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Hotels & Resorts

The Best Outdoor Furniture Fabric for Commercial Properties

- 9 min read

When it comes to outfitting your commercial property’s outdoor spaces, it’s crucial to select high-quality outdoor fabric for patio furniture. Fabric plays a crucial role in various elements of outdoor furniture, from couch cushions and throw pillows to chair cushions, chaise lounges with mesh fabric surfaces, patio table umbrellas, and sunshades. The textiles used in each of these components contribute to creating a welcoming and comfortable outdoor setting for guests to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Choosing the best fabric for patio seating, awnings, or cushions usually comes down to durability and style. This is true in commercial settings like resorts as well as for homes and gardens. The rigors of withstanding an outdoor environment simply demand that outdoor furniture is rated highly for durability.

Juniper Outdoor Loveseat and Armchair

Each upholstered piece in the MityLite Vita Outdoor furniture collection comes with Sunbrella® fabric, the gold standard for outdoor furniture. Sunbrella material is regarded as the best outdoor furniture fabric, and offers a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns to accommodate different styles. Sunbrella fabrics have the highest UV resistance of any fabric on the market; they also dry quickly and resist damage from tears, mold, and mildew.

When it comes to choosing outdoor fabric for commercial properties, there are several types to consider. The most popular choices are Solution Dyed Acrylic Fabrics, Olefins (Polypropylene), Marine-Grade Vinyl, and Spun Polyester.

Types of Outdoor Fabrics for Commercial Use

  • Solution Dyed Acrylic Fabric: the gold standard for outdoor fabrics; made by Sunbrella
  • Olefin (Polypropylene) Fabric: feels soft but is less resistant to mold, color fading, and moisture than acrylic fabric; made by Revolution Fabrics™ and others
  • Spun Polyester Fabric: inexpensive, but less durable than acrylic fabric, more prone to fading, and better for home use
  • Marine-Grade Vinyl: an expensive faux leather used in yachts and other high-end resort areas; offered by Sunbrella and others

What Is Solution-Dyed Acrylic Outdoor Fabric?

This heavy-duty outdoor fabric is similar to an acrylic canvas; it is ideal for outdoor use thanks to its colorfast nature, waterproof nature, and rugged durability. The fibers are dyed and then woven to make the fabric, which is more durable than fabrics with a color or pattern printed on the surface. Water droplets will slide off the fabric rather than permeate the fabric.

Among the fabrics made by the Sunbrella brand, solution-dyed acrylic outdoor fabrics stand out for their durability and weather resistance. The Sunbrella fabrics used by the MityLite Vita Outdoor line are all made from woven acrylic fibers using this solution-dyed process. This is part of what makes Vita furniture cushions and textiles so waterproof, stain-resistant, and exceptional at retaining color.

Birch outdoor furniture with vibrant cushions
The Birch Outdoor Sofa is pictured with seat cushions upholstered in Canvas Aruba by Sunbrella.

The Sunbrella fabric used in Vita Outdoor Furniture is the best outdoor furniture fabric for commercial areas. It’s the perfect blend of style and practicality for restaurants, resorts, retail environments, pools, and other outdoor areas.

What Is Olefin (Polypropylene) Fabric?

The major advantage of fabric made with olefins (a type of plastic also known as polypropylene) is that olefin fabric feels softer and more like an indoor fabric than other types of outdoor furniture textiles. Most other outdoor fabrics feel thicker, sometimes scratchy, and canvas-like in comparison to the relatively smooth nature of olefin fabric. It can also be easily cleaned with bleach and water.

However, the major caveat with olefin (polypropylene) fabric is that it can feel stiff and sometimes sticky in hot temperatures. For most of our customer base, hot summer temperatures make this fabric a bad choice for patio and dining areas. Olefin fabric is also less resistant to mold, color fading, and moisture than acrylic fabric. It can be a good choice in select areas, such as in cool climates or in mountain resorts. Revolution Fabrics™ is one of the top brands of Olefin outdoor fabric.

What Is Spun Polyester Fabric?

Spun polyester weave fabric is a popular choice for outdoor furniture in residential settings. Although it isn’t as durable as Sunbrella’s famous solution-dyed acrylic fabric, spun polyester can be a cost-effective choice for home use. It’s less expensive than acrylic fabric, although it’s more prone to sun damage.

swirled blue fabric swatch

Polyester tends to fade more quickly than acrylic, although it has a high degree of resistance to tearing. Some spun polyester fabrics are also solution-dyed, which adds more colorfastness than is typical of this fabric type. Spun polyester fabric is less water-repellent than acrylic fabrics, however, and can be susceptible to mold and mildew. For this reason, we recommend them for home use, in dry climates, or in situations where cushions can be moved indoors for winter or rainy seasons.

What Is Marine-Grade Vinyl?

Natural leather isn’t an option for outdoor furniture, but if you want a similar look for your commercial chairs, you can use marine-grade vinyl. Marine-grade vinyl is popularly used to upholster boat seats, hence its name. As with olefin fabric, it gets hot in the sun and can scorch the skin.

Marine-grade vinyl is a type of faux leather made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the plastic used to create PVC pipes, wire insulation, and common types of food packaging. More durable than standard vinyl, this high-priced material is resistant to damage from UV rays, moisture, mildew, and stains. High-quality marine-grade vinyl is thicker and sturdier than standard vinyl and is less likely to flake or crack. Cheaper versions are more prone to damage and should be avoided for commercial use.

Selecting Quality Outdoor Fabrics Will Reduce Costs

If placed side by side, the structure of many outdoor furniture pieces looks similar. When you take away the cushions, most outdoor furniture is built with a durable metal frame that’s been powder-coated or otherwise waterproofed in some way.

Palm outdoor furniture with an olefin fabric
The Palm Outdoor Furniture Collection features a smooth faux wicker skillfully crafted around a strong, lightweight aluminum frame.

Assuming the frames are welded correctly, and the furniture is well cared for, most outdoor furniture frames will last for many years. It’s the fabrics and textiles that you need to worry most about. In most cases, the cushions and upholstery will be the first things to show signs of damage. And if you opt for furniture with cheap fabrics, the cushions may not last a year without showing signs of damage, whereas high quality outdoor furniture cushions can last 10 years or more.

Choosing cheap outdoor fabric for your restaurant or hotel pool area can lead to a host of problems. Inferior fabrics are prone to tearing, which can create safety hazards for guests. Cheap fabric sling chairs, chaise lounges, or hammocks can split, which can lead to falls or injuries. Moreover, outdoor furniture made with inferior fabrics is much more likely to fade and deteriorate prematurely, requiring frequent furniture replacements that can add up in costs over time.

Sunbrella material is regarded as the best outdoor furniture fabric, and offers a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns to accommodate different styles.

In terms of aesthetics and durability, nothing beats the appeal of outdoor furniture made with real Sunbrella® fabric. Sunbrella outdoor fabric stands out as the gold standard in the industry for longevity and style. One key advantage is its exceptional UV resistance, which ensures that your furniture maintains its vibrant colors and structural integrity even under the scorching sun. Additionally, Sunbrella fabric dries quickly and resists tears, making it ideal for high-traffic areas like hotel pools, restaurants, resorts, and clubhouses.

People seated on a Linden outdoor sofa by MityLite

Finding the Best Heavy-Duty Commercial Outdoor Furniture

When looking for outdoor furniture that will last for many years in a bustling commercial setting, durability is a non-negotiable factor. The MityLite Vita outdoor furniture line offers a range of heavy-duty chairs and tables specifically designed for the rigors of the hospitality industry. With a focus on durability and style, MityLite Vita outdoor furniture is always built with top-rated Sunbrella fabrics. Replacement cushions and throw pillows are available through your MityLite sales representative. Vita Outdoor is the perfect choice for hotels, restaurants, resorts, pools, and clubhouses looking to invest in quality outdoor furniture that will stand the test of time.

By prioritizing quality and durability, you can elevate your outdoor spaces and create memorable experiences for guests that will keep them coming back for more. 

Outdoor Furniture

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