Grade qualities of vinyl fabric

Written by karen waggoner
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Grade qualities of vinyl fabric
Vinyl is widely used in marine applications. (yacht image by Philippe Minisini from Fotolia.com)

Vinyl fabrics are without question the toughest materials available, whether the setting is indoor or outdoor, on a boat, in a car, on a truck, in a home or business, or in a hospital. Developments in vinyl technology have made the textures and colours of vinyl appealing to almost any taste and appropriate in all but the most formal rooms. Vinyl fabrics are nearly all easy to keep clean with soap and water.

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Toughest vinyls

The most enduring vinyl products are designed to be used as flooring or decking in commercial spaces and in marine applications. These materials are not suitable for upholstery. Their primary characteristic is texture because their purpose is to prevent people and objects from slipping on the floor, even when the surface is wet.

Marine grade vinyls

Almost totally versatile, the vinyl fabrics called marine grade were developed for use as upholstery in boats and on outdoor furniture. The products are durable, easy to clean, colour-fast, resistant to abrasion, and mildew resistant. As long as the design is suitable, these vinyl fabrics may be used in commercial applications, homes, and even in hospitals. Their ability to withstand extreme changes in temperature as well as exposure to outdoor weather conditions makes them especially long wearing.

Automotive grade vinyls

Automotive grade vinyl upholstery fabrics are similar in quality to marine fabrics and meet stringent standards for automotive safety. They are stain resistant and repel moisture. These fabrics are sometimes designed to mimic leather upholstery. The choice of colours is vast but usually limited by the auto or truck manufacturer's colour scheme. These upholstery fabrics are appropriate for use in the home and in commercial settings like restaurants and offices, but not necessarily for outdoor spaces.

Decorator vinyl fabrics

Patent leather vinyl fabric can be used to provide a retro look to the home, patio, spa, or beauty salon. It too is long-lasting and easy to clean as well as resistant to stains. PVC coated vinyl fabrics are appealing for both indoor and outdoor use and may be made into rainwear. Other vinyl products are given textures like basket weave, embossed leather, and faux crocodile. These are chosen sometimes for faux leather products like handbags as well as luxury automobile upholstery.

Least expensive vinyl fabrics

Transparent vinyls are sold by the yard for constructing umbrellas and covering tables as well as for trendy see-through tote bags. Tablecloth vinyl is commonly used for outdoor tablecloths or casual indoor dining. It generally has a non-slip backing. Other vinyl fabrics are designed for the sports fan and for tailgate entertaining. These are printed with team logos and colours for the team of choice and may be used for seat cushions, rain gear, and covers for pickup trucks.

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