Grade A– Least expensive. This affordable option offers numerous high-quality color and pattern choices and is approved for outdoor use. Grade A fabrics are made from polyester or polyester blends. Polyester is strong, durable, resists wrinkles, dries quickly and resists mildew, but lacks anti-fading advantages of other higher-grade fabrics.
Grade B– Reasonable cost with increased advantages. Value coupled with quality offers numerous and sometimes the most extensive color and pattern choices. Grade B fabrics are typically made from a synthetic material called olefin. Olefin is soft, strong and comfortable and is good at resisting stains, mildew and fading.
Grade C (Standard Sunbrella & In Stock Options)– Top quality cushions made with the best materials. Grade C cushions are typically made from synthetic polymers called acrylics, which are 100% solution dyed before they become a fiber for increased colorfastness. Acrylics are lightweight, extremely durable, and have a soft feel, similar to organic materials such as wool or cotton. Acrylic will vigorously resist mold, mildew, insects, oil-based stains and sunlight deterioration. Acrylic is by the far the best fabric for outdoor use.
Grade D– The best materials combined with the best production techniques. Grade D cushions offer the best materials available and are typically solution-dyed acrylics like Grade C. Grade D cushions feature unsurpassed manufacturing techniques, using multiple colors and often intricate weaves and designs, requiring more time and material to provide the best cushion available. Grade D doesn’t use higher quality materials than Grade C.
When purchasing cushioned or sling patio furniture, it is vital that you consider where the furniture will be placed. Will it be exposed to the elements, to direct sunlight, to suntan lotion and chlorine?
If you are purchasing patio or casual furniture for a screened in porch or sunroom and it is not in direct sunlight, you have more options. Traditional polyester fabric which tends to be less expensive and have more intricate designs is suitable for this environment. But traditional polyester that is exposed to sunlight and rain will fade and deteriorate quickly.
There have been amazing innovations in outdoor fabrics that make them suitable for direct sunlight, salt water, even chlorine. Solution dyed acrylic fabrics have been treated with uv inhibitors and will fade less than 1% annually. They are also stain resistant which makes them perfect for family gathering and entertaining.
Another option available is a fabric which utilizes a waterproof backing. This textile option provides stain resistance, microbial protection and a permanent moisture barrier as well as uv inhibitors. It is perfect for outdoor use.
Check out this outdoor fabric buying guide for more info!