By Cushions USA
OUTDOOR CUSHIONS / QUALITY STANDARDS / REFERENCES
Custom outdoor cushions and replacement outdoor cushions start with Sunbrella® fabric. Yet quality outdoor cushions go beyond Sunbrella® outdoor cushion material.
Your highest priced outdoor cushions are not always the best. During our 40 years in business, we’ve always taken the time to point out quality features, so here goes….
QUALITY OUTDOOR CUSHIONS 101:
Quality goes beyond fabric & fit!
Most customers focus on fabric selection and fit. Foundation and construction of an outdoor cushion should never be ignored. You don’t put expensive carpet on a cheap pad. You don’t put Sunbrella fabric on cheap fill material. Moreover, you don’t sew an outdoor cushion like a sack of potatoes.
MAKE THE BEST – – – BETTER
Even the highest end furniture manufacturers have shortcomings in their cushions…
Cushions should be fully reversible to last longer. Sewing Ties directly to backs or under cushions is DUMB! Moreover, piping should not preclude reversal of cushions… both top and bottom should have piping when used. Ties should be on the side of cushion (slide back and forth for full reversal)
Thread should last as long as the fabric, so seams do not split prematurely.
(our cushions are sewn with Gore/UV thread with a lifetime warranty.)
Single seam sew patterns put stress on the seam when the fill is added.
(how are your cushions sewn?) ( For our preferred sew patterns see OWLEE.com
Hinged cushion are generally water traps and dirt catchers…. seldom necessary.
Fill material should be adapted to climate extremes (a cushion best suited for Seattle, wouldn’t work equally as well in Florida… yet furniture manufacturers make one cushion for all climates.
We never replicate the shortcomings of factory originals… want your cushions exactly like the originals?… Buy them from the original manufacturer
“Great American companies innovate and improve,they do not replicate mediocrity”
How do you know that the outdoor cushion you’re ordering won’t be “rock hard” or marshmallow soft? A comfortable outdoor cushion has multi-layers of high density outdoor foam with a final wrap of fiber. Cumulus fill (alone) can be very hard if it’s going to provide adequate support. Cheap foam (alone) will feel “spongy”, absorb water and “bottom-out”. The proper combination of high density foam & fiber will provide the firmness/comfort level you desire. We offer 5 options.
"It's what's inside that counts..." Beware of cut rate sources who use bulk foam & fiber. Premium USA foam should be custom made for the thickness and size of your cushions - Dacron airflow wrap, not to exceed 1/2" thick, should be laminated to the foam - - otherwise foam and fiber can slide around and the cushions will lose their shape. Using cheap fill material under Sunbrella fabric is like "lipstick on a pig".
Sew pattern is a critical quality factor. Look at the cushions of a quality outdoor furniture manufacturer such as: www.owlee.com. Notice that most of their outdoor cushions are bullnose. Bullnose uses a continuous piece of fabric for top and bottom of seat. (No seams @ front to break or tear). We prefer this pattern and don’t upcharge for it. We do upcharge for box & welt because more labor is involved (because a box cushion has more seams). Box & welt is a stylistic factor, not a quality factor. Finally, quality thread must be used — seams should last as long as fabric.
Quality is never cheap. Shopping online for outdoor cushions should save you money — unless quality standards are subordinated. We don’t use superlatives to describe our quality. We simply set the standard & invite you to go shopping/compare.
We guarantee the lowest price for the same quality standards — that’s value. You can easily find higher prices on-line. Ironically, you’re frequently paying more money for mediocre quality. Sometimes you don’t get what you pay for.
HIGH END UPGRADES:
There are pros & cons to cushion upgrades
Fast Dry (Reticulated) Foam lets water drain, but Sunbrella fabric underneath traps water…
Screens (Underneath) Let water out but now you cannot reverse cushion & prolong its life
Sta Dry Liners when done properly keep water out — But in humid shady areas can promote mildew
Memory Foam Inserts provide reflex to hold cushion shape, but absorb water & promote mildew
Zippers encourage customers to machine wash fabric which diminishes waterproofing
Rain Fabric is water proof until you sew it. Machine puts holes in fabric (verdict still out)
UV Resistant Thread has no drawbacks except cost — seams should last as long as the fabric
Bottom line is online sources either ignore quality features or do not offer the proper combination of upgrades suited to particular climates / environments. High end upgrades can be pointless improvements… “tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.