Obviously commercial furniture fabric and hospitality furniture fabric need to be of a higher standard than regular household fabric. But there are more than just a few simple considerations to take into account. In the interest of keeping this blog to a bite-size, let’s take a look at just the fabric type and resistance to abrasiveness and leave the rest to future discussions.

Fabric Types

There are many types of fabrics that can be used for furniture, and much of the final selection comes down to the designer’s personal tastes. From a commercial perspective there needs to be a few considerations. Let’s firstly take a look at some of the more common fabric choices.

  • Linen – Generally we think of bedding when we talk about linen, but it actually makes good upholstery material. Made from the flax plant, this fabric has a natural softness, beautiful lustre and innate resistance to pilling. Unfortunately it does wrinkle easily, but this can be overcome by blending it with more elastic fabrics.
  • Cotton – Like linen, cotton feels great and looks great but also has a tendency to wrinkle. It is extremely washable and is most often used in a blend.
  • Wool – Wool is a lush material for fabric with resistance to mildew and sunlight that make it a great choice for furniture. Unfortunately it can be difficult to clean though.
  • Vinyl – Polyvinyl Chloride coated polyester fibres is the general makeup of vinyl. It is often called fake leather or faux leather because of its resemblance to real leather (sometimes look and feel are almost indistinguishable). It is often used outdoors boasting water proof properties and can be crafted with strong UV protection as well. For a high performance vinyl, see Instyle – Buzz – High performance vinyl
  • Polyester – Often used in the creation of vinyl, this synthetic fabric is pervect for outdoors due to its water and UV resistance. Commonly found in blends, particularly with cotton.
  • Acrylic – Another synthetic fabric, this time derived from polypropylene plastic. Also highly water resistant and colorfast, one of its big disadvantages is that it is quite flammable. Sunbrella is one of the most famous suppliers.
  • Leather – Made from the hide of an animal, by far the most prominent type of leather is from cattle. Leather is extremely durable and renowned for its longevity. It is easy to clean and though requires some maintenance, it is easy to keep. The main drawbacks are the price tag and that it is a natural product meaning it comes in certain shapes and is susceptible to natural impurities (which arguably add to the beauty).
  • Blends – Blends are a combination of two or more types of material. This allows a fabric with the benefits of all the materials involved. Most fabrics are actually blends. Ultraleather provide a lot of blends to make their products extra resilient.

Fabric Rub Rate

There are 2 main types of tests applied to commercial furniture to establish wearability. These tests are designed to show how the material withstands friction over time caused by constant rubbing. Let’s take a look at them.

Wyzenbeek Test

The Wyzenbeek test is the test the standard test throughout the United States. It is often called the Double Rub test because the test involves a rub in each direction. For commercial purposes a double rub rate should be no less than 15,000 double rubs and for high use hospitality furniture it should be at least 30,000 double rubs.

Martindale Test

The Martindale test performs a rub in a figure-8 motion to measure abrasiveness. This test is quite common outside of The United States. For commercial furniture, a Martindale score of at least 25,000 rubs is required and for higher use hospitality furniture, a score of at least 30,000 rubs should be the minimum.

Summary

Fabric types and abrasion resistance are just a couple of features you should consider when purchasing commercial furniture. Stay tuned to our website for future blogs discussing other elements of commercial and hospitality furniture.