Buying Guide - Outdoor Fabrics

What are outdoor fabrics?

Outdoor fabrics are used for many purposes and they can be used both outdoor AND indoor. Use these fabrics outdoor for patio furniture cushions, toss pillows, window awnings, Cabana curtains, tablecloths, table runners, and placemats. Outdoor fabrics are great indoors too – especially in kitchens and dining rooms where you may need an easy clean fabric. Use them for bench and chair cushions, slip seats, and don’t forget placemats, tablecloths and table runners.

In the old days, the selection of outdoor fabrics was limited to solid colors. Today, in addition to a wide variety of solid colors, outdoor fabrics can be brightly colored and available in an assortment of patterns, weights, and weaves. You’ll be able to find the perfect fabric for your décor – both indoor and out.

Outdoor fabrics are made from synthetic fibers - spun polyester (good), polyester (better), and acrylic (best). These fabrics are specially coated to withstand the weather and ultraviolet (UV) rays. Rain and wind can be hard on regular fabric, but it's the suns’ UV rays that really fade colors and cause fibers to break down.

It’s best to buy fabric that is 100% solution dyed acrylic. This means the dye is added to the fabric while it's still in a liquid state. The color is in the actual fibers, not printed on top of the fiber. This will ensure a brighter, longer-lasting color that won't bleach out in the sun.

Outdoor fabrics are water repellent, not water-proof. This means that liquids will bead up and not immediately soak into the fabric, giving you extra time to wipe up spills.

Outdoor fabrics have breathability. This is how quickly the fabric will dry when it's wet. The longer the water sits on fabric, the quicker mold and mildew will grow.

Many outdoor fabrics are treated with an exterior "coat" of protection. Crypton brand fabrics, for example, offers a wide range of materials and products with proprietary technology that are resistant to odor, stains, mold, mildew and bacteria.

Be sure to follow the manufacturers’ recommendation for cleaning and maintaining outdoor fabrics. Usually a regular dusting or rinsing with cold water should take care of surface dirt and debris. Spot cleaning is also recommended for more stubborn stains.

To keep your outdoor fabrics looking good from year to year and last longer, we highly recommend that you bring them inside during the off-season and when weather conditions are bad during in-season. Store them in a dry environment.

When calculating how much fabric needed, allow a bit more for patterns that need to be matched. Also, having an extra yard or two on hand is great in the case of a disaster or mishap.

Farmington Fabrics offers this as a guide to buying outdoor fabrics. We do not warranty any fabrics.