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What is the best fabric to use for outdoor furniture?

What is the best fabric to use for outdoor furniture?

The best fabric the use for outdoor furniture is polypropylene fabric. Polypropylene was one of the first marine fabrics due to the fact it had superior UV resistance compared to other fibers. Polypropylene is the best choice for outdoor cushions because it dries quickly when wet and has no dye sites. These non-active dye sites prevent stains and can easily be cleaned with bleach and water solution. 

More outdoor fabric is being used due to the rise in outdoor living and entertainment spaces.

Landscape architects, designers, realtors, and building contractors all agree that regardless of the price point on a home, outdoor living spaces have become a standard feature in new home construction. The trend is to create an outdoor living area that mimics indoor living.

Outdoor kitchens vary from a built-in grill to fully functioning kitchen spaces that may include refrigeration and brick ovens. What outdoor space would be complete without a television and a sound system as well as a fireplace or at least a cozy fire pit?

With all these outdoor living areas, comfortable seating is essential. Think of the seating as an expansion of what you would have inside your home... comfortable dining chairs, a sofa or a sectional. The difference is that the seating is made of outdoor cushion material that can withstand the elements. Harsh sunlight, temperature extremes, water and humidity that contribute to mold require special fabrics engineered for outdoor living.

Revolution Outdoor Fabrics are the perfect choice for the best outdoor fabric for living and entertaining!

The best outdoor fabric for furniture is polypropylene

Olefin Outdoor Fabrics

New to the outdoor fabric category, Revolution outdoor fabrics are woven in King Mountain, North Carolina with olefin and polypropylene yarns.

Olefin is a byproduct of refining petroleum and is extremely durable and stain-resistant. Olefin along with Acrylic is extremely resistant to fading from the sun. Most types of outdoor fabrics on the market will be acrylic, olefin, or polyester. Polyester fabrics will perform the worst because it has the lowest light fastness rating and they require a PFC chemical finish for stain resistance. The two best fibers when making outdoor cushions are solution-dyed olefin and solution-dyed acrylic. The best thing about Revolution outdoor fabrics is that you get superior performance at a great value per yard. Where most outdoor fabrics range from $20 - $50 a yard, Revolution outdoor fabrics cost between $15 and $30 a yard!

Revolution Outdoor Fabrics

Pros Cons

Extremely stain resistant without the use for a PFC chemical treatment.


Currently, produce a small line of outdoor fabric. More fabrics will be     available in the future.

100% woven in the United States with raw materials form within 300 miles of the factory.

Heavy texture ( great for cushions, maybe not drapes )

Exceeds 30,000 Double rubs and us very abrasion resistant

Wax-based water repellent finish for rain and dew.

Outdoor fabrics are over 2000 hours of light fastness or 3-year fade warranty.  

Mildew resistant properties.

Solution Dyed Acrylic Outdoor Fabrics 

Acrylic fabrics are synthetic fabrics made from acrylic fibers. This type of outdoor fabric has a number of advantages including lower specific gravity, mildew-resistant properties and an ability to manage moisture. Made famous by outdoor fabric brands like Sunbrella, most outdoor fabrics are solution-dyed acrylic or a cheap polyester only good for a season. Acrylic is great for lightfastness but is extremely easy to stain when not treated with a stain treatment bath. These fabrics tend to look great at first but become stained as the treatment wears off. Do not let the "solution dyed" marketing efforts fool you. Not all solution-dyed fibers are created equal. Solution-dyed Acrylic can be atmospherically dyed ... This means that the fiber has dye sites. The more dye sites a fiber has, the more wine, ketchup, and stains can penetrate the fiber. Solution Dyed Olefin on the other does not have dye site. This is why Olefin is stain resistant without the use of stain treatment baths.

Pros Cons

High UV and lightfastness scores ( 2000 hr of lightfastness)

Contain harmful PFC Chemical

mildew resistant properties

Known to pill or fuzz

Multiply use application (drapes, cushions, curtains)

Very expensive ( will had $400 average to your upholstery project)

Some liquid resistant properties ( with stain finish applied )

Flat texture ( not great for upholstery / limited design )

Extremely hard to get oily stains out ( Ketchup, Mustard, ETC )

Outdoor Polyester and Prints

Mostly used in one season outdoor goods, polyester outdoor fabrics and prints will be your lowest performing outdoor fabric. This type of outdoor fabric on average will have a lightfastness score no higher than 1000 hours of lightfastness. Unlike solution dyed Acrylic and Olefin, Polyester is batch-dyed. Most polyester is woven white and then dyed in drums to its desired color. This process is great for obtaining mass amounts of colored fabrics but these fabrics are extremely receptacle to staining because of the mass about of dye sites in polyester fiber. These fabrics will be cheap and only good for a seasonal throw pillow or two.

Pros Cons

Largest selection of product

Low Lightfasntness / Fade rating ( 1 year or 500 hour average )

Cheap fabrics by the yard

Hard to clean oily spills like ketchup and mustard

Can have some liquid repellency after a PFC chemical bath

Abrasion results are across the board

Known to pill or fuzz.

Contains Harmful PFC chemicals if stain resistants properties are claimed.


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Tanay Sharma - February 23, 2024

A good blog post on the best fabric to use for outdoor furniture. As you said, polypropylene was one of the first marine fabrics due to the fact that it had superior UV resistance compared to other fibers. However, the ideal material for outdoor cushions is Sunbrella out door cushions, since it contains no dye spots and dries rapidly when wet. These non-active dye spots are stain-resistant and readily wiped with a solution of bleach and water.

More Info :

Laura Rogers - January 23, 2023

Are you fabrics sustainably made? Do they confirm to the HIGG INDEX?

Battulga Tumurdash - March 26, 2022

We are building a ger and glamping tent factory in Mongolia. we are looking for reliable supplier of cotton and other quality outdoor materials.


Jim Boss - January 21, 2022


Do you know if your materials can be used for cornhole bags. I hear quality bag material uses slick, polyester-based upholstry fabric. Any suggestions?

Thank You
Jim Boss

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