What determines the lifespan of the upholstery fabric?

The lifespan of the seat also depends on the cover material

The sofa set plays two basic functions in our household - utility and decoration. When choosing it, we naturally take into account criteria such as dimensions, shape, color, pattern, comfort, maintenance method or additional functions such as the possibility of layout and the like. Although these are all important requirements, they say little about the life of the seat. And yet we don't buy it for one season. What should we not underestimate when choosing?

Resistance to normal load

The sofa set must withstand various influences. It is under the pressure of our weight when sitting or lying down, it is affected by environmental humidity, dust, incident sunlight, but also "accidents" with food or drinks and the like. All these factors represent a load that the sofa must handle in the long term in order to avoid damage or deformation (e.g. dents, creaks when sitting, cracks, pulling of the cover fabric, exposure of structural parts, sensitivity of the springs when sitting, loss of color). That is why it is important when choosing a sofa set to focus on both what is hidden under the surface and on what properties the cover fabric has. We usually witness the curling of the upholstery fabric on the seating parts of the sofa set. This is caused either by the increased elasticity of the covering fabric or, more often, it is a manifestation of the deformation of the underlying layers.

What lies beneath the surface

Yes, buying a sofa is in a way like buying a cat in a bag. We can't see inside it, we can't tell from looking at it what materials it was made of. However, it is necessary to check at least a few basic facts. The first thing you should ask the seller about is the material used for the seat frame. Plastic, chipboard, soft wood have a lower lifespan than hard wood. Plywood is stronger than chipboard. It is recommended to choose a sofa set, the support parts of which are made of hard wood(oak, beech, maple), the sides are made of plywood. Less loaded parts may contain chipboard or softwood. Steel or chrome are also considered suitable for bearing parts. It is true that metal parts should be treated against corrosion.

Seat upholstery is no less important. These are several layers of various interconnected materials (usually in the order: cover fabric, underneath non-woven fabrics such as spunbond and polyester fleece , then PUR foams, springs and bellows attached to the seat frame), which determine not only the comfort (softness, hardness) of sitting or lying , but also long-term satisfaction with the selected sofa. Among the offered fillings for seats (and backrests) most often include PUR foams, HR foams and latex foams (or a combination of these foams). The so-called also proved itself to several manufacturers. sandwich construction , where each layer has different properties and fulfills a different purpose.

PUR foam is one of the most widely used materials, it is produced in different densities and is characterized by the fact that it follows the body well, is airy and firm. However, if it is stored on a solid surface (e.g. LTD board), its service life is reduced. HR foam (so-called cold foam) is characterized by excellent elasticity, shape stability, good heat dissipation, balances temperature differences and has a long service life. Compared to the basic PUR foam , it also has better airiness, which ensures the ventilation of moisture and thus reduces the risk of mites. Latex foam is characterized by its resistance to mold and bacteria, it is highly elastic, comfortable, it quickly returns to its original state after being pressed, it remains in shape even after years of use (does not settle, does not lie down).

A sofa as a place for treatment is not ideal... The sweat of the cover is harmful.

The upholstery of the seat can also be different, and this is reflected in the final effect, in terms of seating comfort and durability. For example, DTD plates, bellows springs, spring belts, bonell springs are used. If you're buying a sofa, definitely don't avoid the question of suspension. DTD belongs to low-life solutions, but you can usually only find it in the seat part of cheap discount seats. The manufacturer of high-quality sofa sets does not use such a solution at all. For example, bellows springs are used in high-quality and comfortable sofa sets.

Looking pretty is not enough

As we mentioned above, the quality of the upholstery fabric also affects the life of the sofa (and, of course, the sewing method, the quality of the seams, threads that occur in the process of attaching the upholstery fabric to the structure of the sofa). After all, it doesn't matter how quickly the fabric starts to show signs of wear , whether it will fit properly even after the seat starts to be used, etc.

Therefore, before we decide on this or that substance, we need to take a closer look at its properties. Perhaps one of the most important is the fabric's resistance to abrasion. This property is given in the so-called Martindale degrees and basically tells us how long the fabric can resist fraying, shiny spots, how strong are the individual fibers from which the fabric is woven, etc. Upholstery fabric with a Martindale value of 30,000 to 40,000 is considered highly durable, for example, and is also intended for intensively loaded furniture. We wrote more about Martindals here.

Blended cover fabric (Ocean - 90% polyester, 10% cotton) and synthetic cover fabric (Energy - 100% polyester)

Other features we should note:

  • resistance to pilling,
  • color fastness (light fastness),
  • tensile and seam strength,
  • sound health,
  • povrchové úpravy (nehorľavosť, nepriepustnosť, ľahké čistenie,…).

You can find more detailed information about the properties of upholstery fabrics in the articles How to choose an upholstery fabric or What properties are tested for fabrics.

Using the seat = soiling the seat, so proper maintenance is a must

Longevity is not only about the quality of the sofa set

The construction materials used, the technical design, the functionality of the individual parts (for example, easy handling when folding the sofa into a bed), surface treatments, type of cover - all this contributes to the life of the sofa. However, even the best quality sofa will not last as long as new if we do not follow the basic rules of maintenance . Therefore, let's not forget about regular cleaning and care according to the manufacturer's instructions, which are a condition for keeping the sofa in good condition for many years.

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