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Waterproof Cushions for Weatherproof Garden Furniture

Posted by Bridgman on

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Since we started manufacturing garden furniture in the 1980’s one of the major problems that our customers have been faced with is what to do with their garden cushions during periods of wet weather. Originally this problem was confined to our Teak and Iroko ranges of wooden furniture but with the emergence of new materials the problem became more prevalent. When we introduced rattan outdoor sofas to the UK in 2005 this problem was more apparent than ever. Because carver and recliner cushions are reasonably small they can be stored in a shed or garage with relatively little fuss. However when we introduced ranges such as our Kingston modular sofas (cushion padding depth: 25cm) we realised that a solution had to be found.

Close-up of water droplets on Bridgman waterproof cushions

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Testing

For 2 years we tested dozens of fabrics, foams and existing garden cushions but none met our requirements. The only waterproof cushions available at the time used quick drying foam which is hard and rather uncomfortable to sit on - this is because the foam is a 'closed structure' to prevent water from being trapped inside, causing it to go mouldy. We therefore had to find a way to manufacture waterproof cushions that were both waterproof and comfortable. After countless tests we decided that an acrylic based fabric would be the best solution to our problem. Acrylic fabric is extremely durable and isn't affected by UV, nor is it easy to mark or tear. We were already sourcing the finest acrylic fabrics for our garden furniture so we were aware of its beneficial properties over polyester and oil cloth – polyester is not suitable for weatherproof garden furniture and oil cloth (whilst fairly water resistant) is not very breathable, nor comfortable to sit on – especially on a hot day. Once we had decided to use an acrylic fabric we needed to find a suitable way to make it waterproof whilst still allowing it to breathe. Before the fabric was woven we had the yarn soaked in Teflon and sealed – this not only helped repel water but also ensured that the fabric would be highly stain resistant. With the now improved acrylic fabric we back coated the cushions with thick waterproof membrane to prevent any water reaching the cushion foam. This breakthrough enabled us to not use quick drying foam & allowed us to choose the most comfortable fillings available to us.  

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Results

All of this has resulted in waterproof cushions for several ranges of Bridgman rattan furniture. As of this writing, waterproof cushions are available on our Brighton, Kingston, Tilbury and Valentine ranges – and we plan on increasing this offering on more of our rattan ranges. We have been exhibiting these garden cushions at Chelsea Flower Show for the past 3 years, and we are always asked one of the following from our customers; ‘are these really waterproof?’ or ‘XYZ company has waterproof cushions too, what makes these better?’. To both of these questions we answer the same – throw this glass of red wine over our waterproof cushions, then do the same to XYZ and let us know the results… In case you wondered, here is what happened when we spilt red wine on our cream waterproof cushions:      

  The red wine can be wiped straight off leaving a clean cushion. Or, if the stain dries on the cushion fabric it can be cleaned off with warm water and a sponge.

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Conclusion

Despite this being a fairly long and expensive process we are now proud to offer the UK’s most comfortable waterproof cushions. We have carried out extensive testing so that you can enjoy Bridgman weatherproof garden furniture all year round, safe in the knowledge that it will look as good today as it does in 10 years time.   If you are interested in outdoor furniture that will last the test of time, why not take a look at our range of Luxury Garden Furniture.   Please note: Bridgman waterproof cushions are exclusive to models of Bridgman furniture. At this time we are unable to make custom cushions for furniture that is not designed by Bridgman.    

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