If you are like me and my family, one of your biggest concerns for your patio furniture is how well it will hold up in the rain.
We wanted the best fabric when we were buying our latest outdoor furniture set, and the no-brainer choice was to go with patio furniture with Sunbrella fabric because of its high weather resistance, durability, and 5-year warranty.
But, we also chose Sunbrella because it was advertised as being highly water-resistant. This was a must for us for all the rain we get where we live and the water that will get on the furniture from wet swimsuits when we use our pool.
So how water resistant has it been? Can it be a great fit for your backyard? Read more below!
What is Sunbrella fabric?
Sunbrella has become one of the most trusted and popular outdoor fabric names since it started manufacturing outdoor fabrics in the 1960s. You can find Sunbrella fabrics on many outdoor items like sectionals, sofas, umbrellas, and much more from a wide range of outdoor furniture brands.
Sunbrella is a solution-dyed acrylic fabric, meaning that the color of the fiber is dyed all the way through the fabric during the manufacturing process of the fabric, which results in highly color steadfast fabric that is great for outdoor use. This is unlike other outdoor fabrics that may only have the color applied to the fabric’s surface, which can quickly fade and degrade.
Additionally, Sunbrella specially engineers the fabric’s fibers to withstand many outdoor elements like moisture, sun, and regular outdoor wear and tear. This is unlike some other outdoor fabrics that rely on a protective treatment added to the surface of the fabric that may wear off quickly.
The company stands behind the durability of this fabric by offering a 5-year warranty on its fabric, which is an industry-leading warranty length.
Is Sunbrella Waterproof or Water-Resistant?
A key distinction needs to be made when shopping for any outdoor item, including outdoor cushions: waterproof vs. water-resistant.
Waterproof means something is completely impervious to water, meaning no water will penetrate it. A select few outdoor fabrics are waterproof, and very few outdoor furniture sets use waterproof fabric (more on this in a bit).
Other the other hand, water-resistant means that something will repel water to a certain extent. In the case of fabric, at some point, water can penetrate water-resistant fabric. The vast majority of Sunbrella fabric you will find on outdoor items is water-resistant, and it will be noted that it is water-resistant when you purchase it.
Water-resistant Sunbrella fabric is what is being reviewed in this post.
If you are interested in buying outdoor furniture with waterproof fabric, Sunbrella makes a line of waterproof fabric called Sunbrella Rain. Outdoor furniture with this fabric option is available at select retailers, like Frontgate.
Can Sunbrella Cushions Be Left Out in the Rain?
First, it goes without saying that not all rain storms are the same. In some cases, you may get a light rain that passes quickly. In other cases, you may get a heavy rain that goes on for hours.
Additionally, it also matters where your outdoor furniture with Sunbrella fabrics is located in your backyard: Out in the open? Under a patio? Under a gazebo or pavilion with no walls?
Generally speaking, the common outdoor Sunbrella fabric used by many patio furniture brands will typically repel a drizzle of rain with no issue.
However, if the drizzle lasts for several hours, or the intensity of the rain picks up, and there is a lot of direct, heavy, and continuous rain on Sunbrella cushions, you should expect that water will penetrate through the fabric into the cushion materials.
Our Experience with Sunbrella Cushions in Rain
We have an L-shaped outdoor sectional with Sunbrella cushions. We keep this sectional under a covered patio, with one side of the sectional against a brick wall and the other side open to the backyard (but still covered overhead by the patio).
We live in Southeast Texas (we get plenty of rain), and we have a pool in our backyard, so this furniture set has experienced getting wet a lot!
For the vast majority of rainy weather, we have left our Sunbrella cushions outside on the sectional with no problem. Since the sectional is fairly protected by the patio roof, usually only a light amount of rain gets on the cushions due to wind blowing rain on the cushions.
In these cases, the Sunbrella fabric has been very quick to dry, and there hasn’t been an issue with the actual cushion foam getting wet. Additionally, we have not experienced any mold or mildew growth.
Whenever there has been water on the fabric, it usually pools on the fabric at first, so it is very easy to wipe away.
However, there was one time we should have brought our cushions inside, and that time taught us when we should bring these cushions inside.
One time there was a very heavy rainstorm with strong winds that lasted for several hours. The strong winds blew rain across our patio for hours, and our sectional received a lot of direct rain. The amount of water was too much for the water resistance of the Sunbrella fabric – our cushions were soaked!
The cushions absorbed so much water. We had to remove the Sunbrella cushion covers from the foam cushions, and we had the foam cushions sit in direct sunlight for 2-3 days for them to dry out thoroughly.
Since that experience, whenever there is a storm forecasted with strong winds and heavy rain, we will move the cushions inside our home or take them off the sectional and move them more under the patio to a spot where they are less likely to get a lot of rain.
Our Recommendations for Sunbrella Cushions when it Rains
The key thing to remember with Sunbrella is that it is water-resistant, not waterproof. So that means it will prevent a fair amount of water from penetrating the fabric down to the cushion material.
So, if your patio furniture with Sunbrella cushions is under a patio, pergola with a roof, gazebo, or any other structure that provides overhead cover, then you will likely be fine leaving your Sunbrella cushions outdoors for most rainstorms. A light amount of water probably won’t penetrate through the fabric.
However, if your patio furniture is out in the open, or there is a heavy rainstorm forecasted that might blow rain onto your furniture, we highly recommend placing your Sunbrella cushions inside or in a waterproof storage box. A heavy amount of water will likely seep through the fabric into your foam cushions, creating a very soggy cushion that will be tough to dry (unless you have quick-dry foam cushions)
Where Can You Buy Outdoor Furniture with Sunbrella?
If you are looking for outdoor furniture with Sunbrella, you are in luck because plenty of brands and retailers carry patio furniture with Sunbrella. Below are some of the retailers that we recommend because not only do they offer patio furniture with Sunbrella cushions, but they also use high-quality materials throughout their patio furniture.
RST Brands has great metal, wicker, and wood outdoor furniture options. And all of their patio furniture sets have Sunbrella cushions.
Frontgate offers a wide range of outdoor items, including furniture. If you are looking for furniture with Sunbrella Rain fabric (completely waterproof fabric), you need to check out Frontgate as they offer Sunbrella Rain options on many patio seating options.
SunHaven is a favorite brand of ours because they have great, high-quality outdoor furniture at great prices. While most of their outdoor furniture features cushions with Olefin fabric (which is a great outdoor fabric – see our comparison post on Sunbrella vs. Olefin.), its Cascade collection features Sunbrella fabric.
Neighbor is a rapidly growing outdoor furniture brand that features modular teak patio furniture with Sunbrella cushions. If you are looking for a high-quality and great-looking teak wood set, Neighbor can be an excellent choice for you.
Sunbrella is one of the best outdoor fabrics for many reasons. One of the main reasons Sunbrella is great for the outdoors is that it can resist water seeping through to the cushion. However, if the can is very heavy, the rain will likely penetrate through the fabric, soaking the cushion. So, if you are expecting heavy rain, and your Sunbrella cushions are in a spot to get rained on, you should consider protecting your cushions from the rain.