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Thread: Performance Fabrics

  1. #1
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    Default Performance Fabrics

    "Performance Fabrics" are the current rage right now, every manufacturer is rushing to add them to their lines, so I thought a thread about them would be good to have in order to explain what they are as well as what they are not.

    The term "Performance" means they are easy to clean. It does not mean it's more durable, and almost every customer I speak with is under the assumption they are more durable. Ease of cleaning does not mean it lasts longer. They are all 100% Polyester fabrics, regardless of the brand, just like microfibers.

    Sunbrella and Crypton Home are the two major brands of Performance fabrics, and they differ in how they apply their coatings. Sunbrella is processed into the yarn itself, and once woven, no topcoat is applied to it. Crypton by contrast, is an applied finish after the fabric is made up and then its baked on after being vat-dipped in the chemicals. It will not come off, like the Scotchguard of twenty years ago did. They are both soap and water cleanable, and rub values typically are 25,000 to 40,000, and varies from fabric to fabric. Crypton Home is different from Crypton Commercial, the later has much higher rub values but can feel stiff, heavily top-coated and is for high use environments. Both Sunbrella and Crypton can be bleach-cleanable. All Polyesters will pill over time, as will Linens and Rayons. That comes when the rub value limit is reached.

    You can read more on Performance Fabrics on the maker's web sites:

    http://crypton.com/for-home/

    https://www.sunbrella.com/
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2

    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    So is that a positive or negative review of the performance fabrics? This fabric appears to be the ideal solution for us, as we have 3 dogs and allow them on the sofa. If your opinion is overall positive, the next question would be the rub value ratings, I suppose. Is there somewhere we can find that information on individual fabrics? I'm particularly interested in the problem of pilling, because we need to replace our current sofa and chair due to excessive piling in a very short period of time. Is there another fabric that is better to buy in regard to piling? Leather is not an option for our sofa. (That's reserved for my recliner.)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    It's not a review at all, its just informational.

    Don't confuse "Performance" with longevity, because they are all man-made fabrics and most are either 100% Polyester or close to it. All man-made fabrics pill - but they are inexpensive relative to the really good fabrics. And they ware water-scrub-able so when they get soiled, soap and water clean them up, and you can even use a soft scrub brush on them. Cleanable does not equal durability.

    Every fabric has a rub rating, which is the number of times you can make a swipe at it with a device that puts pressure on the material before the fabrics shows wear. They are called double rubs - and its a lab machine that makes one stroke forward and one back, that's one rub. Light duty fabrics are around 15,000 , moderate duty 30,000 to 40,000 and heavy duty 70,000 to 80.000. Some commercial grades will get up around 200,000, but they lose their hand and can be stiff and scratchy. Unfortunately, the upholstery makers almost never put the rub ratings on their materials, either in dealer tools or the web sites, so its an arduous task to find them out that involves calling the supplier, then they have to call their fabric buyer - and sometimes the fabric buy has to call the mill. It's not unusual to have to wait three days to get a call back on them.

    Dogs have dirt on them - and skin oils, (we have 'em too) so a Performance fabric is really where you want to be as it doesn't require a major investment and you can keep it looking nice. Leather would be much better, though.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    I have 2 Bradington Young Lancaster recliners covered in a Crypton Fabric. It's a Greek Key pattern that comes in about 5 colors. I thought I read on the sample swatch that it was about 50% cotton, but I have been mistaken before. It has a decent hand, but I bought these chairs around Thanksgiving last year, and it has already pilled where the seat cushion rubs the sides, but you have to remove the cushion to see it and also where I put my feet on the footrest. But I'm ok with it. When it gets too bad, I'll probably just buy some new ones.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    I always - ALWAYS - recommend motion furniture be done in leather. Motion furniture wears the cover much, much faster due to the increase in frictions from both movement of the chair in motion and your legs up on the footrest. Very common.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    Yes, Leather is much more durable. I've tried leather furniture on two different occasions. I end up getting rid of it quickly. I seem to sweat in and if I'm not comfortable in it, then I've wasted my money. I don't know if a pure aniline hide might be cooler. I've only bought protected leathers. I just burn up after about 20-30 minutes, even with the A/C on 70 degrees. I love the looks of it, especially Hancock and Moore's furniture. Superior workmanship and they do such a nice job tailoring the finished piece. Someone told me " but you have leather in the car" and I said yes-- and it is heated and cooled also.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    Everybody-- Listen to Duane-- He is correct. My two B-Y recliners are going to the Consignment shop. They are only 1 year old. Although as mentioned above, I seem to get hot with leather furniture, I've got 2 H&M Sami leather recliners waiting to be delivered once these BY recliners are gone. If I get hot sitting on the leather, I'll throw a quilt over them. Don't buy fabric in motion furniture. It just doesn't hold up well-- at least not for me. I always learn things the hard way-- and usually the expensive way as well.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    One of the issues these days is the rage is all about "Performance" fabrics, i.e., Cryptona and Sunbrella brands. Consumers are demanding them thinking they are bulletproof and getting confused in the process about what they really are. The simple answer is they are soap and water cleanable, that's it. They are, for the most part, 100% manmade fabric content with the most common being 100% Polyester though there are a few that are blends. Now, think back to those 100% Polyester pants you used to - or still may own. What happens to them as they wear? Especially in the inner thigh area, where you legs rub together...they pill, don't they? All man-made fabrics pill with use and friction. The more you use them, the more they pill. Same thing with motion furniture, the fabric pills over time.

    Leather does not pill, and it will wear 4 to 6 x the rate of fabrics. Check to see what a local upholster charges to recover a recliner? In my area, its about $ 400 plus another $ 400 in fabric (+/-). So if you go fabric, and use the pieces regularly, you will have a $ 800 or so recover job in a 3 to 6 years, whereas the leather unit should be able to go 30 years. Again, these are averages.

    Pure aniline - especially the luxury hides like Capri and Quintessence, feels marvelous, hot or cold. Of course, those hides don't come cheaply.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    Fortunately, I got rid of polyester pants years ago. I try to only wear Cotton or wool clothing. My mother had a very small chair recovered-- $200 for the fabric and $300 for Labor. I imagine a recliner would be a good bit more.

    The 2 Sami Recliners I got were in the Just in Time Program in Kip Wheat, so they were a great buy. I know I'll eventually get tired of them and if Duane isn't retired, I might spring for some really nice leather ones--- I've thrown away enough money over the years to buy 2 in a Grade 5 leather.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Performance Fabrics

    As someone that's quite a drive from your store and trying to do all research before making the trek, I'm particularly intrigued by this topic. I'm looking to get at least a sofa and cocktail ottoman in an off-white, washed linen looking fabric from H&M. While there are two fabrics offered by H&M that fit my color preference (understanding they're known more for their leather upholstery), I also noted that you could use fabric from Taylor King and Jessica Charles who offer Crypton and other performance fabrics. That said, one of the Crypton fabrics that I was looking at (Evonne) showed a durability of only 18,000 double rubs per their website - not bad, but not incredible either. H&M does not list double rubs for their fabrics on their website, so I'm not sure how this would compare to a standard fabric.

    Aside from the stain/spill blocking and/or easier clean-up/maintenance of Crypton, Sunbrella, and other performance fabrics, can you speak to the actual durability? Put another way, is a standard cotton, linen, hemp, or other fabric going to provide a more durable upholstery that is less prone to pilling/wear? I'm just down the rabbit hole a bit, because it seems that you might give up some general durability in exchange for improved stain blocking or clean-up. I have been fairly gentle with my furniture thus far, so I'm not sure if that trade-off is worth it.

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