabric take before fading? A solution-dyed fabric with inherent yarn color will hold up better against sun rays than a mere one-color printed fabric. You also need to consider if the fabric will last long before fading.

While there are other vital factors, the durability of the fabric is most critical. If the upholstery is for outdoor and family use, it should be one with a very high rub count. A rub count represents an idea of the level of abrasion it can resist before wear sets in.

Beyond its resistance to wear, fabric performance is also important because of exposure to harsh weather. Fabric performance implies that the fabric has qualities that make it ideal for high-traffic use, especially because they are stain-free and washable. This type of fabric may not be ideal for pet owners.

What is the Best Fabric for Outdoor Furniture? 

Fabrics come in a range of patterns and colors. Some are resistant to soil, bacteria, sea salt, unfriendly sun, and even chlorine. Some are easy to clean, and they can be made of acrylic, polyester, cotton blends, fibers, or chemically-treated materials.

Chemically-treated fabrics have a higher resistance to inclement weather and threats to their integrity and durability. Choosing the best outdoor furniture begins with choosing the right fabric type. Below are some of the best fabrics around when it comes to choosing the best fabric for outdoor furniture.  

Acrylic Fabric

Acrylic fabric is made to resist mildew, mold, tear, and rub. Acrylic fabric is first dyed before being woven. It can take 1000 hours of exposure to ultraviolet rays. While possessing the softness of wool and remaining cool in the hot season, it can easily wick moisture away.

Olefin Fabric

Referred to as polypropylene, the olefin fabric is another great option as its color is dyed into the yarn.

It’s very resistant to mildew, fading, and stain. It’s also easy to dry and clean. It is cost-effective and can take bleach. 

Polyester Fabric

This is a synthetic fabric material that is resistant to water stains and lasts long. It’s very easy to dry and is also resistant to tearing. It typically features bright colors with great patterns. However, it doesn’t do well in the sun and is more suited to the shades.

Textilene Fabric

Textilene is woven polyester coated with PVC. Used mainly for shades and outdoors, it is waterproof, resistant to flame and mold. 

With choosing the best fabric for outdoor furniture, going for a brand with reliable products is an important consideration. There are many brands you can choose from, but you need to consider only brands that use quality materials. Great brands include Sunbrella, Bella Dura, Richloom Fortress. 

  • Sunbrella is known for its high quality outdoor fabrics which are used for outdoor umbrellas, upholstery, drapery, marine seating and marine top. Examples like this Blue Sunbrella Canvas (on Amazon) can be purchased by the yard to use for many outdoor projects.
  • Richloom fabric also makes outdoor fabrics that many say get the job done. They have tons of designs, but examples like this Solarium Outdoor fabric (on Amazon) show that this brand has a lower price point than the Sunbrella options, and may be a more budget fabric to use while still getting good durability and performance.

What is the Best Brand for Outdoor Furniture Fabric?

When you consider the best brand for outdoor furniture fabric, Sunbrella outdoor fabric and CushionGuard fabric come to mind. While Glen Raven is Sunbrella’s parent name in North Carolina, an authority in all kinds of outdoor living and is a good example of a premium brand in the space, CushionGaurd is more of a budget pick that will still get you great results.

Let’s talk a little more about the outdoor environment and what these fabrics will be competing against.

Fade and Weather Resistance

All fabric will eventually fade. However, Sunbrella’s solution-dyed acrylic fabric features robust fade-resistance in comparison with other brands. In considering fabric resistance to weather, no brand can yet beat Sunbrella’s fade-proof guarantee.

It is noteworthy that most brands for outdoor fabric are synthetic and can resist inclement weather fairly well (although nothing exposed is going to look brand new after a year of wind, snow, rain, and sun). 


Sunbrella comes with 5 years warranty while CushionGuard features three years warranty. Both brands are tough and will survive a great deal of inclement weather with good maintenance and care. 

Style and Range

CushionGuard fabrics feature color varieties the same way Sunbrella features countless varieties of color and style. If you want to enjoy a dominant style, Sunbrella resembles indoor furniture with a remarkable softness.

Sunbrella brags many patterns and price points and provides options for customizing your furniture with unique recycled content integrated into the fibre. 

Cleaning Ease

Most fabrics are machine-washable and easy to clean but will depend on cushion covers. While you can wash both Sunbrella and CushionGuard, Sunbrella can withstand strong chemicals and bleach. 


Outdoor furniture with Sunbrella fabric costs more than other competitors. This is basically because of brand reputation and fabric quality. This makes CushionGuard a good option if you are looking for budget-friendly fabric. 

Verdict on Sunbrella vs CushionGuard 

Sunbrella has a history of ingenuity, and it is deemed an authority in the outdoor fabric industry. It comes with everything you might need from outdoor pillows, cushions, awnings, safety equipment, and marine upholstery.

You can bank on the endurance and quality of Sunbrella fabric, which also has better reliability and superior performance. While CushionGuard fabric is also durable, it represents a cheaper alternative. 

Are Sunbrella Cushions Worth What they Cost?

Sunbrella fabrics are 100 percent solution-dyed core acrylic with a high level of breathability and resistance to mildew, stain, water, and ultraviolet rays. The color will hardly fade from exposure to the sun. It has a wide application in outdoor furniture, boat covers, convertible tops, awnings, and indoor furniture. 

The brand’s fabrics are fade-resistant, highly durable, and water-resistant. With the use of the highest fabric grade, Sunbrella’s fabrics have an estimated lifespan of 10 years in extreme outdoor environments. This is three times more durable than competitor fabrics in the industry. 

Why do people seek Sunbrella fabric? No one wants to get swindled of his earnings by patronising fake and expensive fabrics. There are specific reasons people go for the brand name Sunbrella fabrics even with many generic alternatives.

The first is that the brand focuses its ingenuity and resources on producing all-weather durable fabrics that can withstand mildew and mold while still being tough enough to for you wash with mild chlorine or soap solutions.

Awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation’s International Seal of Recommendation for UV Fabric/Umbrella/Awnings in 2006, the brand continues to prove its mettle in making quality cushion fabrics made from Tenara Sewing Thread.

The Tenara thread is a 100 percent expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) material which is three times stronger than traditional PTFE. Beyond the aforementioned, Sunbrella fabrics have a variety of over 248 choices with expanding collections, which means there is a perfect pattern or color option for every need.  

The eco-friendliness of the fabrics is commendable. The brand maximizes efficiency and reduces environmental impact by wasting no water during the color-saturation procedure with a manufacturing process that reduces energy and water consumption. Noteworthy is the brand’s “Recycle My Sunbrella” program, which recycles, repurposes and reclaims pre-and post-consumer wastes associated with its products. 

Is Polyester a Good Outdoor Fabric?

Outdoor indoor sofa

Cushioned outdoor furniture offers a unique and comfortable opportunity to entertain your guests on the patio or deck. However, outdoor furniture goes through lots of stress, which could ruin the integrity of the fabric. This calls for care in choosing the best outdoor fabric. Polyester readily comes to mind as a versatile and tough alternative to Sunbrella.

It is flexible, lightweight, resistant to abrasion, mildew, mold and stretching. Solution-dyed polyester is environment-friendly, and the best designed fabric for outdoor use because of its remarkable resistance to wear and sun. 

An outstanding feature of outdoor furniture fabric is the ease of cleaning. Polyester is easy to clean, and this feature makes it remarkable for outdoor cushions since they are prone to stains from dirt, dust and grime. A good concern about the outdoor is water and to  an extent moisture.

You keep polyester out of the rain, moisture won’t build up. The good thing is that it is not easily permeated by water. It is also resistant to mildew and mold that are characteristic of fabrics. This implies that if your furniture features a polyester cover, its durability is assured. 

A good fabric to use in your high-traffic and high-use area, the best fabric type is Polyester. It is never affected by repeated washing like other fabrics and in the same vein, polyester hardly wears out like other fabrics. This means that it can withstand heavy use of seating without stretching out or weakening. 

Polyester has the largest product selection, cheaper fabrics by the yard and possesses liquid repellence after treatment with PFC chemical. But, PFC is harmful. It may be easy to clean, but cleaning spills like mustard and ketchup could be difficult to clean. 

Is Acrylic A Good Outdoor Fabric 

Acrylic is the most durable fabric; yet it features a mixture of chemicals and polypropylene plastic. Acrylic is not the most cost-effective and environmental-friendly fabric for outdoor furniture cushions.

Sunbrella’s domination as the leading brand in the industry is basically due to acrylic properties which have continued to impress different users. Acrylic’s colours are also long-lasting even in chemicals and inclement weather. 

Most fabrics come colourless and get dyed in the process. The brand combines a liquid acrylic solution mixed with dye, which is then formed into the fibre with its colour before formation into yarn. The implication of this is that the fabric comes out soft, resistant to water and breathable, which is suitable for outdoor cushions and pillows.

In the same vein, acrylic polyester is also durable and resistant to fading, mildew growth, wrinkling and inclement weather. With acrylic-coated polyester, threads of the fabric are first woven before dipping it into the acrylic coating. It comes in very appealing patterns and unique blends of appearances suitable for boat, car use and for patio umbrellas and awnings. 

It is important to note that the outdoor fabrics with the most decorative fabrics are cost effective. Acrylic has a versatile use in many industries. It is a must-have for excellent and durable furniture because of its great strength, durability, resilience and resistance to shrinking, mildew, fading, fungi and wrinkling.

Easy to dry, it is also resistant to ultraviolet rays. Mainly praised for its wrinkle resistance, Acrylic retains its colours and comes with a soft wool texture. Yet, it melts when burning and has subjectively poor insulation. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *