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Choosing the Right Fabric- Sunbrella


One of the top decisions you will have to make when you purchase any marine canvas product is going to be what type of fabric to use for the project.  So, I will be posting reviews of fabrics that are common in the marine industry detailing what each fabric is good for, and what it is not good for. 

Sunbrella-

Overview-Sunbrella material is made by Glen Raven Mills. It is a woven Acrylic fabric that has a waterproof coating.  It is available in a huge variety of color and is the goto fabric choice for a vast majority of canvas products.

Pros-

  • Breathable- lets moisture out= less mildew, 
  • Excellent life- Darker colors do better, I routinely see black, navys, dark green ect in the Florida sun for 10+ years, Light colors do not last as long because of UV penetration ( also tend to scrub light colors more accelerating breakdown)
  • Woven fabrics are easier to fabricate so less wrinkles.  Also Sunbrella tends to stretch where its tight which means it is almost "form fitting"
  • Color Choice -by far the biggest selection of colors
  • Price - most Sunbrella will retail around $25/yd which may seem like a lot but a) the cost of the fabric is a very low percentage of the total cost and b) is really less than a lot of the high performance fabrics in this category.
  • 10 year warranty- they will stand behind the product for a LONG time, keep in mind that the warranty does not cover the labor to replace the fabric.
  • Dark colors have high UV protection/Deeper cooler shading characteristics

Cons-

  • The biggest con is that the material is not actually water proof in that it is a woven material (ie there are tiny holes in it).  This is great for letting the fabric breath, and most of the time Sunbrella does a great job of keeping water out..... but, when it gets closer to the end of its life it will tend to leak, especially if it is holding water.  This can be remedied with recoating with 303 fabric guard (what is sprayed on the fabric when it is new at the factory) every year until its time to get new canvas.
  • Light colors, especially natural(white), light tans, and light greys can wear out VERY fast.
  • Light colors will have reduced UV protection/ block less light/ less shade

So in conclusion, Sunbrella is a fantastic choice for a most canvas products such as biminis, dodgers, and especially covers.


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