Waterproof Wonder

Sunbrella’s Rain fabric takes performance to the next level

GantWe All Know Performance Fabrics do a great job of resisting water. But to be fully water-proof? That takes a special textile.

Sunbrella Rain does just that, while still offering much of the same color and style as the company’s water-resistant fabrics.

So, what makes Rain different from other performance textiles? The company uses a so acrylic barrier applied to the backside of the fabric to make it 100% waterproof.

“The reason we developed a backing is that we didn’t want to change the surface feel, the texture and the coloration of the actual product,” says Allen Gant III, casual market manager, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, parent company, Sunbrella. “Most repellent fabrics that want to go waterproof apply something to the outside of the fabric.”

That backing pairs with the hydrophobic acrylic fiber used in Sunbrella fabrics to create a textile that stands up to everything from downpours to sea spray. “Hydrophobic” means the fibers do not swell and absorb water.

“The water is there, but it’s sitting on the fabric, and when the sun comes out, it evaporates and dries quickly,” Gant says.

The fabric is most popular in places prone to sudden downpours followed by sun—think Arizona and Florida—as well as in contract applications.

“This is a situation we call ‘sit sooner,’” Gant explains. “It downpours and then the sun comes out; and it’s beautiful outside and you want to sit on your cushions. You can tip the cushions and knock the water o and it’s dry.”

While Rain isn’t for every outdoor space, Gant says for those in conditions needing a higher level of performance, the fabric offers a fashionable solution.

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