As the weather begins to sizzle, thoughts turn to lazy summer days on the patio and you may find it is time for a makeover of your outdoor cushions. HOME went enlisted help from an expert to provide the best advice
Q I want to smarten up my patio with bold, attractive cushions, but it is a pain to put them away every evening. I want something I can leave out that will resist the weather – both sun and rain. I have tried many types of fabrics but they always end up fading and looking tatty. Please advise which fabrics work best.
A The best fabrics for outdoor furnishings are man-made, such as polyesters and acrylics rather than natural fabrics like cotton.
The reason is that man-made fabrics can be solution dyed.
This means the fibre is dyed before it is spun into yarn so the colour penetrates deep into the fibre.
Natural fabrics take the spun yarn and dye that so the colour is on the outside of the fibre.
Exposure to the sun breaks down the surface colour, and that is why you get fading.
Solution-dyed fabrics, like ours, come with a six-year guarantee against fading, but will look good for a few years longer than that.
Q What will happen if I leave the patio cushions outside when it rains?
A These fabrics are water-resistant, but they’re not waterproof. The only truly waterproof fabrics are coated in PVC or something similar, which feel waxy or like plastic – not very pleasant to sit on.
The solution-dyed acrylics and polyesters look and feel like normal indoor material. You would not be able to see or feel the difference between polyester and cotton.
Teflon-coated fabrics, similar to being Scotchguarded, will make them water-resistant.
If they’re out in a bit of drizzle, they will be fine.
Of course if they’re out in a heavy downpour there will be some penetration, but they will dry out.
Our fabrics are also mould-resistant, unless they’re left in a puddle for a week or so.
Q After a party or after a late night, the last thing I feel like doing is putting the outdoor cushions inside. I admit I can be quite lazy. Does what you have advised mean that it doesn’t matter if I don’t put my outdoor cushions inside every night?
A If they’re left outside for lengthy periods they may get a bit grubby, but most of these fabrics are machine washable so you can wash the covers and hang them on the line to dry.