It is that time of year again – warm evenings and gentle breezes enticing families to spend time outdoors. There is just one small problem to this delightful yearly tradition: the patio furniture may not have survived well over the winter!

Sometimes, you may be able to find replacement cushions, but retail stores often switch out the inventory each year. Sizes also change each year, so replacement cushions for the furniture you bought a few years ago may not even be available in the same size now.

Here are five things you should keep in mind when reupholstering your patio furniture, both to save money and help your furniture look its best longer.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Knowing how much material you need before starting a project is essential. Underestimating the amount of fabric or outdoor vinyl needed could end up ruining your budget.

Measure your current pieces to determine the surface area you will need to cover with the fabric. This is the bare minimum amount of what you need; seam overlaps and patch materials will be in addition to this. A good rule of thumb is to increase the length and width of the fabric by roughly 10 percent. Twenty percent may be advisable if this is your first project.

It is always easier to cut away excess fabric than to throw out everything due to not having enough.

Pro Tip – purchase enough fabric to create an extra cover. You may not be able to find the same pattern later, so having some on hand can save you in a pinch.

Get the Right Materials

Ask any carpenter what you should focus on when building anything, and it will most often include the materials you have available.

What you use will directly impact what you can design. For instance, use the correct type of foam for anything that will require resistance to weight (i.e. cushions and backings). A normal foam cushion absorbs moisture, and when left out in the rain, could take hours or days to dry. Dri-Fast is a special fiber fill foam cushion that allows for faster drying if the cushion gets wet and is available in many different thicknesses.

Beyond the seating, make certain that the furniture itself is in solid shape. Check the webbing, wooden slats, and springs to be sure everything is safe to use. Changing seasons can break down even the strongest of materials, so be ready to swap out anything if there is even the chance of a problem.

Speak with one of our team members if you have any questions about which material will be perfect for your patio upholstery and repair project.

Find the Perfect Outdoor Fabric

There are as many fabrics available as there are stars in the sky. Choosing the right fabric involves answering three questions:

What weather conditions will the fabric be in?

Will the colors fade? Shades of red fade the fastest, especially in sunlight.

Can it be washed?

Look for fabric or vinyl that is fade-resistant, repels water, resists mold, mildew and stains, is easy to handle, and is durable to withstand repeated use. Popular brands are Phifertex, which is used on a lot of the sling chairs that are popular right now, and Sunbrella, which is durable and manufactured to last for years.

Speak with a specialist about selections available. Most manufacturers have a sample book or swatches that you can look at, compare, or match to your existing outdoor furniture or color scheme.

Know What You Need to Do to Maintain It

No material is truly maintenance-free. Make certain that you know how to properly take care of the material when you purchase it. This could save you money by avoiding harsh cleaners or chemicals, or worse, letting the material breakdown by improper care.

Add the maintenance schedule to your personal calendar and make certain you follow it. Five minutes cleaning or conditioning the vinyl every week during the summer is less expensive than having to start back at square one next Spring.

Hire a Professional Upholstery Service Off-Season

Are you thinking of having a professional upholstery service handle everything for you? It is never too early to schedule a consultation for the off-season; especially if you are uncertain whether you can dedicate the time needed to see a DIY project to its conclusion.

We can help you order just the right outdoor fabric for your project. Contact us today to see samples and get your patio furniture looking great again!