Perfect for poolside lounging or outdoor dining, sling chairs are a popular style of patio seating. They are comfortable, durable and easy to maintain. If your sling chairs are starting to look saggy or dinghy, you can replace the sling material in the frame to extend their life. Sailrite carries two, high quality sling fabrics: Phifertex Plus and Sunbrella Sling. These fabrics look very similar, so it can be hard to tell which one to select for your application. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two popular fabrics.
First, both of these fabrics were developed with sling chair applications in mind. They are both extremely UV resistant, durable, and breathable. Likewise, both fabrics are very easy to care for and clean with just mild soap and water. Plus, they are both manufactured right here in the United States at top-notch mills. The differences between these two fabrics are subtle and come from the fiber content and the manufacturing process.
Phifertex Plus is woven entirely from PVC coated polyester yarns. When the fabric is being finished the PVC coating is actually re-melted slightly and then set again so every point where the fibers cross is fused together. This makes the fabric extremely dimensionally stable and leaves little bias stretch. This is important because when the fabric is stretched over your chair it won’t form pockets or sag. However, being covered completely in vinyl does give Phifertex Plus a distinctive look—less like a woven fabric and more like traditional vinyl.
Sunbrella Sling, on the other hand, combines Sunbrella acrylic fibers with PVC coated polyester and weaves the two fibers together. This gives Sunbrella Sling a softer look than Phifertex Plus, more like a traditional woven fabric. However, the acrylic fibers prevent Sunbrella Sling from being completely bonded together like Phifertex Plus making it less dimensionally stable. Over time, Sunbrella Sling could start to sag in an application. Sunbrella does provide a 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty on Sunbrella Sling fabrics.
Both fabrics are mildew resistant, and Phifertex Plus also features Microban® antimicrobial protection. If your furniture will sit by a pool, you might want to choose Sunbrella Sling, which features chlorine and chemical resistance. Additionally, Phifertex Plus has a little broader use, if you want your chairs to match cushions, shades or window screens, you can make them all out of Phifertex Plus.
In conclusion, you really can’t go wrong with either fabric. If your top priority is the look and feel of your chairs, then try Sunbrella Sling, with the softer hand and more stylized design. If your primary concern is longevity above all else, then you will certainly be happy with Phifertex Plus.