Most people aren’t exactly sure what solution dyed acrylic is, but it seems everyone has heard of Sunbrella® Fabrics. People don’t typically ask about solution dyed acrylic, they ask for Sunbrella by name. So, kudos to Sunbrella for their marketing. Solution dyed acrylic is the go to fiber for awnings, umbrellas, marine uses, patio furniture and more! We weren’t sure if we wanted to carry Sunbrella or Outdura, so we did a little of our own research.
Solution Dyed Acrylic Fiber — There are only two producers of the solution dyed acrylic fiber in the world, and a company called Dolan produces the most. Sunbrella and Outdura both get their fibers from these two producers. Outdura only uses Dolan fiber for a more consistent product.
Weaving and Finishing — Once Outdura and Sunbrella have procured their fibers, the fibers are then woven and finished. Sunbrella has lightened up their weave density over the years and many reviews express frustration that the Sunbrella fabric stretched over time. Depending on what you are making, stretch may or may not be a concern, but it seems they have gained a reputation for this flaw in their fabric. Outdura offers a very heavy, densely woven 9.5 oz fabric and a lighter 8 oz weight created specifically for home decor applications, indoor or outdoor. It is lighter, so it’s easier to sew than their traditional awning fabric. As far as fading goes there is no difference between Sunbrella and Outdura, since the fibers basically originate from the same source.
Country of Origin — If you do a search to find out where Sunbrella is made you will find Made in the USA or Imported.” This is because a great deal of Sunbrella is being made in China. Outdura is the only company who can claim their product is 100% Made in the USA. Many of our customers are manufacturing finished products, so that Made in USA label is really important.
Price — Solution dyed acrylic is pricey—it just is. Since the fiber is made in one mill and sold to another for finishing, there simply are costs that are passed on. Luckily, this fabric really performs—there is nothing like it. Outdura is actually a couple of dollars less per yard for a Made in the USA fabric.
Conclusion — You can probably see where we’re going. From a marketing and sales prospective it would be far easier for us to sell Sunbrella based on the brand recognition alone. However we just can’t ignore that Outdura is leading this market in several ways and has the edge over Sunbrella in our opinion. No doubt about it, Sunbrella is a quality fabric that will last a long time (minus the stretching issue). At Big Duck Canvas however, we are excited to offer Outdura. If you have any questions or would like a sample we are happy to help!