Outdoor Cushions: Today’s 4 Popular Material Choices

Every decorator will say that the key to a room is accessories. The same holds true for your outdoors as well. If you want to brighten your outdoor furniture, consider changing  your accessories. New outdoor cushions can modernize and provide a new look for your outside living space. You can add personal decorating styles as prints, colors and textures and you can  change them from year to year.
There are basically four different types of outdoor chair cushion materials - all providing different uses and functions. If you want to change your accessories every season, or are looking for long term durability, knowing the makeup of these materials is a plus. It is okay to mix and match your materials, although it is recommended to keep the color and patterns in mind. Pool chairs and dining cushions should have the right material used for function.
Cotton Duck Canvas
Cotton duck canvas are very durable and will stand up to excessive wear. Cotton is an inexpensive fabric that dyes easily. Although cotton duck canvas is naturally water resistant, the fabric will retain water in the small pockets of space in the weave and grow heavier. Overtime, water may find its way into the stuffing of the cushion, leaving you with  mold and mildew.
It is recommended that a water proof treatment be done once a year. Because this fabric is dyed after the original manufacture process, use of bleach in the cleaning process is not recommended. It is also recommended that cotton canvas be with  outdoor pool furniture. The cotton canvas material is relatively cheap and comes in a wide assortment of colors and style.
Vinyl or PVC
Polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as vinyl or PVC, is basically a plastic material. This is the least expensive fabric, but the ease and use of multi pattern options makes this a very popular fabric for outdoor chair cushions. By adding plasticizers, this fabric is very flexible and easy to mold and conform to various outdoor chair shapes.
It is common for manufacturers to add plastic for a slip-cover effect. This product is not able to stand up to heat very well, and can get hot to the touch. It also has the potential to fade. Studies are inconclusive, but there has been inquiries on the environmental health concerns with the manufacture of this material.

Textilene is a mesh woven material with strong polyester yards individually coated with PVC. This is a combination of the durability of the polyester yarns with the protection of the plastic coating. This material is typically a waterproof material but it does not have the long term sun protection and is subject to fading. An example is the Dream Chair Cushion by Vivere Hammocks.
This material should be cleaned with mild natural soap and water – no detergent. A small amount of bleach can be used to get out tough stains. Overtime, though, the bleach will breakdown the PVC material. The polyester does provide  some stability and durability Outdoor chair cushions have this  common woven mesh texture.


Consideredthe top of the line material made today, Sunbrella is 100% solution dyed acrylic. This material is made from various synthetic and cotton blends. An example is the Long Beach Footrest by Vifah Modern Patio. The cotton dye refers to the process in which the fabric is colored. Almost all fabric is colored as a second part of the manufacturing, and this fabric is solution dyed first. This means chlorine or sun will not discolor or fade over time.
The manufacture of the outdoor products are chemically treated during the manufacturing process, providing material that repels water, is resistant to soiling and  rotting, and does not promote mildew growth. Sunbrella comes in different grades and each has its purpose. This can be used anywhere in high usage to hot sun, and poolside without degrading. It is not surprising then that this is the most expensive material in the market today.
Outdoor chair cushions can be found in hundreds of colors and patterns;  and most of the materials above offer cushions from smooth to rough textures, and from shiny to matte finishes. Stripes, flowers or solid designs are very common. A new accessory can upscale any room, including your backyard living space. If you are enlarging an indoor room by extending it into the outdoor living space, it is important to have a flow of color! 


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