What Is Sunbrella Fabric? Tips to Keep It Clean & Mildew Free!
What is Sunbrella Fabric anyway? We get this question all the time. Sunbrella is one of the leading manufacturers of performance fabrics for indoor & outdoor upholstery, awnings, and shade systems – and our preferred choice in a competitive world.
One of the biggest decisions you'll make when you install a retractable shade system is picking out a fabric to cover it. This is no small issue. Arguably, the material you select is the most component as it's the barrier between you and the elements, not to mention the fact that it makes an undeniable design statement.
Breslow Home Design Center has installed a plethora of awnings, pergolas, and canopies over the years, which means we can honestly call ourselves experts in this industry ...and one of the biggest mistakes people make is selecting the wrong material. This can impact you, your guests, your wallet and the value of your home.
I'm going to share some pro tips with you right now so you pick out the right fabric for your shade system the first time. If you do it will look good for years to come!
What Is Sunbrella Fabric...And Why We Recommend It!
Before we get into the ins and outs of Sunbrella fabric, I'm going to share some information about the company that's behind the scenes. Glen Raven, Inc. is a fabric manufacturing company that has its headquarters in North Carolina. The original company, John Q. Gant Manufacturing Co., was founded in 1872. By 1902 the name was changed to Glen Raven Cotton Mills.
This company has strong roots in the shade system market. In 1908 they started to manufacture cotton duck awning fabrics and by 1953 expanded into the pantyhose business. Their foray into the hosiery industry was not permanent and they exited in 1996.
Glen Raven's key to success is their development of an acrylic-based fiber in 1961 with Sunbrella, a company they acquired. The durability of this material is vastly superior to cotton and it revolutionized performance fabrics.
By 1998 Glen Raven merged with Dickson SA of France which expanded their presence into Europe and by 2006 they started production in a new manufacturing facility in China. This innovative company is a force to be reckoned with.
Sunbrella Fabric Design
Now let's get back to the topic at hand. If you're Googling "What is Sunbrella Fabric" chances are you've heard the name, maybe you even know they supply some of the best fabric in the world for outdoor furniture and retractable shade covers.
But what makes them special? In my humble opinion, Sunbrella is a star. They tick all the boxes. Looking at this company from a strictly superficial perspective, Sunbrella has a vast array of colors, patterns, textures, and opacities that will make your shade system look utterly fabulous. I'm not sure if people realize what a big impact these choices have on your home. You can transform a simple vanilla white house, into a backyard oasis fit for the royal family in a manner of days.
Sunbrella has a crack design team that operates in the US and Europe. This international touch is reflected through their offerings. Their designers travel far and wide to gather the latest trends when it comes to color and patterns. If you're looking for something that conveys your personality they are sure to have a material that will do exactly that.
To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about check out some of our recent installations. As you can see they each convey a VERY different message.
An outdoor room is instantly created by building a deck, and is considered an improvement that will provide the highest return on your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost Vs. Value” report. That can create a 78% value increase if using composite, and 87% for wood.
Go up another level, and add a cover to the deck, with either permanent roofing or a retractable awning to enjoy sunny days. If evening insects are a challenge, screening the deck may be a worthwhile investment to extend the hours you can spend outside.
Sunbrella Fabric Technology - Waterproof vs Water Resistant
The thing I like most about working in this business is the innovative technology companies develop to make your life more convenient and to create materials that are beautiful, resilient and protective. If you're asking "What is Sunbrella Fabric" - I will tell you it's one of the finest performance materials you can buy.
Shade systems rely on the covering to protect your guests and create atmosphere. That's why you need the best quality fabric you can get your hands on and Sunbrella is that. As an aside, did you know that waterproof material is something you want to avoid if you're installing a shade system? Yes indeed.
This is because it doesn't breathe which creates a hot, humid environment under your awning. The key is to maintain a certain amount of permeability which allows the fabric to breathe, while still keeping moisture at bay. Although Sunbrella fabric is called water resistant - it might as well be waterproof. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about you could tent a bowl with Sunbrella fabric, pour some water on top and it will take a week for a drop to form.
The Sunbrella research & development team is really good at what they do. Their fabric isn't coated with chemicals to repel water - the material is made in such a way that it has tiny pores that allow air and moisture to escape. This also means awnings made with Sunbrella fabric are cooler! Studies have shown up to 22% cooler than their undercoated competitors.
Sunbrella Fabric Specifications
Sunbrella fabric is woven solution-dyed acrylic with a flurocarbon finish. The maximum width for Sunbrella fabric is 46" but it can be ordered in 60" width if you select a solid color. The top selling points of Sunbrella fabric are as follows:
- Terrific range of color and design
- Colorfast breathable fabric that lasts up to 10 years depending on care and climate
- Mildew and Moisture resistant
How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric
Congratulations! You just installed your new awning...and after googling "what is Sunbrella fabric" decided this was the best material to cover your shade system. If you worked with Breslow Home Design Center you also picked out an awning frame that will last you for decades to come ...but you still have questions!
How to clean Sunbrella fabric is a concern our clients often share. If you've invested a few thousand dollars in your new shade system you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible and looks great!So let's take a moment to review some cleaning instructions.
How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric: General Maintenance
Your awning has gone through its first change of seasons. After a year you notice a bit of dirt and grime building up on your shade system. What should you do? Well, the good news is for light cleaning you can leave your awning intact. Simply brush off any loose dirt and twigs and hose the awning down. If you feel it needs a deeper clean, prepare a solution of water and a mild soap like Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Using a soft bristle brush gently clean your awning. Once you remove the soiled areas, rinse everything down until all soap residue is removed. You can then allow your shade system to air dry.
How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric: Stains & Mildew
The good news is Subrella fabrics doesn't encourage the growth of mold and mildew. That being said, it may grow on substances that are not removed from the fabric.
To address this issue use the following recipe to clean your awning:
- 1 cup of bleach
- 1/4 cup of mild soap like Dawn dishwashing liquid
Using a soft bristle brush apply this solution to stains and allow to sit for 15 minutes. You can gently scrub afterward to remove the stains. Beware you should NOT use the brush on the back side of the Sunbrella Plus, Supreme or Clarity as it's been treated.
Once you're satisfied the stains are removed, rinse thoroughly until the solution is completely gone.
Once you bleach the fabric it should be re-treated for water and stain resistance.
How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric: Re-Treating Your Awning
If you're looking up how to clean Sunbrella fabric - you should be aware that re-treatment may be necessary. If you use bleach you may have to reapply something to rejuvenate your material. Sunbrella recommends 303 Fabric Guard (available in the US) and Tex'Aktiv (available internationally).
Once your awning has been cleaned and completely air-dried apply one of these treatments in a well-ventilated area. This will help your cover last longer.
Reasons You NEED Sunbrella Fabric
Sunbrella Fabric Will Protect Your Family From Damaging UV Rays
With skin cancer on the rise, people are justifiably concerned about protecting their family. In New Jersey Spring, Summer and Autumn bring some of the best weather for outdoor entertainment - but increased exposure to the sun means increased risk. The good news is installing an awning will help shade your family while they enjoy barbeques and drinks on the porch.
If you want to have the best possible coverage you'll buy Sunbrella material. This incredibly innovative company doesn't stop with the durability of their fabric. Subrella received the " International Seal of Recommendation for UV Fabric/Umbrellas/Awnings” in 2006 from the Skin Cancer Foundation. NICE!
Tell teens there is no such thing as a "good" tan. UV light is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. so try to schedule activities around midday indoors. If a child must be outside during this time, then keep them under trees or an umbrella or awning. Some awnings block 99.9 percent of UVA (the tanning rays)/UVB (the burning rays).Healthwise: Drink your sunscreen? Safe summer fun for kids, MyCentralJersey.com
Sunbrella Has An Incredible Selection Of Colors, Patterns & Textures
If you're looking to imprint your sense of style on your shade system then Sunbrella is the manufacturer for you! Choose from over 248 colors and patterns. This exciting company is always pushing the envelope increasing their offering. Our interior designers absolutely love Sunbrella because of the extensive range offered. I think some of this has to do with their international flare. They're not stuck in a rut and our clients truly appreciate that.
Sunbrella Fabric Is Mildew & Stain Resistant
One of the biggest concerns, when you buy a shade system, is that it will hold up in inclement conditions. Along with rain and storms comes mildew and stains. Sure ideally you'll open and close your retractable awning at the appropriate times EVERY time...
...but let's face it - that's never going to happen. You'll occasionally leave it open when it rains. I'm happy to report that Sunbrella's incredible fabric resists stains and mildew. So even if you happen to leave your awning up during a rainstorm you don't have to worry.
Cleaning is also easy peasy, as you can see above. If you want to give your awning a simple clean you don't have to even remove the fabric. Ahhh the beauty of innovation. This has not always been the case.
Sunbrella Fabric Breathes
On top of being mildew and stain resistant Sunbrella fabric is incredibly water resistant as I mentioned above. One of the best selling points of their materials is they breathe allowing moisture and heat to escape from a partially enclosed area. This makes for a much more comfortable environment for you and your guests.
Sunbrella Fabric Is Green
If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint awnings are the way to go - they substantially reduce your air conditioning bills. But Sunbrella goes even further. They are an environmentally responsible company that takes pride in the way they manufacture their products.
Did you know they have been recycling acrylic manufacturing waste for more than 25 years? Sunbrella also developed a unique way to reduce the water and energy they use in the color saturation process. Not satisfied with this, they also created a recycling program called “Recycle My Sunbrella" in 2010. It's as easy as 1,2,3! Just log in to their website and fill in your information and return your used Sunbrella Fabric to the company to be recycled. Since inception Sunbrella has recycled more than 600,000 lbs of fabric!
Sunbrella Fabric Is Resilient & They Have a Warranty To Back That Up!
Sunbrella is very confident about the quality of their fabric and justifiably so! They use only the best quality materials and are constantly researching new ideas to prolong the life and integrity of their products. This is why they offer a 10-year warranty for heavy outdoor use. If you check out other manufacturers this is not the norm.
What Is Sunbrella Fabric & Why We LOVE It!
As you can see Subrella fabric is one of the most reputable manufacturers of high-performance water-resistant material. When we install retractable awnings, pergolas, and canopies we typically recommend that our customers use Sunbrella Fabric for their covers.
In a word, they sell an AWESOME product! It resists mildew, stains, is so water-resistant you might as well call it waterproof yet it still breathes! The color and patterns they offer are unparalleled...
...AND their fabric does an incredible job filtering out damaging UV rays. If you have any doubts, their 10-year warranty should cast them out.
If this isn't enough for 'ya they're also an eco-friendly company that does their best to make their processes water and energy efficient...heck they even try to recycle all the products they send out into the world.
Honestly, I can't say enough about this incredible company and their fabric. If you have any questions or want to check out some samples why not set up a free in-house consultation with one of our designers. They are here to help. Call us today.