Designers Guide—Fabric Specifications

June 2, 2016

Designing your space involves a lot more after the initial layout phase. Fabric choices greatly affect the look and feel of your space.

When selecting your materials there is a lot more to the selection process than the physical look of them. Fabric can have different durabilities and can be designed different ways. Use the following guide to choose your fabric for your furniture.

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Fabric Design

  • Fabric designed to be applied the “regular” way has the pattern or grain running up the roll. The top of the design will be perpendicular to the edge of the roll.

  • Fabric designed to be “railroaded” has the pattern running along the roll. The top of the design will be parallel to the edge of the roll. This type of fabric is typically used when the width of the fabric is not enough to run the whole length of the piece of furniture.

  • All fabrics typically will have patterns that will repeat after a certain length. The term repeat refers to the length of the pattern before it starts over. Normally the repeat in the fabric will be in increments of 3″ with the largest repeat typically being 27″. Repeats can be vertical, horizontal, or in both directions.





Fabric Durability

Fabric durability is typically measured by whats called a double-rub count. The double-rub testing method is done by using a machine that rubs a testing pad back and forth over the fabric until the fabric is worn out. Each back and forth pass is known as a “double-rub.” Different grade of fabric require a different double-rub count.

  • Heavy duty commercial grade fabrics will withstand 100,000 double-rubs or more and are extremely durable and will withstand the wear from a high traffic commercial area.

  • Heavy-duty grade fabrics will withstand 30,000 double-rubs. This fabric grade is generally stiffer and thicker than regular fabric and can be used in high traffic residential areas.

  • Medium-duty grade fabrics will withstand between 15,000 and 30,000 double-rubs. This fabric grade is versatile and can be used for residential usage in moderate traffic areas.

  • Light-duty grade fabrics will withstand between 9,000 and 15,000 double-rubs. This fabric grade generally only withstands one to three years of regular usage. We do not recommend this fabric for upholstery.

  • Delicate-duty grade fabrics will withstand under 9,000 double-rubs. This fabric grade should only be used for decorative applications and should never be used for upholstery.