When you think of the kind of fabric you want for your outdoor design dreams, there are a few elements that shine in your mind. Durable, sturdy materials that can hold their own against inclement outdoor weather and indoor stains and spills. Vibrant, beautiful colors that won’t run, fade or lose their hues. Long-lasting, impeccably designed products that add elegance to every corner of your home and elevate every square inch of your outdoor space.
If that all sounds like too much to expect from a single fabric brand, we’ve got good news. More people are discovering that you can get long-lasting, high-quality fabrics that don’t skimp on style all from one impressive company: Sunbrella.
But what is Sunbrella fabric? What’s the difference between cushionguard vs sunbrella? What types of products is Sunbrella fabric used for? And Is it a better investment than your standard furniture fabric?
You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Keep reading for everything you need to know, from the origins of this popular brand to why it might be the best choice for your next furniture project.
A Brief History of Sunbrella
Let’s take a quick trip to Sunbrella’s origin story:
It’s the middle of the 1950s and Roger Grant, Jr., is under a lot of pressure. As manager of fabrics at Glen Raven, Inc., his family’s legacy manufacturing company, he faces a grim reality. Although Glen Raven has been successfully producing cotton building awnings for more than 50 years, a robust, post-World War II market is hampering business and threatening the company’s long-term success.
Fortunately, Grant was an industrious and enterprising businessman. He knew that ensuring the viability of Glen Raven meant three things:
- Improving its product
- Reinvigorating its brand
- Distinguishing itself as an industry leader
With those goals in mind and Grant at the helm, the company embarked on a mission to create an awning fabric that surpassed cotton in terms of durability and significantly outpaced it in terms of lifespan.
By 1961, Grant and his team had succeeded, and Sunbrella was born. Now, more than 60 years later, Sunbrella is one of the world’s most trusted and popular manufacturers of high-quality, long-lasting performance fabrics.
They’re used in a sweeping array of furniture and other applications, such as:
- Furniture cushion
- Indoor and outdoor upholstery
- Marine tops and covers
- Pergola shades
- Window treatments
Despite expanding its reach over the years, the company has never abandoned the source of its original success, continuing to manufacture canvas awnings to this day.
How Is Sunbrella Fabric Different?
Because it was originally created as a more durable alternative to cotton awnings, Sunbrella is a uniquely resilient outdoor fabric. That’s why they’re such a popular choice for outdoor furniture. When properly cared for, Sunbrella pieces can last as long as 15 years or more, no matter what conditions the outdoors throws at them.
The Sunbrella difference starts at the very beginning of the fabric-making process. Sunbrella outdoor fabric is made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic, meaning the fabric fibers are colored before they are woven into material for use. This allows the pigmentation to fully penetrate each and every fiber, leading to stronger, longer-lasting, more vibrant colors and more durable fabric.
By contrast, most fabrics are colored only after the raw material has been spun into fabric. As a result, pigmentation tends only to penetrate the outermost layers of the fabric. When that happens, the fabric is more susceptible to fading and discoloration from sun or water damage.
The Advantages of Sunbrella Fabric For Your Patio Furniture
Since the beginning, Sunbrella has expressed an unwavering commitment to manufacturing the best performance fabrics on the market. The brand combines peerless durability, practicality, and comfort to create fabrics that perform at the highest level—all with an eye on the latest design trends.
For the consumer, that means Sunbrella products offer a range of benefits that competing brands can’t match. For example, longevity is among the standout characteristics of Sunbrella fabrics. Using the latest technologies, the company designs its fabrics with protective features that resist daily wear-and-tear as well as incidental damage, like abrasion resistance, to prevent ripping, tearing, and holes.
Beyond that, Sunbrella goes the extra mile to make sure their fabrics are suitable for the many uses they’re designed for. The advantages of Sunbrella fabric over other fabrics include:
- Fade resistance – Sunbrella fabrics are fully dyed before they’re ever spun into the yarn that becomes fabric. This ensures that pigmentation saturates the fabric as deeply as possible, leading to powerful fade resistance and increased durability overall.
- Built-in UV protection – During the dying process, Sunbrella fabrics are infused with special UV-stabilized pigments, which helps protect the fabric from sun damage.
- Water resistance – Sunbrella fabrics are water resistant, so you can rest easy knowing your outdoor furniture, patio umbrellas, and marine tops are safe from rain, sleet, and snow.
- Mold and mildew resistance – When fabrics can shed moisture without absorbing it, they’re less likely to develop mold, mildew, and other signs of water damage. Keeping the fabric clean by removing outdoor detritus like leaves, twigs, and other organic materials offers further protection.
- Easy to clean – Technology that promotes stain resistance is embedded into the very core of each fiber that goes into Sunbrella fabric, leading to super simple cleaning and care without compromising the fabric’s condition.
- Great range of colors – Sunbrella fabrics are available in dozens of exciting colors, shades, and patterns, proving that longevity and durability need not come at the expense of beauty and design.
Caring for Sunbrella Fabric: Tips & Tricks
With Sunbrella, you’re guaranteed fabrics that work hard to protect themselves against sun damage, water damage, mold, and mildew—plus dirt, grime, and other hazards so that your furniture looks fantastic throughout its lifespan.
That said, taking the proper steps to care for your fabric and keep it clean can only help lengthen its life. Fortunately, the folks behind Sunbrella are big believers in worry-free livability, which means easy cleaning and maintenance are built into the design of the fabric...turning your furniture into family heirlooms.
Care instructions vary depending on the specific Sunbrella product, so it’s always best to consult the manufacturer’s guide for the proper way to clean the items you own. Still, general guidelines are always helpful, so here’s how to clean some of the most popular products Sunbrella has to offer:
Cushions, Pillows, Upholstery
You may be wondering how to clean outdoor cushions? In the event of spills, drips, and other accidents, you should immediately use a dry cloth to blot the fabric gently.
For occasional, more thorough cleans, a solution of warm water and soap in a spray bottle is all you need—just be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Shade fabrics just need a few simple steps to keep tidy:
- Brush off any loose dirt, twigs, or other debris.
- Use your garden hose to rinse away any remaining grime.
- Use a soft bristle brush and warm water with soap to clean the fabric, letting the cleaning solution thoroughly soak the fabric.
- Rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry.
You can clean Sunbrella marine upholstery by following the same steps for shade fabrics.
If your marine upholstery needs spontaneous spot cleaning, try the following:
- Spray the area with warm water and mild soap.
- Use a sponge or brush to scrub lightly.
- Rinse thoroughly and use a dry towel or wet vacuum to soak up excess water before letting it dry.
You can easily rinse Sunbrella sling fabrics with warm water to remove spills and new stains.
For deeper cleaning, mix warm water with mild soap and use a soft bristle brush to scrub the fabric gently. Rinse thoroughly and air dry before use.
Sunbrella Knit Fabrics
For new spills and stains, blot with a clean, dry cloth. You can use an absorbent like corn starch to help soak up oil-based stains.
Then, spray the fabric with warm water and soap before rinsing thoroughly.
There’s more good news regarding keeping your Sunbrella fabrics clean. While dirt, mold, and stains might pose big threats to your furniture, germs are the biggest threat to you and your loved ones. Fortunately, Sunbrella fabrics are strong enough to withstand the tough cleaning products you use to disinfect your furniture, like bleach and other chemicals.
Harbor Classic: Designed to Delight, Crafted to Last
Whether you’re someone who spends every sweltering summer day lounging by your swimming pool or a family who treasures those crisp autumn nights gathered around your backyard fire pit, you need outdoor furniture that fits your needs, matches your style, and stands the test of time.
In other words, you need Harbor Classic.
At Harbor Classic, we believe that your patio furniture is just as important as your indoor furniture. That’s why we’re committed to providing refined, versatile pieces that are expertly crafted and designed to last. We blend comfort, craftsmanship, and inspired styling—plus incredible perks like free Sunbrella cushions—for heirloom-quality outdoor furniture your family can enjoy for years to come.
Are you thinking about refreshing your backyard retreat, updating your outdoor oasis, or transforming your patio or deck into an inviting place for gathering? Harbor Classic can help you elevate your outdoor space. Browse our collections today.
Casual Living. Sunbrella marks 50 years of innovation. https://www.casualliving.com/weather-trends/sunbrella-marks-50-years-of-innovation/#
Sunbrella. Why Sunbrella? https://www.sunbrella.com/sunbrella-fabric-difference#
Fabric Depot & Supply. Top 5 Reasons to Love Sunbrella Fabrics. https://fabricdepotaz.com/2018/03/05/top-5-reasons-love-sunbrella-fabric/#
Sunbrella. How to Clean Sunbrella Upholstery Fabric. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-upholstery
Sunbrella. Clean Sunbrella Shade Fabrics. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-shade-fabrics
Sunbrella. Clean Sunbrella Marine Upholstery. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-marine-upholstery
Sunbrella. Clean Sunbrella Sling Fabrics. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-sling
Sunbrella. Clean Sunbrella Knit Fabrics. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-knits