Although you are likely to find various grades of vinyl fabric for upholstery, not all actually reflect the quality that you would expect in the best fabric. In many cases, the type of vinyl fabric indicates the total cost that was incurred in making it. As such, it is hard to get consistency with vinyl fabrics. This is because different manufacturers come up with their own grades.
Essentially, the price of vinyl fabric will range from Grade I to Grade V (Grade V being more expensive due to quality of fabric). In that case, it is more recommendable to pick a vinyl upholstery material based on its intended use instead of fabric grade. Here is a look at various vinyl fabrics and their uses.
Types of vinyl fabrics
Plasticizer is a chemical polymer that is added to polyvinyl chloride to make a vinyl material. This is done in the manufacturing process. The vinyl material may contain or lack a fabric backing. There are three types of vinyl fabrics that are made by manufacturers. These include expanded vinyl, non-expanded vinyl and non-backed vinyl.
As mentioned earlier, a vinyl material may contain or lack a backing. If it does not have a backing, it falls into the category of non-backed vinyl. The application of non-backed vinyl is mostly in automobile upholstery. As for expanded vinyl, it suffices for most upholstery projects. The addition of chemicals and backings go a long way to determine the application of different types of vinyl upholstery.
Commercial grade vinyl
This foam-like material is durable and is ideal for heavy use. Therefore, you can settle for this option any time you are working on a reupholstering project. In practical, kitchen benches may need to be reupholstered occasionally. Commercial grade vinyl upholstery comes in handy for this task as it guarantees durability. This means once you are done with furniture reupholstering, you will not have to incur any repair costs anytime soon. Manufacturing companies usually add special coatings to the material to make them more effective.
Marine grade vinyl
This is the best option if you are intending to use the fabric for outdoor purposes. Manufacturers add a number of treatments to marine grade vinyl to ensure that it is resistant to ultraviolet rays and color fading. In essence, its production stages are almost similar to the production stages of commercial grade vinyl. Its applications include awnings, outdoor seating, patio umbrellas and boat cushions among others. If you take a keen look at most recreational vehicles, you will definitely notice marine grade vinyl.
Non-expanded vinyl grade
A non-expanded vinyl grade has a backing that is made up of cloth. This makes the entire fabric as thick as 1/16 inches at maximum and 1/32 inches at minimum. The cloth keeps the vinyl in place by simply strengthening it. More often than not, cheesecloth, flannel or woven linen are used as clothing for non-expanded vinyl. Non-expanded vinyl grade is suitable for bar stools (not used often), table cloths, tarps and purses. Use of non-expanded vinyl grade material on chairs that are mostly used means more replacement. This is because the material tears easily.
When choosing whichever type of vinyl materials for use, it is important to focus on the intended use rather than the type of material. For instance, it would not be ideal to use non-expanded vinyl fabrics for outdoor purposes because it can easily tear. In this case, marine grade vinyl would be a good alternative. Therefore, you should factor the use of various vinyl fabrics before selecting an option. This will help you to make the right choice when choosing vinyl fabric.