The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Fabric
Indoor Outdoor fabric is performance fabric that can be upholstered on indoor and outdoor furniture. Not all indoor performance fabrics can be used outdoor, but all outdoor performance fabrics can be used indoors. Indoor Outdoor upholstery fabric began with the need for stain resistant furniture fabric inside homes. Naturally, outdoor fabric was the first stain resistant fabric, so people started upholstering their living room furniture with outdoor fabric.
The Performance Fabric category first began with outdoor fabric. People saw the superior performance of outdoor fabric and wanted to use outdoor fabric in their own homes. The inside out fabric category was born. With superior stain resistance and durability, could I use outdoor fabric inside? The answer is YES! What’s the difference anyway?
What’s the difference anyway?
Indoor and outdoor fabric has small differences that make them unique. Indoor fabric usually has a lesser UV rating. UV rating means sunlight… We cover this in another blog here.
Outdoor upholstery fabric needs extra protection because the fiber is exposed to weathering more than the fabrics inside of your living room. Outdoor fabrics are usually made of synthetic fibers. The outdoor fibers usually used to make outdoor fabrics are: Acrylic, Polypropylene, and Polyester. Polyester is great for a one-season product but will get the lowest UV test results. Acrylic and Polypropylene will perform the best depending on the UV stabilizers used in the fabric.
Outdoor yarns have a higher UV rating because if the added UV stabilizers. This enables the yarn to be in direct sunlight longer and will slow down the fading process. All outdoor fabrics will eventually fade. The industry usually uses lightfastness hours to determine and test fade resistance.
Outdoor fabrics usually have a chemical protectant that helps repel water and stains. This stain treatment comes in handy when the fabrics are used in the living-room. Outdoor fabric with stain-resistant qualities is perfect for those who have larger families and active lifestyles.
Can you use outdoor fabric on indoor furniture?
Of course! Outdoor fabric can be used indoors and will even last longer than indoor fibers like cotton or linen. Most Outdoor fabric has a finish that helps further protect the fabric then indoor upholstery fabric. The fabric protectant will prevent spills from seeping into to the cushion. Indoors, the outdoor fabric won’t be in direct contact with UV exposure and rain/mildew and could last longer than being outside.
As fabric and fiber technology develops, more and more people are using outdoor fabrics indoors. Outdoor fabrics have gotten to the point where the yarns can be soft and the designs can be elegant.