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What Should You Know About Choosing Banquet Chair Upholstery?

- 3 min read

There are many things to consider when choosing the upholstery for your banquet chairs. In general, the commercial material industry offers five common materials for upholstering chairs: fabric, vinyl, polyurethane, leather, and silicone.

Leather and silicone are not offered by MityLite for a few reasons. Leather is a high-end upholstery that is difficult to produce in mass, and it’s relatively expensive. Silicone is an extremely durable material that exceeds the performance of both vinyl and polyurethane. However, it’s an expensive option that costs approximately 10–15 times more than vinyl and polyurethane.

We’ll breakdown the benefits of fabric, vinyl, and polyurethane below so you will know which upholstery will best fit your needs.

Fabric Upholstery

The commercial fabric used in chair upholstery is generally made from cotton, polyester, wool, nylon, polyolefin (or olefin), or a combination of these. The type of fabric will determine durability, look, feel, and cost.

These high-quality fabrics resist tears and punctures. In addition, if the fabric is treated with a performance enhancer, such as Nanotex, InCase, Crypton, iClean, or Alta, it will resist stains and clean easily.* However, the main drawback of using fabric is that it can absorb orders.

*Please note that Scotchguard and Teflon are not performance treatments. These formulas are sprayed onto a material versus the performance treatments listed above. During performance treatments, the yarn is encapsulated during the process while the material is immersed in a liquid bath.

Vinyl Upholstery

There are also benefits to choosing vinyl upholstery including the fact that vinyl is easy to clean and it resists common stains. High-quality vinyl is also easy to disinfect with a solution of bleach and water, without causing damage to the upholstery. However, it is still best to get a protective coating on vinyl so that the upholstery will resist permanent marker and other products that can stain the most resistant types of material.

Vinyl upholstery is a good option for healthcare facilities, where the material must be cleaned regularly, because it can stand up to frequent exposure to moisture and chemicals. It accepts many finishes better than polyurethane, which will help protect the furniture from absorbing harmful microbes and bacteria. Vinyl is also resistant to absorbing odor.

In addition, some vinyl upholstery, such as faux leather, closely mimics actual leather to provide a high-end look and feel for a much more affordable price.

On the other hand, Vinyl can be more easily punctured by things such as pens and pencils. Low-quality vinyl can even tear when punctured. Additionally, vinyl can be uncomfortable to sit on in warm environments because it doesn’t breathe like fabric.

Polyurethane (PU)

When produced using high-grade resins, polyurethane is stain-resistant, easy to clean, and odor resistant like vinyl. It generally feels soft and remains cool to the touch to provides an excellent seating experience over long periods of time.

However, like vinyl, polyurethane can be more easily punctured than fabric.

Polyurethane may not be the best upholstery to choose for healthcare facilities because it doesn’t accept many finishes that are important to protect furniture from absorbing harmful microbes and bacteria. It also doesn’t perform as well as vinyl to frequent exposure to moisture, as required in healthcare environments with regular cleaning procedures.

Visit the MityLite fabric center to see the many fabric options.