One of the challenges in operating in the hot climate of the Middle East is using materials that can withstand the intense heat in the middle of the day. More than anything, this can apply to outdoor cushions and canopies which face the sun all day long. So what type of fabric should you choose and what does the buyer need to know when buying outdoor fabrics? Let us explain.

Types of Fibre

When discussing outdoor fabrics it is important for the buyer to understand the varying types of fabric fibre. All outdoor fibre really needs to be a man made (synthetic fibre).  Synthetic fibre is used as natural fibres will not be able withstand the heat from sun as long as synthetic fibres and will deteriorate quickly. It is generally made in three types; Olefin, polyester and acrylic.

There are two methods to adding the colour to the fibre. The first is known as fibre dyed. This is when the fibre is dipped in the colour allowing the outer coating of the fibre to bond with the colour. This method is used alot in indoor fabrics. It is mainly used as it allows manufacturers to produce colour ranges in smaller quantities and is also not as expensive as solution dyed.

Solution dyed is when the core of the fibre is coated in the colour solution. If you were to take a cross section of the solution dyed fibre it would have the colour throughout the fibre. The fibre dyed method in comparison would only have the outer edge with the colour. Solution dyed is more expensive as manufacturers have to produce it by specific colour and in larger runs.

Fibre dyed v Solution dyed

So which is better? Well that depends on what you need the fabric for. First let me explain why some colours fade.

Fading happens when the colour of the fibre wears away. This mainly happens in fibre dyed fabrics. The inner core of fibre dyed yarn is a white translucent colour. So over time as the outer colour coating wears off revealing more of the white translucent core and this is what creates the fading.

However, with Solution dyed, the core is coloured through. This is a more expensive process however the colour will last much longer than fibre dyed. You won’t get that white core showing through as it will all be the same colour.

Solution dyed fabric should be used for colours that are vibrant and need to stay a very specific colour. Black, purple, red, yellow etc. Fibre dyed can be used where you need to use a neutral colour such as beige, white etc. Why? These neutral colours are far less noticeable under fading as they are already close to the white translucent colour.

The other thing to consider is where the fabric will be situated. If used on an awning, it will be in direct sunlight throughout the day and will need to be solution dyed. Maybe it will be used in cushions on a covered terrace that won’t be exposed to direct sunlight? Then a fibre dyed fabric can be used.

It will also often depend on budgets and the colour required. Fibre dyed is generally less expensive than solution dyed. Also some of the standard blues and greens are not as expensive as the seashell and more exotic sounding colours. Of course brands such as Sunbrella, Dickson and Perennials will mean that you will end up paying a premium for high quality unique colours fabrics. In the end it depends on your budget.

So in summary, first, work out what you plan to use your fabric for and where it will be situated. Then plan the colours. After this you should have a good idea on which type of fibre to use.

Visit Falaknaz – the Warehouse LLC to view our extensive range of indoor and outdoor fabrics.