As you browsed through the internet for patio umbrellas you may have noticed that there are many different fabric options available. With so many choices, you may ask yourself, “What is the difference between all of these fabrics?” In this article, we will cover the different fabric types in order to help you choose the best option for your outdoor space.
Sunbrella is a common name when it comes to fabric. In fact, many people actually use the term “Sunbrella umbrella” when requesting information. However, there is actually no such thing as a Sunbrella Umbrella. Sunbrella is simply a fabric manufactured by Glen Raven mills. But because Glen Raven has been a leader in the manufacture of performance fabrics for forty five years, people assume they also make umbrellas. Sunbrella is a heavy duty solution dyed acrylic fabric made with locked-in colors. The long life of Sunbrella’s fabric colors are one of the main reasons to purchase umbrellas made with this product. Umbrellas and cushions with this durable fabric come with a 5-year fade warranty and typically last longer then any fabric in the industry.
Sunbrella is also well known for its UV-Ray resistance, Sunbrella umbrella fabrics have been tested and proven to give up to 98% UV protection in shade applications and have been awarded the “Seal of Recommendation” by The International Skin Cancer Foundation. Along with UV protection, and color retention Sunbrella has a great water-repellency. This doesn’t mean that it’s water-proof, but because the fibers are woven so tightly there is a high degree of water resistance that allows them to remain outdoors even in light rain.
Suncrylic is another solution dyed acrylic fabric you can get on your outdoor umbrella canopy. Slightly less heavy than Sunbrella, Suncrylic also offers a high degree of UV resistance and water repellency. The biggest difference between Suncrylic and Sunbrella, is in the fade resistance ability and the warranty offered. Suncrylic fabrics are warranted not to fade for a period of 1 year from time of purchase.
Another fabric choice for patio umbrellas is Olefin. This is also a solution dyed acrylic fabric that is considered to be high density yet light weight. Olefin is a woven fabric that holds its color well, provides protection from harmful UV rays, and resists staining. It’s durable and easy to clean, with a one year warranty against fading. Texsilk is one brand of Olefin fabric that can be used as an umbrella canopy. While Texsilk is water resistant, it can be machine washed for easy cleaning.
Just like acrylic, polyester is a man made fabric. This fabric is light, breathable and less expensive to manufacturer which is why it is commonly used by both clothing and outdoor furniture manufacturers to manufacture economically suited products. Polyester is not a natural water or fade resistant fabric. For this reason, polyester canopies are sometimes coated with polyurethane or Scotch guard protection to aid in fade resistance. While patio umbrellas with polyester fabrics are economical, there are certain qualities about them that may be undesirable to some consumers. The primary reason for upgrading to an acrylic type fabric is because polyester fabrics typically fade much faster then anything else in the market. Specifically, if you are in a harsh or extreme weather region of the country like Arizona, polyester fabrics may not be the best choice for you unless you are diligent in covering them or storing them when not in use. If do purchase an item with polyester fabrics, it is best recommend to stick to anything above 600 thread count or more to get the best value for your money! Also, here is a quick tip: You will notice much less fade problems with lighter colored polyester fabrics. White, natural and beige seem to last much longer then blues, reds and blacks.
Additionally, it is important to keep polyester fabric umbrellas away from any source of flame, such as torches, candles and patio heaters because it is flammable.
Coolaroo is a unique canopy fabric that provides up to 90% UV block while also keeping temperatures cool under the shade. Shading your patio table or chairs with a Coolaroo canopy reduces temperatures up to 30%. This breathable fabric is resistant to mildew, is easy to clean and comes with a 5-year warranty against UV damage.
So there you have it, a wide range of fabrics and colors to choose from whether you buy an aluminum patio umbrella or a wood market umbrella for your next outdoor patio umbrella purchase.