I have a set of outdoor furniture I inherited from my mom. With outdoor furniture getting expensive, I thought I would update this set from my mom with a more trendy fabric. Sooo…my research of outdoor fabrics began! I thought I would share some of that research with you and not hoard it just for Moi !

When selecting a fabric that will be in the outdoor elements, make sure they are made for the Outdoors! What that means is they are treated with products to withstand sun, water & stain. There isn’t any outdoor fabric that is waterproof, just water-resistant.

There are 3 types of Outdoor Fabrics. You are probably familiar with most of these names. Sunbrella is most likely one of those names that come to mind. Sunbrella is an acrylic fabric that is water and stain resistant and has been treated with UV inhibitors. It maintains it’s colors and patterns for a long time with very little fading. It’s also one of the more expensive outdoor fabrics. Sunbrella comes in different weights. Sunbrella Canvas is the most common variety and comes in many solid colors. Fabric.com has many weights and varieties of Sunbrella.

If Sunbrella is a little too pricey for you, then you may want to go to a lower-priced fabric, but still has the durability of the more expensive Sunbrella. Look for fabrics that are solution-dyed acrylic or solution-dyed olefin. These fabrics are durable and have been treated with a UV protectant.

There are also polyester outdoor fabrics that are the least expensive but do not have the durability of the acrylic or olefin. One of the more familiar names would be Solarium.  These come in a wide variety of prints and solid colors. Solarium also comes in the more durable solution-dyed olefin and is still economically priced. Something to keep in mind with the olefin fabrics is that it does have a rougher surface than the other fabrics, but is still a comfortable fabric to consider.

Keep in mind that if you purchase one of the less durable outdoor fabrics you can still use a UV spray to give it some extra sun resistance. The one I use is Scotchgard Water and Sun Shield and can be purchased on Amazon and also some local shops.

I hope you have enjoyed my brief synopsis of Outdoor Fabric choices. If you have experience in using outdoor fabrics, please leave a comment to share with us!


  1. Thanks for sharing your research. I repurposed a pool chair float a few years back and used sunbrella fabric. The exposure to the sun, the pool chemicals and the water hasn’t hurt the fabric too much. I found that the fabric liked to “ravel” more than I liked, so I made sure to take WIDE seam allowance (1/2″) and to overcast the seam edge with a zig/zag stitch. Good luck with your project recovering . I’m a big fan of a print on outdoor fabrics because they are more “forgiving” with spots.


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