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If you have furniture in the outdoors and it’s upholstered, you don’t want the fabrics to be cheap or bad quality ones. Outdoor furniture ends up exposed to the elements, to the full harshness of the sun and wind. More often than not, these tend to be tougher, more durable materials.

Upholstered outdoor furniture is relatively uncommon. Still, if you want maximum comfort, you go for outdoor cushion covers. For that, you’ll want to use the right materials.

So for today, we’ll break down the various materials you might choose from when deciding what to cover your upholstery with. We’ll go over what’s good and what’s bad, and make suggestions along the way on what is a good choice.

Let’s look first at vinyl.

Vinyl is shiny. It’s low-cost. It’s also prone to getting extremely hot under the sun, to the point where it can burn the skin. It’s not that different from touching a car that’s been under the sun for too long. It’s also not recyclable, so that’s a big minus.

How about a cotton canvas?

This age-old fabric has been around since the 13th century, which speaks to how reliable it is. It’s economical in most places and easy to dye. You only need to waterproof it once a year and you don’t want to get chlorine on it, so no poolside cotton.

Cotton’s biggest weakness is a lack of water resistance. If it gets were, you might find yourself facing a problem with mould or mildew.

Textilene is another choice. These are polyester yarns coated with PVC, creating a woven mesh material.

These tend to get hot in the sun, yes. However, the yarn adds durability and longevity. They’re less likely to tear because of buttons and zippers. Textilene is also waterproof, but you might lose colour if you use them under the sun too long. Bleaching is also a bad idea.

Finally, solution-dyed acrylics are a rare, expensive but effective choice. These aren’t dyed but instead, come in the colour you see. This means there no dye to fade. The treatment also makes them waterproof, so no mould or mildew issues.

Now, with all that in mind, it sounds like we have a winner.

Not to say that the other choices aren’t good. They can be, in context. However, if you’re looking for something that does well near water and out in the sun, there is one obvious choice. The rest work better away from water or only partly outdoors.

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