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Old 09-03-2010, 06:51 PM
 
432 posts, read 2,252,053 times
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Default Which is better for a sofa--polyester, cotton or microfiber?

I'm in the market for a new sofa and am looking at some fabrics in these three types? What would you say is the best fabric for a sofa, in terms of look, durability, and feel?
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Old 09-04-2010, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
5,171 posts, read 4,815,656 times
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One thing I can tell you as a person who spent two years selling furniture, most cotton sofa upholstery is not colorfast and in the fine print of the care info you'll usually see it's not guaranteed in any way against stains or from mishaps from trying to clean stains. One of my fellow co-workers bought a beautiful 100% cotton sofa from our store and PLAIN WATER just spilled on it left an obvious mark ... and the store would not make any restitution.

To me, the more natural a fabric is, the better it looks -- but the harder it is to take care of. Look for a blend. Microfibre does perform well in terms of wear, but there are many grades and the cheaper it is, the cheesier it will look. Also, tweedier fabrics, or ones with an obvious texture, hold up better to wear from a visual standpoint, just because they're more forgiving.

I will also warn you about the after-market sales of fabric protector that practically every store will try to sell you. First, it does, in fact, work. In many cases, however, including some of the more expensive, "name" stores, it is never even applied. The majority of upholstery fabrics have a heavy Scotchgard-type product put on in the mill before the fabric ever touches your sofa. Stores assume that this protection is really enough and you will never have to make a claim. They will honor the claim if you have a proveable complaint, but in most cases people lose their paperwork, fail to follow the directions, or even move, so their claim is no good, due to their own fault. The company never has to shell-out and that's what they're counting on. (This stuff is, after all, insurance. In some versions of it, it will even guarantee against tears or holes from pet nails, which is especially good if you're buying leather.)

There's a huge mark-up on this product, so sales associates are constantly harrangued to sell it to you. If they're pushy, it's not their fault. Some stores even dun employees who DON'T convince customers to purchase the add-on. If you would feel more comfortable having it and the peace of mind is worth a few bucks to you, buy all means buy it. But tell your sales associate flat-out (but nicely) you are skeptical and want some proof of application before you will pay. I request a technician come to my home and apply the product in front of me (which I have done) or allow me to go to the warehouse and watch (which I have also done) before I will pay.

If you do purchase because you want the right to return something that stains or wears before its time, for heaven's sake keep ALL your documents and your sales receipt. I believe the product is worth what it costs, especially if you're buying an expensive sofa, but the cost includes you doing some work.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:54 AM
 
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I love microfiber. The above poster is right though, the cheaper grades look cheap. The better (more expensive) grades do really wear well and they do not stain easily.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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When I researched this a few years ago I ended up choosing Microfiber for it's feel (softness), durabililty and ease of cleaning. I love it.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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We have bought what you would call affordable microfiber 4 yrs ago and so far it has held up well. Got kids but no pets. Kids aren't that messy, but we have had a few spills and just cleaned with a moist cloth or windex.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:00 PM
 
Location: grooving in the city
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Out of the three choices mentioned, I would choose the microfibre. Have famiy in the furniture business, and it is very durable. After a while, the really cheap stuff, looks just that. It's also very easy to clean. Jukesgrrl made a very good suggestion, if you are considering extra warranty or fabric protection, make sure you have the fabric protector applied in your home. And finally, make copies of everything, and read everything closely. After a couple of years, some retail sales slips have faded so badly, that they are unreadable. Have fun shopping
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:53 PM
 
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I purchased a microfibre sofa,, and i hate it with a passion. I cant even sit on it or i break out in a rash. The material is itchy and scratchy and full of static electricity. My cat wont even lay on it. It wasn't cheap either so it's definitely not to do with a poor grade of the fabric.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
1,870 posts, read 1,401,753 times
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I really do not like microfiber in general. Even most of the "nice" kind just looks like cheap Rooms-To-Go furniture in my personal opinion.

I really love a blend of synthetic and natural. For example, 50% Linen / 50% polyester or a poly, cotton, and acrylic blend. The natural portion gives it a much higher end look while the synthetic adds the durability. There are some other good purely poly fabrics out there as well of course.

To me, the only pro for microfiber is that it stays "clean" easier and wears decently. But if looks are any part of the equation, microfiber is usually out for me as I have seen very, very few pieces of furniture with microfiber that I liked the upholstery. (Note, that I haven't said "none" in this post, it's just that I rarely see microfiber pieces I like versus that same piece upholstered in a blend).

I completely agree about the fabric protector being a complete scam. It's the same as warranties from Best Buy or Circuit City etc. Usually not worth it and often already built-in (IE, many credit cards already offer free extended warranties that are as good or better than the stuff you pay way too much for at an electronics store). A finaly note: if you are at ANY furniture store that tries to sell you a fabric protector, it's a good sign that it is not a quality furniture store with knowledgeable employees. When I was getting furniture in college and when I first graduated, places like Rooms-To-Go always pushed that stuff. Since switching to Made-in-the-USA furniture from more high-quality vendors, no one has EVER asked me about or tried to push fabric protection scams.

Last edited by jamiecta; 11-03-2013 at 09:28 AM..
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