What Is Sunbrella Fabric?

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Patio umbrellas and seat cushions are just some of the uses of Sunrella fabrics.
Patio umbrellas and seat cushions are just some of the uses of Sunrella fabrics. (Image: German/iStock/Getty Images)

Since 1961 Sunbrella fabric, manufactured by Glen Raven, Inc., of North Carolina, has been known for its durable outdoor cloth used for boats, patio umbrellas, outdoor furniture cushions and awnings, but the company has also ventured into decorator fabrics for inside the home.

Inside & Out

Sunbrella fabrics are used extensively by the outdoor furniture industry. The fabric repels water and is easy to clean, a winning combination for outdoor use. Indoor and outdoor furniture upholstery is sewn from Sunbrella’s 54 inch-wide fabric. It is the weight of common decorator fabric and is not as stiff as the awning fabric, so it lends itself to the curves and contours of outdoor cushions and pillows, as well as outdoor draperies.

Awning and Marine Use

Sunbrella makes different grades and series of fabrics, based on their intended use. The awning and canopy-weight fabric comes in 46-inch and 60-inch widths. Outdoor awnings hung over windows, doors and patios are constructed of Sunbrella fabric, as are patio umbrellas.

For marine applications, Sunbrella makes Sunbrella-Plus. The "Plus" is an added urethane repellency treatment particularly useful to boaters as it repels water and moisture from collecting, yet allows the fabric to continue to breathe, so that moisture isn't trapped. Boat covers and even convertible car covers are made of Sunbrella fabric.

Care and Cleaning

Sunbrella fabrics are easy to maintain. With simple regular maintenance, deeper cleaning is often not needed for years. Simply brushing off dirt before it becomes embedded in the fabric, wiping up spills as soon as they occur or spot cleaning as soon as possible will extend the cleaning cycle and add years of use to your product. Most spills can be cleaned with mild soap and water. For tougher stains, bleach can be used without fear of damaging the fabric or removing the color.

Environmentally Aware

Sunbrella fabrics' parent company is environmentally conscious and offers a recycling program for its customers, to reclaim Sunbrella waste and repurposes it for incorporation into a recycled products such as insulation and protective padding.

Handily Healthful

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends Sunbrella for use as part of a total regimen of sun protection, because of its ability to help block UV rays, and Sunbrella furniture fabrics are certified by the GREENGUARD® Institute's Children and Schools standard as contributing to healthy indoor air.

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